Wednesday, January 07, 2009

THE MATH OF WEIGHT LOSS


You wouldn't know it to look at me, but back in the day, I used to study nutrition. My hubby and I each lost about 20 pounds just by watching calories and fat. Of course, looking back, we didn't necessarily need to lose that weight...now, I need to lose twice that...but I digress.

The reason we chose to do it like we did was simple. It allowed us to eat WHATEVER we wanted, it made sense, and it worked. We aren't the kind to take pills or do any other drastic thing. We want to be sensible and practical, AND enjoy as little pain and discomfort as possible.

That being said, when I did all of my "book learnin'" I got the math behind it all...and that is just right up my alley. This isn't something that will fade out with the times. It is not a fad. It is something that can work with any cravings...Dr Pepper, chocolate, cheese...

The fact is this, you will lose weight if you cut fat and calories. Period. Add exercise and it just adds benefit. All you need for this is a notebook (small enough to carry around) and a pencil. If you are not "mathematically minded," you might want a calculator. And a nice calorie/fat list could help. There are books...TONS of books, but with easy internet access now, you can find it online. One example is here.

So, before we start with the math, let me give you a bit of info and the WHYs behind what I'm going to do.

First off, you HAVE to have fat. It's fat that helps your brain function. You can't have too much, nor can you have the wrong kind, otherwise you end up with heart issues....AND, what good is a high-functioning brain if you have heart failure?

Fat is worth 9 calories per gram. SO, if a serving has 10 fat grams, you will have 90 calories...90 FAT calories. You would be better off having those same calories in a carb or in fiber.

The math my hubby and I used (and that I'm going to use this time) is simple. If my fat allowance is 10% of my caloric intake. (Move your decimal once to the left.....if you don't "have" a decimal, it's at the end of the whole number.) SO, if you are allowed 1350 calories, then you are allowed 135 fat calories....how many fat grams is that? Divide by 9. 135 divided by 9 is: 15.

SO...how many calories and how many fat grams? Well, the formula I like is this:

First off, take your ideal weight and multiply by 10. That is how many calories you can take. (This is for a healthy, SLOW, weight loss...the kind you can maintain.) Then, multiply that by 10% - 15%. (That is what I'm choosing. Anything over 30% fat is considered a HIGH FAT consumption. 20% is a good maintenance. Below that, can help lose. 15% is a good DOable number for me.)

Let me just take you through MY OWN calculations. I think I need to be about 140 pounds.

140 pounds x 10 = 1400 calories per day.
1400 calories x 15% = 210 fat calories
210 fat calories / 9 = 23 fat grams

SO....that's that. I can have 1400 calories per day and 23 grams of fat. How does that help me? If I have a craving for a Snickers bar, I can have it....I just have to fit it into my fat and calorie allowance.

You have to read labels. When you do, remember that you need to figure out the "per serving" in the information. For example: a can of soup. If you look and see that it "only" has 150 calories and 5 grams of fat...but you eat the whole can....well, you may very well have consumed 300 calories and 10 grams of fat. You have to match the number of servings with what you actually consume. If you want the whole can...fine, just be sure to KNOW what you are consuming.
Also, know that labels can be deceptive. Unless they have changed the regulations, it used to be that a food could be labeled as "lite" or "light" if it was lighter in weight or color!

Pay attention to what you are eating, what it is worth and how big the servings are. Actually measure...don't try to eye-ball it. Americans have poor eyesight when it comes to that. One half cup is not as big as we are used to. It won't take long before you are able to look at a plate of food and know how many calories and how much fat is in it.

Finally, WRITE IT DOWN! These things add up....often without us knowing it. Just "one more bite" or only one muffin (after you already had a breakfast bagel with cream cheese, coffee and cream.....if you do that once or twice a day, that's 7-15 times a week! That is sabotaging your eating. Once you are disciplined, you don't have to be so diligent to write it down.

My notebook has the food I eat, the number of calories and the number of fat grams. I try to go light at the beginning of the day THEN when I have a chocolate craving, if I have enough left over, I eat my chocolate. I don't TRY to meet these numbers exactly. If I have a day that I'm not that hungry, or having "fat" cravings, then I don't consume them. I just don't let myself go over these numbers. I don't "average" for the week...it's too easy to lose control.

SO...there you have it.

Now, if you see some blaring mistake, please let me know. My sweet hubby let me go to bed about 8:30 last night. I woke up at 3:45 FAMISHED. Got up to eat some cereal and now it is 5:53 and I'm just finishing this. SO, this is early morning math...I'm not sure how great it is. LOL!!!

See y'all later.

4 comments:

Mommy Spice said...

You lost me at...move the decimal... LOL. No really, I lost the weight last year by paying attention to everything I ate. I ate what I wanted, but in smaller portions. And I didn't just pop hershey kisses into my mouth. I didn't snack on stuff when I had the munchies. I payed attention, and exercised, and it worked. More power to ya!!
BTW, have you seen the fat and calorie content of our pretzels??? I grab them out of the oven now BEFORE they are dipped in butter. Yikes!!

jsprik said...

hey, thanks, this is great, and i need to lose a ton of weight!!! ;) i think i'll use your 140 pound guide an get down to that then go from there!! that means i have about 60 pounds to lose :(

tollesons4him said...

I think I can do this and it really sounds easy enough plus I can still have what I want. Going out and getting me a mini notebook.

Alicia said...

Having whatever you want is *KEY* to losing weight!! If you limit yourself and say you cant have this or that, most likely you will fail...I agree LL! In high school I did WW, similair to what you have posted and lost 40lbs. Thankfully I was able to keep a lot of it off, but some did come back after I got married and went through my mom being diagnosed with breast cancer. I will probably do something similiar (PLUS breastfeeding of course) when cayden arrives. I would love to be smaller than I was pre pregnancy but we will see!! Great post!