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Saturday, 26 April 2008

T minus 29

Weight : 56.0 kg
Yesterday's food : You have used 1342 out of your net daily budget of 1400 calories and have 58 calories remaining. 19% of the calories are from fat, 40% from protein, 41% from carbs
Exercise : Upper + RPM High Performance
1 hour 45 min : 875 calories : 166 max heart rate : 128 average heart rate

Another all time low this morning. I am not planning on having a treat meal today so I will weigh in officially tomorrow but I wanted to record this in case I had an upward spike overnight. I can't believe I am dropping so much weight on 1400 calories a day and only one gym session a day. I read about other figure girls (mostly in the USA) who do two sessions of cardio a day and are on super low carb. It is still totally unbelievable and in one way sort of easy!

It stopped raining ... my period lasted less than 3 days ... I am not starving today (I had a BIG breakfast - see info following). Life is good :)

I read this Q&A in Oxygen

Question of the Month:

I have a question regarding the paradox of fat loss and metabolism. It is my understanding that not eating slows your metabolism and puts your body into “starvation mode,” making it difficult to lose weight. But we need to eat fewer calories to lose weight. Where is the balance? When do you start losing fat?

Research by Dan Benardot, Ph.D., at Georgia State University has shown there is a 300-calorie “window” for women below their energy needs where they maintain metabolic rate and lose fat efficiently. As you go below that window, your metabolic rate will begin to slow down and despite eating fewer calories you will lose less weight. In his research study, Benardot showed that gymnasts eating 500 calories below their estimated requirement lost less weight and fat compared to gymnasts on the same team doing the same exercise who ate only 300 calories below their needs. So eating less does not get you greater weight loss. I have found with my clients that staying within the 300 calorie “window” is a very efficient and effective way to lose body fat and maintain the lean muscle that keeps your metabolic rate high.

I googled Dr Benardot and it seems there is more to the "300 window" story. The whole article is here.

My feeble summary of the facts is that you don't want to be in more than a 300 calorie deficit at any time during the day. This means if you are eating lightly during the day (the old WW "save up your points for dinner and dessert" strategy) you will not lose fat. It is something like a petrol tank in a car. If you run out of petrol (food calories) you will not achieve the results you want.

I looked at my calorie consumption spread over the whole day. It was very convoluted and involved an excel spreadsheet with colour coding, but the short story is that I was under-eating during the day and most of my meals were just paying back the energy I had already expended. This means that I spent until 2pm in a calorie deficit (later if you add in the exercise calories burned first thing in the morning).

As I am eating 1400 calories a day, the "300 calorie deficit" is already built in to the equation. Therefore I need to be in calorie balance all day.

I will try to explain how I calculated my ideal calorie and timing needs (but it may get VERY confusing)

1400 calories a day is 58 calories an hour.

Let's start at dinner

At 8pm I eat 400 calories - this fuels me for 6.89 hours (400/58) so lets say 7 hours. I am in balance until 2am. Then the fuel runs out - which is OK because I am sleeping and I'm not getting up to eat at 2am (but it could explain why that is the time I usually wake up to go to the toilet).

Next time I eat is 8am. I need to up my breakfast calories to 400 - this fuels me for another 7 hours and covers me from 4am to 11am (there is a missing hour in there but because I was rounding up/down to whole hours I ignored it).

At 11am my tank is empty. I eat a 200 calorie snack which is nearly 3.5 hours of energy (we're calling it 3 hours and so now I've made up 1/2 that missing hour). I have calorie balance until 2pm and then I'm empty again.

Lunch of 250 calories at 2pm takes me through to 6pm with just over 4 hours of fuel. As I only have 150 calories left for my afternoon snack, I eat it at 5pm which tops me up and carries me through to dinner at 8pm.

And there we have it. Constant calorie equilibrium throughout the day. This means with a 400 calorie breakfast I could even split it between two meals and have a small 100 calorie snack before I go to the gym and 300 afterwards to help even more.

Maybe this spreadsheet is clearer after all. Read The New Science of Weight Loss as well.

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