Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Smarter Way to Cut Calories

By Cynthia Sass, R.D.
Not getting enough calories can stall weight loss.
A client recently told me she was trying to limit her calories to 1,000 a day. In her mind, the math was simple: If eating 1,500 calories a day was helping her slim down, slashing her intake  bu a third would give her even better results. Seems logical, but when it comes to calories, there is a tipping point. When your fuel intake dips below what it needs to support the activity of your muscles, bones, and organs, your cells simply can't function properly. (Just imagine how less productive your office would be if 30% of the employees called in sick!) First, your body will make the shift into conservation mode, causing you to burn fewer calories. Under eating will also affect your energy level and your looks (even short term, your skin can get dry and flaky, and your hair will fall flat).
To trim down, you do need to curb calories to pull some fat out of storage, but striking the right balance is key. To reduce your intake without underdoing it, try this three-step formula:
1. Multiply your weight goal by 10 That's the number of calories you need per day without physical activity. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds but your weight goal is 120, aim for no less than 1,200 calories.
2. Factor in daily activity If you have a job that keeps you on your feet or you incorporate movement into your daily lifestyle, add another 3  calories per pound of your ideal body weight. A nurse or busy mom who want to weigh 120, for example, can afford an additional 360 calories a day. But if you sit at a desk all day and your fingers do most of the work, stick with the basic equation.
3.  Tack on extra for exercise On the days you work out, add half the calories you burn to your allotted intake. This will give you the extra energy you need to sail through a sweat session, but won't undo all your hard work. 

Unsure about all the calories you torch at the gym? Go HERE
To calculate calorie intake needed & include your daily activity, Go HERE  (It's free)

Article from Shape Magazine August 2010 issue


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