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Sunday, February 1, 2009

TREAT YOUR CALORIC INTAKE LIKE A BANK ACCOUNT

Depending upon your weight and activity level, you have a basic caloric need every day. If you are sedentary and just don't move much, you need less food (fuel) than if you are very active. It's that simple. If you take in more than you need, you are bankrupting your body that day. If you do it on a regular basis, you gain weight. If you take in less than you need, you lose weight. If you are healthy, the more you move around, the more caloric intake you can afford without weight gain. I'm not going to get into numbers here. You can go to dozens of sites to calculate calories burned for various activities, and caloric food values. Treat each day like a bank account. Let's say, for an example, that you have determined that your basic caloric need for your weight and activity level for the day is 2,500 kilocalories. That means that you can, in essence, consume that much food for the day without weight gain. If you throw in an hour of exercise on top of that, you can afford a bit more food to break even, or, if you don't eat more, you will begin some weight loss. Forget what the scale says on a daily basis. This is a process that shows up over a period of a week or more. My weight will fluctuate 3-5 pounds a day, depending upon whether I've eaten, how much water I've consumed, etc. It helps me to keep a log of activity and caloric intake showing what has happened over the course of a week, or even month. That slow progress is how you begin to manage your weight. Is it a pain to keep track of calories in and calories out? Sure, sometimes, but the benefits are priceless.

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