Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Calorie cutting or calorie deficit, are they the same?
What do we know about our body type?
What does our body know about burning/storing calories?
What does our body know about storing fat and releasing fat?
These are the questions we must dig deep to answer for us as we are all different.
Know your BMR! Basel Metabolic Rate or how many calories you require at rest. For me given my age and muscle mass itís about 2000 to 2100.
If Iím not too active and cut to 1800 calories (below BMR) but my body actually needs 2500 Iím at a 600 calories deficit. My body might shut down and go into a starvation or protection mode (like a computer does to save battery). My body is an endomorphic mesomorph, I lose and store fat easily, as well as, have great endurance and gain muscle quickly. It is an efficient body so I need to keep it burning. Therefore, to remove the fat I must burn it so it leaves my system. How?
Keeping the same 600 calorie deficit I increase my total calorie requirement to 3000 to 3200 a day through activity and exercise. I increase my intake to 2400 to 2600 calories. My body is in burn mode yet my deficit is at 600 calories. I should lose at least 1 pound (3600 calories) per week.
If you go on extreme calorie cutting diets you must be careful to do it for only a short amount of time or the body will shut down. It can be done but you really need to know how your body will react. Being a competitive wrestler for many years I have found the limits and put my body into starvation mode. It takes time to track and fine tune your eating habits.
I stopped tracking for a while and just ate about what I thought I should. My calorie intake was ok but I drifted way up on carbs and way down on protein. My fat intake was right on the mark. Too many carbs is not good for my body type and I want to keep them to about 40 -45% unless I do an endurance activity. I also found myself eating too much too late at night. All in all not to bad but I learned what I need to do.
I continue to learn and adjust as needed. It is my goal to eat consciously without tracking in the future. Its work in progress and I still need tracking to keep me in line.
What works for me?
Eating early in the day! At this point a big breakfast with egg whites, an onion, some fish, chicken, or lean beef, and a small amount of cheese total about 500 to 600 calories. Protein is up, carbs are down. I will eat more carbs at snack time. I need a good calorie start on the day or I end up eating too much too late at night. That will cause me to store. Drink your fluids too.
What kills my efforts?
Eating at night! Even with the same calorie intake I donít do well if my calories are consumed past 8pm.
I canít eat cereal or energy bars that late. I love carbs but they donít like me. No more protein drinks after the gym. Instead, I have started eating fresh strawberries after the gym, about 11 pm and that seems to stop the hunger yet giving me a few carbs that help me sleep.
Itís been a total of 18 months, still adapting, still paying attention, and still improving.