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Food journals revealed

Ok, you’ve kept your food journal and you’ve gone and translated what you ate into calories consumed using some of the tools I provided in the last post.  Now what?

Time for some analysis and soul searching.  How much are you eating, in terms of calories, on average, per day?  Does that astonish you?  Back in January when I started actually paying attention to my eating I was astonished to find out that I was consuming about 3,000 calories on a bad eating day and about 2,200 on a good day.

The next question is how many calories should I be eating?  That’s a good question and it has many answers depending on who you talk to and a variety of other factors including your age, sex and activity level.  I got several different answers from the people and sources that I questioned so I took an average of what they were telling me and came up with the fact that in order to maintain my weight I should be eating around 2,200 calories a day.  That was to maintain weight.  I wanted to lose weight so I had to eat less than 2,200 calories a day. 

But how much less?  Several Doctors have told me that a good rule of thumb is that a pound of weight is roughly equivalent to 3500 calories of intake.  I was also told by Doctors that a safe rate of weight loss is a pound a week.  So, if I divide 3,500 by 7 (7 days in a week),  I come up with 500 calories.  That’s how much I needed to reduce my daily intake below 2,200 calories in order to lose 1 pound a week. 

The magic number for me was 1, 700 calories per day.  So, I set the goal of eating betweem 1,600 and 1,800 calories a day, seven days a week until I reached my goal weight of 195 pounds. (A reminder – I was at 255 pounds when I started, 61 pound heavier than the maximum weight that I should weigh)

So much for the math.  That rate of weight loss would have taken 61 weeks for me to get to my goal.  And there is nothing wrong with that.  As it turned out, I reached my goal weight on October 26th, 2008.  This was a little baffling to me at first until I discovered that calorie counting and calorie consumption and metaboloic rates are not exact sciences.  But, having the goal of consuming a set number of calories per day, and sticking to it with pig headed determination, carried the day.

Here are a few resources for today’s post.  The first is a chart from the USDA that shows their recommended calorie intake. http://www.mypyramid.gov/pyramid/discretionary_calories_amount_table.html

And for more reading on food diaries and their benefit to you, read this: http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/weightloss/2008-07-08-food-diaries_N.htm

Next time I’ll share my eating plan with you.  Until then, it’s a really good idea for you to schedule a visit with your Doctor and talk over your weight plan with him or her.

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