by Keila Chaliotis, Staff Writer
This is the second article in a series on counting calories to loose weight. Read Part 1 here.
In the article “Calorie Counting Part 1” I introduced the concept of calorie counting as a way to lose a few pounds. Later on I will elaborate on how this method can be used with exercise to bring rapid results in losing weight and maintaining target weights. The only materials you will need for calorie counting is a scale to weight yourself, a couple of measuring cups and a set of measuring spoons. The last piece of the puzzle is an open mind and determination to lose a few pounds to get yourself healthier.
We will go through the real life experience of Chepe, who started with a weight of 230 lb and a height of 1.66m. Under these conditions he was classified as a Class 2 Obese individual with a BMI of over 38. Given his family history he was prone to diabetes from both sides, his grandfather being diagnosed when he turned 50 and his father when he turned 45. Chepe found out that he was diabetic, at age 32, after an infection would not go away. Finally he went to the doctor who took his symptoms. The doctor ordered several blood tests to prove his fear was correct. Normal blood sugar levels should be around 70-120mg/dL. Chepe’s sugar level was over 350mg/dL. Besides that, his triglyceride level was over 1000mg/dL when the upper limit is 150mg/d while his cholesterol level was over 600mg/dL when the upper limit is 240mg/dL. He needed insulin shots and visit other doctors ASAP!
As any typical patient, Chepe let the problem slide for a few months. He did not like diets or exercise but enjoyed snacking at home while watching TV on bed, after his desk job shift was over. This guy was, in the doctor’s words “a ticking heart waiting to happen.” Chepe’s best friend had mentioned the calorie counting method and how it had worked for his other friend who had lost 47lb in a year and showed him pictures of the friend, before and after losing weight.
So Chepe was given a program, can be found in the Internet, where it indicates how many calories someone needs to consume in order to lose weight. All you need to input is your age, height, current weight, gender and type of lifestyle (sedentary, active, etc.). Chepe input the date into the program and was given a calorie intake of 2500 in order to lose weight. The first step taken by Chepe was measure how much calorie he consumed daily, for a couple of days. His average was around 3700 calories for 3 days worth of information. Reality check kicked in and Chepe realized that even small snacks had lots of calories, specially fried or with wheat.
Chepe decided to take action and started his calorie counting and limiting himself to the suggested calorie intake. The first week started with an official weigh in of 230lb. His average food intake in 7 days went from a daily average of 3700 to 2200 calories and his weight had dropped 3lb. What was the trick for the weight loss? Simple, not eating over the limit, reducing quantity of units eaten and measuring portions to get a better calorie count.
According to Chepe it was not easy as he moved from a 1000 calorie breakfast, 800 calorie lunch, 900 calorie dinner and around 1000 calories in night snacks to 300 calories for breakfast, 550 calories for lunch and 500 calories for dinner. The snacking problem still remained an issue. For instance, his 1000-plus breakfast was 3 beef empanadas and a cola before switching to 300 calorie oatmeal cookies and coffee and cream breakfast. Lunch and dinner were better measured and thus portions were smaller but the food was about the same. Any hunger feeling after each meal was already taken was quenched with water. Plus, water helps to hydrate and cleanse the body. Given the success of the first week, Chepe decided to limit his daily intake for the second week to 2000 calories.
For the second week the daily average went from 2200 calories from the first week to 1900 calories. By Friday, his weight loss was already 3lb so Chepe expected maybe a 4lb loss. However, this is when Chepe took a hard lesson. He expected to lose 4lb, so did not checked his count for the weekend and went out drinking. By his weigh in on Monday Chepe had just lost 1lb. His problem? Drinking beer and cola and eating after 8pm. On Friday and Saturday night he consumed almost 3000 calories, of which more than half was after 8pm. Remember that Chepe does not like to exercise or anything similar to that, so no dancing.
With the new weight in mind, Chepe decided to experiment on night times when he should have his last meal. After a while the body’s metabolism tends to slow down since it is getting ready for sleeping mode. After several weeks of experimenting he discovered that eating after 8pm, for him was bad as those calories consumed were sure going to be stored. So the night snacking problem was quickly resolved with this discovery.
By the end of the 3rd week, Chepe’s daily calorie average intake was down to 1700. His weight loss was 4lb. By the end of the 4th week, the daily calorie intake was down to 1600 and the weight loss for the week was another 4lb. So the weight lost in 4 weeks was 12lb just by controlling the food intake.
In the next article we will see how the sugar, fat and those levels were affected with the weight loss.