Along my journey, I have found many people who talk about their “Zone” or being “In the Groove” – It seems there is a sweet spot which gives you the optimum level of metabolism for losing weight. I see it as a balance between calories in Vs calories out. At its simplest, this means if you eat more calories than you burn, you will add weight; that’s how it worked for me; and you would think, all I need to do is increase my exercise and decrease my calories, but there is a trap. Your body can go into “starvation mode” on both ends of this scale. Burn too many calories, even if you are eating well and you can still go into starvation mode.
Most nutrition experts recommend not eating any less than 1000 – 1200 calories a day or you will risk going into starvation mode, This means you need to burn as many calories as you eat and then some in order to lose weight. Generally speaking 3500 calories = 1lb, so if you burn 500 calories more than you intake each day you should lose about 1lb a week on average. Conversely, if you eat 500 calories more than you burn, you will likely gain 1lb per week.
There are a lot of factors to consider in order to “find your groove”. Your metabolic rate will be a variable. Just like a car engine, your body burns fuel while it is idling – even sleeping burns calories; you also exhale water vapor with each breath and flush waste products, which is why you are lighter in the morning when you wake up. I am proof. I weigh before bed and as soon as I get up and can usually see a 1lb to 2lb loss overnight. But don’t count on sleep alone as you will replace that water weight loss with your first few cups of coffee. Now I know why I am thirsty when I wake up.
Getting a good night’s sleep is important for your ability to burn calories during the day. Good sleep will help your energy level and your enthusiasm for taking the stairs or going to the gym rather than dragging your feet all day.
So how do you balance all of this out? I track Smart Points as well as a rough calorie count against my activity and steps. I try and eat around 1800-2000 calories a day, depending on my activity level. If I know I am going to be stuck in the chair all day at my computer, I will eat a little lighter because I know I am going to burn fewer calories than if I was walking through an airport or around Costco etc… This is where I can make smarter decisions because I understand what happens to my weight and my body, basically through trial and error and experimenting to see what the net result is. Eat 5 donuts while I am at my computer all day and I already know I will gain weight.
In addition to tracking Points – I track the results. This also helps me manage zero point foods on #Freestyle.