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The Skinny On Fat

June 16, 2011

The best way to improve your nutrition is to track everything you eat so you can analyze your intake, set some goals and make adjustments to your diet. Being mindful of the calories you consume is key to your weight loss success! I am pretty religious when it comes to tracking every bite (a habit since my weight watchers days “If you bite it, write it”). Well, I no longer write it, I use www.loseit.com.

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Interesting factoid, it was developed as an iPhone App, then after gaining popularity got turned into a web app.

Loseit! is free. No membership is required and it is set up as a social network similar to facebook, where you can add friends who can view your exercise and food entries, follow your progress and provide accountability and support. The user interface is fun, clean and very robust. It takes less than a minute to create an account and you are ready to track and roll.

On my good diet days, I try to distribute my calories pretty evenly throughout the day:

Breakfast ~250-300cal

Lunch ~300 calories

2 snacks ~150cal each

Dinner ~350 calories

Dessert ~150

This adds up to 1350-1400 calories per day if I’ve done my math correctly. This might sound very low but let me explain. To lose a pound per week you need to have a deficit of 3500 calories (that’s 500 per day). On a day that I don’t work out I burn about 2000 calories (I wore a bodybugg so I know this number is pretty accurate, plus/minus a hundred calories based on how many water cooler trips I take at work). After incorporating my exercise burn (which is another 3500 calories per week), this should lead to a weight loss of ~2lbs per week. I should have no problems losing 5lbs in less than 3 weeks (that’s if I would actually stick to the calorie plan). On most days I end up in 1500-1600 range (I sneak in an extra couple of fruits or a serving of popchips) but there are rare frequent instances (especially when we travel or a co-worker brings a dozen dozens of Top Pot Donuts to celebrate his anniversary) when I just lose count and probably go as high as 3000.

Who can avoid the donut hole when it’s right outside your office?!

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My pattern has been to keep losing the same 5lbs over and over again. I am convinced that “losing weight” has become my status quo, so any time I get close to my goal, a little bell goes off in my brain to get me to eat everything in sight and return to my must-keep-losing state.

I aim my calorie consumption to be 20-25% fat, 25-30% protein, and 45-55% carbs. If I have a lift or circuit training day I try to up my protein intake, and before long-run days I add in more carbs (Since I’ve been training for the marathon, I’ve been having sweet potato, brown rice or quinoa with protein and greens for dinner), but most weeks I can barely come close to 20% fat intake.

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These are weekly totals and average % breakdowns. Don’t think I eat 770g of protein daily  Winking smile

Fat has been getting a bad rep over the years, but I am glad to see that more and more dietitians are starting to promote good-for-you fats. Fat supplies essential fatty acids that are necessary to maintain healthy skin and hair, to promote eyesight and brain development, and to help with absorption of vitamins like A, D, E and K into your body (I am sure there are way more benefits, but you get the point.) Knowing this, I still struggle to incorporate enough fat into my diet. My main sources of good fat are: olive oil, avocado, salmon (but only once a week) and nuts (I try to have at least 7g of almonds a day). I often end up with not-so-bad fat from red meat (but you need it for iron), chocolate (dark is also a great source of iron), and cheese. Occasionally, I also get bad (but taste oh so good) fat from oil and butter when dining out.

I am expanding my fat horizons, and this morning I traded my usual Kashi Go Lean for toast, PB and 1/2 banana. I recall that consuming fat first thing in the morning kicks off your body’s metabolism and fat burning process and keeps you full longer.

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I picked up this new whole wheat sprouted bread from TJ’s and it’s divine (even passed Eric’s stamp of approval, and that boy likes his bread bleached and fluffy.)

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I am a big fan of sprouted grains as they provide more protein, vitamins and minerals than refined flours but the ones I tried before are dense and stale-feeling, so I’ve been getting Milton’s whole wheat instead until this new magnificent sprouted creation. I just hope TJ’s does not stop carrying it.

To continue my fat feast I had Copper River salmon for dinner with quinoa and roasted asparagus.

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I rub my salmon with love (just like Tom Douglas) and add a bit of olive and garlic to asparagus, then bake both in the oven at 375 for 18-20 minutes.

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For dessert, it’s a winning combination of strawberries and dark chocolate.

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The drumroll please, let’s see the stats for the day:

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If only I did not have half of a chocolate glazed donut this morning Smile, I would have hit it dead on!

Are you eating enough fat?

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Mark permalink
    June 19, 2011 4:13 am

    Wow. So even running 25mi a week, someone would still barely be able to lose a pound per week (even if they stuck to a strict diet)? That is not very motivating. This must be one of the secrets that the diet experts are afraid to tell people. That is insane.

    • June 19, 2011 11:52 pm

      In terms of scale, there is been very little change since I started running more, but I noticed that my body has been getting leaner and fat has been slowly melting off. It’s expected that your weight will normalize at a certain range (for me I think it’s around 125-130lbs), and I have to really push to get lower than 125 and even than I won’t be able to stay at that weight for long. At the same time, when I pass the 130 range, I know I have to get my nutrition back on track. The more overweight a person is, the easier it is to lose weight until you near your appropriate range, and in many cases folks pick the range that is just no achievable instead of listening to their body.

  2. Mark permalink
    June 26, 2011 4:10 am

    I find that whenever I listen to my body, it demands pizza and ice cream in large quantities. Even when I’m not otherwise hungry.

    Bodies can be big fat liars.

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