Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Should You Count Calories to Maintain a Weight Loss Diet?

Question: Hi, I've watched almost all your videos on YouTube about health and fitness, and let me first just say you have really inspired me and changed the way I work out!

I was just wondering if you keep track of the amount of calories you consume daily, and if so, how many you typically eat? (Also, if you don't mind me asking, how tall are you?) I'm having a hard time with following this 1200 calorie regimen I put myself on because it leaves me feeling hungry and I tend to eat over 1400 on some days. I'm not sure if this is good or bad, and if I'm putting my body in "starvation mode" by eating only 1200. (I'm 5'' tall and I used to weigh about 130, but I lost 10 lbs in the last few months, but my ultimate goal is to be around 110-115).
Please help me, no one else I've consulted knows what to do in my situation but you seem well versed in these types of things and I would really appreciate it.

YouTips4U wrote: Hi, congratulations on losing 10 pounds, that's fantastic. I'm so glad my videos are helping to motivate you.

I am 5'4" tall and weigh 116 pounds. I really don't count calories and I never have. I eat only when I'm hungry and I eat several small meals throughout the day when I'm hungry rather than three standard meals. I never skip breakfast. It is the most important meal of the day and regulates how you feel, your energy, blood sugar, etc. for the entire day. I pay more attention to food groups rather than calories because I like to make sure that I have eaten foods from each of the food groups every day to maintain a balanced diet. I do not eat junk food, but I do indulge in dark chocolate daily. I do practice portion control, however, by not eating until I am stuffed. I try to pay close attention to when I feel full and satisfied with what I have eaten and then I stop. When you have time, please check out my breakfast video and my diet tips portion control video on YouTube (the link to my site is in the side bar). i think you will find them helpful.

For me 1200 calories would not be enough simply because I am very active athletically. I am always walking, jogging, going to the gym, cleaning my house, etc. If I don't eat small meals throughout the day, I will definitely feel drained and tired and lack energy to do things. I am sure that I exceed 1200 calories. My goal is really not to be thin, but to be healthy. I really think that you become thin by concentrating on being healthy. Exercise is so important. It helps raise your metabolism and burn calories. If you exercise regularly, you won't have to be so strict with your calories. If you are feeling deprived eat more calorie dense food when you snack liked peanut butter, add some olive oil to your salad. These things are very good for you and help keep you full longer which helps you eat less. Always reach for whole grains whenever possible because the fiber in these foods requires more energy for your body to break down which actually burns more calories during digestion. It also keeps you full longer than foods that are processed with white flour.

You definitely don't want to put your body in starvation mode because you will slow your metabolism and your body will conserve calories. If your body knows it will be fed when it's hungry it will stay revved and store much less fat. It's wonderful that you are committed and I want you to stay that way, so it's important to find a meal plan that works for you that's more of a way of life than a crash diet. Please take a look at those videos and concentrate on portion control, eating healthy foods from each of the food groups (vegetables, fruits, meats/poultry/beans/fish, dairy, grains) and maintaining regular cardio and strength training exercise. Don't expect results overnight. It takes commitment and work, but your devotion will pay off tremendously.

Keep up the good work :o)