Saturday, March 6, 2010

Did I mention I love questions?

Thank you Darling Lori.
"Okay megan question. I'm getting ready to run my first half marathon, I am up to running 7 miles, right now I run about 17 miles a week. I'm also still trying to lose weight I have the extra spare tire around my waist and the thighs still giggle. How many calories should I be eating? I think this would be a good time to talk about this because marathon season is upon us. I need your help."

*pre-post disclaimer: "How many calories should I be eating?" is probably one of the most common questions that I this post will apply to the race-trainer and the average mom alike.
Getting the eating part right when you are training for a race can be very difficult. One of the things that I have struggled with the most is the fact that your appetite increases a lot when you are running all the time, and so your natural tendency is to eat...duh. This can create a problem. Mentally you think, "I just ran ____ miles, I can eat whatever I want." You are burning a lot more calories, but you want to be careful not to eat yourself out of house and home because you feel like you can. It is key to look at what your goals are here. Are you running to lose weight? Are you running with more of an athletic goal? If you are running to lose weight you want to be sure that you have a calorie deficit. What does that mean?

Math. That is what it means.
For example. Let's say you have a Basal Metabolic Rate of 1200 calories per day. (BMR = the calories it takes for your body to keep you alive without any movement on your part. Click HERE to find yours.) Now let's say throughout your day you are moderately active, burning about 400 calories doing whatever it is that you do, sitting at your desk, cleaning the house, running errands, you get the point. Now your Burn for the day is 1,600 calories. Well, let's say you put in a 400 calories breakfast, a 400 calorie lunch, 200 calorie snack, and a 600 calorie dinner. This puts your total calorie intake for the day at 1,600 calories. Now let's say you didn't make it to the gym as planned, because the bachelor was on.

Currently your daily math is looking something like this:
- 1,600 calories burned
+ 1,600 calories eaten
= 0
As math would have it you evened out for the day. No extra calories burned, No extra calories eaten.

Now let's say you decided to ditch foolish Jake the bachelor, and did make it to the gym where you ran 6 miles, burning 600 calories. Now your math looks like this.
- 2,200
+ 1,600 calories eaten
= -600 calorie deficit

Congratulations Megan, you can do basic kindergarten math...But what does this all mean?
Well, 1 lb of fat = 3,500 calories. So if you were looking to lose one lb a week you would want to have a total weekly caloric deficit of 3,500 calories, which equals out to 500 calories per day. These calories can come from not eating as much, or from working out more. It is best if they come from a combination of the two.

Figure out your BMR depending on your activity level by clicking HERE. From there you will want to subtract the deficit of how many calories/depending on the poundage per week you're wanting to lose. 1-2 lbs per week is considered healthy, and sustainable weight loss.

Here are a couple things you want to remember.
1. Most people underestimate what they are eating. If you are really wanting to lose weight the best thing to do is to journal your food. I log mine on, which I've mentioned before, but there are all sorts of other free online venues, apps, or even a blank spiral notebook. The key to journaling is not to cheat!
This article is a great one about it.

2. The key to weight loss and your calorie deficit is consistency. Your body won't change if you hit your deficit for one day, but if you consistently hit your deficit for three weeks it will.

3. Heart Rate monitors, and Body Bugs can be an amazing tool in weight loss success as far as helping you know how much you've burned. The more exact your math is, the more you will be able to see why you are or are not losing weight.

4. If you this is still super confusing to you, and you want more specific help email me at and i'll help you out!