How many calories should you be eating to lose weight?

A question I hear a lot from my clients when starting a new weight loss and health program like “21 Day Fix”, “Insanity”, “Piyo” or anything at all is:

“The meal plan says to eat XXX amount of calories but that sounds kind of high so can I just eat less for better results?”

Simply stated, NO!! Please NONONONONONONONO!!

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Did you get that? The answer is DO NOT EAT LESS THAN THE PLAN SPECIFIES!

Let’s start with the basics of why:

When you cut back on calories below the minimum of your daily needs, it also means cutting back on nutrition.

This is the main reason I always suggest my clients use Shakeology daily. No, it’s not a protein shake or diet meal replacement; it’s how our nutrition is met and this helps us succeed in our results long term. (think the opposite of a “DIET”) Not eating enough calories daily and not getting the nutrition met can then lead to potentially life-threatening health problems that make losing weight the least of your concerns. Not really worth that, in my honest opinion. Every bodily function requires a specific amount of calories to perform efficiently. You burn calories when you sleep, when you lay on the couch and watch your favorite Netflix show, and when you’re browsing the internet. You need to make sure that you get enough calories, and even when you’re trying to lose weight.

So how do you know what your daily calorie requirements are? That all depends on your gender, your age, your body weight and your current activity level. If you are following a Beachbody program, it’s easy to figure out your needs by just following the calculations in the specific fitness plans’ booklet. If you are following Insanity Max:30, don’t follow the guidelines for the 21 Day Fix. Use the calculations for the specified program and do what it says. (these are scientifically proven systems that work when followed as planned). If you are not following a plan at this time and are interested in calculating what your body needs to lose or gain weight with what you’re currently doing, here is a video I made on understanding how to find the calorie range for you:

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I should mention that a daily intake should always stay above 1,500 calories (never lower) if you are a man and at least 1,200 calories (never lower) if you are a woman. These numbers will change depending on your body size and activity level and goals.

 

So what happens if you still believe you can reach your goals sooner by eating fewer calories than you need? Let’s talk about what happens within your body in these circumstances:

When your calories are fewer than your body requires, it will initially lead to weight loss but over an extended period of time, it can actually stall weight loss. By choosing to eat fewer than the minimum 1,200- 1,500 calories, for example, your body will go into “starvation mode”.  Your body is basically working to stay alive…and since it does not want to die, it compensates by slowing down the metabolism (the rate at which your body burns calories), slows down in defense of starving. How do we help our metabolism fuel better again? Simply by increasing our calories and getting the required amount needed, along with the proper nutrition. (you can’t eat fast foods all day and expect to feed your body right)

I always ask my clients if they are only interested in losing weight or if they are invested in total body health, wellness and overall body fat and weight loss. If your goals are just to lose weight, then that can be met by cutting back on calories, eating low nutritional foods and even using unhealthy practices. Fad diets are proof of this fact. These practices rarely end in long term results and can tax our bodies over time when we repeat the bad habits of overeating and gaining weight; to under eating and losing weight again and again. Consuming too few calories over a long period of time can be harmful to your health. Not only are you depriving your body of calories it needs to function, but you are also depriving it of essential nutrients. Physical effects of eating too few calories include dangerously low blood pressure and blood sugar levels, which can cause dizziness and fainting; thinning hair or hair loss; decreased bone density; irregular heartbeat; brittle nails; dry skin; fatigue; cessation of menstrual periods; and constipation.

When someone tells me they just want to lose weight fast, I usually tell them I can’t work with them because I will not support unsafe and unhealthy practices. I’ve learned from my own experiences over the years and I know and understand how vital it is to treat our bodies well for long term success.

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If you want to lose weight and create lasting changes (forget the yo-yo diets), it’s recommended to get the nutrition your body needs and eat the amount of calories to sustain these needs and add in an exercise program that can benefit your goals. If you would like a consultation with me or to get some basic suggestions or questions answered, please feel free to email me today at: www.Kathyprofitness@gmail.com 

Your health and long term results are worth the extra effort, don’t you agree?

 

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Choose Your “HARD”


It’s HARD to keep up with your goals, I know. I get it.

If it feels as if things have been a struggle lately, I just wanted to let you know that I do understand.

Yesterday , I made another trip to the grocery store (as my kids seem to be eating us out of house and home these days! Seriously!!)  As the young man scanned my food items he made a comment regarding how healthy I eat.  I took another quick look at the items on the conveyer belt; fruits, veggies, eggs, Greek yogurt, water bottles, almond butter; to name a few), my modest reply was “I try”. (honestly, every waking moment is filled with thoughts and plans of the next meal, workout, sleep, etc.)

He shared that he doesn’t have time to eat right and indulges in quite a bit of candy and unhealthy food options.  He also stated that stress can keep him from making any changes.

I proceed to share how eating right and exercise go hand in hand in making life more simple.  Planned foods, workouts to increase energy and lessens missed work due to sick days.  This was followed by a list of “buts” – I’m a student.  I have loans.  I’m on a fixed budget, I work long hours….

But wait, I can help! 😉

With a reassuring smile I share that I get it, I am also a very busy business owner, I have 3 children, work long hours, have endless lists to conquer each day of the week and yet, I am still able to fit in my daily workouts and healthy meals; even if it’s just 10-15 minutes on certain days.

I saw a glimpse of hope and humor in his eyes and he asked; “But what kind of exercise do you do and what do you eat every day?”

I quickly explain that short bursts of strength training mixed in with some cardio moves can be done anywhere and with either body weight or some basic dumbbells.  I also have access to dozens of workout programs, nutritional products and support that can bust through most excuses that get in the way of success.  

It’s at this time in our conversation that I hear a woman standing in line behind me interrupt with her quite popular opinion:

She very loudly announces that it’s just not that easy.  She explains how losing weight costs a lot of money and it just doesn’t always work –

She continues to explain that she’s “tried everything” and her weight has remained unchanged, and if anything, she’s only gained more weight.

It was difficult to not look at the food items she was buying that day; and many were packaged and processed choices.   

I gave the young cashier one more reassuring smile, wanting to spend more time giving him tips on what he can do while at the same time just wanting to remove myself from the negativity of the confrontational woman behind me.

As I left the store, I had a feeling of heaviness and disappointment.

I knew that I had been instantly judged by someone who only saw my current physical appearance and only heard me share one small piece of advice for results.

The truth of the matter is that you have to work super hard at this EVERY single day!!! I too, have to work and I too, sometimes still struggle!  

What I’ve learned hasn’t been an overnight fix, but has taken over 20 years of battling and learning and growing.  I made the decision that this is more important to me than just giving up and giving excuses.  Who cares about our excuses anyway? The only people who do; are the same ones who have settled for the same excuses and enjoy complaining about all the reasons why it won’t/can’t work. 

I struggled on and off before I had ever started on my fitness and health journey.  I focused on how the scale wouldn’t budge; day after day.  I focused on how I would have unbearable food cravings that would sabotage my efforts of cutting back on calories.  It seemed as though NOTHING was ever going to change!

The reality was that progress was DEFINITELY happening.  It was just happening much slower than I wanted it to happen.  In our instant gratification lives, we expect change to happen tomorrow.  We want to be the fittest and thinnest person immediately.  But once I realized it wasn’t going to happen as fast as I wanted, I also decided that what I was doing WAS working in smaller ways.  The key was to keep doing the daily habits and it would show up in a BIG way soon enough!  Time would pass regardless, so why waste valuable time feeling miserable?

I Think I Can!!

 

 

 

I struggled to reach a higher level of fitness to be my very best to compete in my first fitness competition at the age of 40 – and now I’m almost 42 and still reaching and growing and changing in so many ways.

The amount of discipline and hard work were intense at times and SOOO out of my comfort zones! I felt at times that I was in a separate, more lonely world.

Not everyone understands the level of intensity when training for a competition of any kind.  The reality is that it doesn’t have to be THIS extreme!

Once I had accomplished my goal of competing, the thought crossed my mind to keep going. But honestly, my mind and body were a little bit “broken”.  I felt that my sanity needed me to take it back to a more “natural” state again and settled into my life without constant training, preparing, resting and repeating.

I began to struggle due to the depletion that had been done and reverted to some overly fun “treats” that lasted a bit longer than they should have.

Needless to say, I started to put my weight back on (and quite quickly this time around) and found out I had gained 20 lbs in a short amount of time!  It was time to get serious again and in a balanced and healthy “non-competitive” mode.

This has been my mindset ever since and has stuck with me until now.  I must say it’s humbling to admit that I have my own struggles – as a coach/trainer, since I should be the example- BUT I realized that by sharing with others that I have my own issues, I become more relatable.  I now enjoy sharing my weaknesses and how I have worked to overcome them; and still succeed regardless of regular challenges and struggles.

What I’m trying to say is that I understand that it can be hard.

I get that putting yourself out there to make a change is seriously frightening.

We don’t want to let our trainer/family/friend/etc down.

I know that putting money down to make the necessary changes can feel uncomfortable.

I also want you to know that I also have my ups and downs and scary moments.  The difference is that I just do it anyway.  Take a deep breath and jump in with both feet.  The hardest step is to start.  Once you get started and push past the discomfort , you notice a shift.  It’s gradual and it may take a little time before you realize it’s happened; but it DOES come.  You WILL surprise yourself if you push forward no matter what.

Having support only keeps you moving with more confidence and helps keep you focused on the goal.  I have shared all of this with you today to show you that yes, it’s hard. Yes, it’s scary…but that goes for any goal you choose in life. 

The important word in all of this is “CHOICE”.  We all have them.  

“You must make a Choice, to take a Chance or your life will never Change.” 

Own the fact that your results and where you are today, are a direct impact of the choices you have made up to this point.  No excuses or denying it will change this fact.

The beauty of it all, is that you get to choose your “HARD”….

Which will it be?

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