Everyday Athletes: Caloric Intake- Part 2 of 4

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“I know I need to reduce calories to lose weight, but how many calories do I need?”  width=In part 1 of Everyday Athletes, I introduced the approach of Moderation  and talked briefly about how it’s not often used in the health/fitness industry because it’s generally considered boring, and doesn’t “sell” a lot.  If you haven’t already, give part 1 a read HERE and let me know your thoughts on it. Part 2 revolves around finding your appropriate calorie deficit to begin losing some of your weight.  Sticking with my moderation theme, I tried to set “moderate” goals for myself along my weight-loss journey when coming down from 300lbs.  I of course had an overall goal of losing over 100lbs before getting back into heavy lifting, but I would often set myself shorter goals which were easily attainable and would help keep me motivated along the way.  I think your first “goal” should be to figure out about how many calories you need per day to lose on average 1-2lbs per week.  Set your nutrition plan up and you’ve already met a goal!  Fall anywhere in between that number, or lose a bit more than 2lbs one week, and BOOM, you met another goal. I’m a firm believer that in at least 90% of cases, the calories in vs. calories out method works to help a person begin to lose weight.  **If you have known GI sensitivity issues, or other medical problems that cause excessive or otherwise abnormal weight gain, you should seek detailed advise from your healthcare provider** - but if you’re just like me and simply ate too much, exercised too little and ended up weighing more than you wanted to, you should be able to setup a plan, allow some moderation in your diet (1 cheat day per week is what I used – where I skipped all the calorie counting etc), get your butt moving and begin to drop some weight. So – by this point, you’re probably wondering “How many calories do I need?”  The average person will need 11-13 calories per pound of bodyweight to MAINTAIN their current weight and 6-10 calories per pound of bodyweight to lose weight.  So, a 200lb person would need between 2200-2600 NET calories to maintain their weight if they did not exercise at all.  Keep in mind this is really an AVERAGE, and since every-BODY is different, you may need to tweak this. You want to create a daily deficit of about 500-1000 calories in order to start losing weight.    No two people are going to have the same calorie requirements, but if you’re like I was, you want somewhere to start.  The American Council on Exercise (ACE) has an excellent calculator to get you started.  You can even input your activity level as well and you’ll get a NET calorie goal from which you can subtract 500-1000 calories for weight loss.  Once you’ve figured out your net calories, you’ve got to put together a solid plan for meals.  I’d recommend making this as basic as possible in the beginning.   Strive for getting at least 80% of your calorie from whole, minimally processed foods.  Think lean meats, veggies, rice etc. Getting started on being an Everyday Athlete is really pretty simple and boils down to about 4 easy steps:
  1. Determine your daily calorie needs (ACE Calculator)
  2. Put together an exercise plan
  3. Work Hard
  4. Don’t expect immediate results –  give any program at least 3 weeks
  Remember – the weight you gained didn’t pile up overnight, and isn’t going to fall off overnight either.  Set your goals, work hard, and you’ll get there!  Part 3 of Everyday Athletes will focus on how to maintain your motivation and continue to meet your weight loss goals.  Stay tuned and be sure to leave me your thoughts and comments on Part 2 below!
 width=From 9-5, Lonnie sits in front of a computer.  Outside of being an IT Geek, he’s an athlete who’s familiar with the cycle of being fit-fat-fit that so many of us struggle with.  Down from his highest weight of 300lbs in June 2009, he’s made the permanent lifestyle change to remain Big. Strong. Fit. Healthy.  When not spending time with his wife, son and daughter, he’s at the gym keeping off the fat and adding quality lean mass.