Tag Archives: weight loss

Calorie Counting – The Catch

A recent post of mine discussed the use of the great food tracking app, My Fitness Pal, to keep an eye on what you’re eating – particularly if you’re monitoring your calories day to day. Following on from this, I thought it was only responsible to write a sequel post, delving into the big bad world of those calories themselves.

The science is simple: energy in = energy out

calorie-energy-balance-scale

Energy in is made up of the food (and drink) we consume that fuels us in the form of calories. It is then expended through our physical movements – exercising, fidgeting, breathing and even sleeping. If more energy is burned than is consumed, you’ll lose weight; or if you ate a few too many eggs at Easter without hitting the gym quite enough, you’re probably going to find that your jeans are that bit tighter than they were before. People are quick to follow this logic when they’re looking to shed a few pounds for the summer – eat fewer calories to lose weight.

There are a huge number of calorie calculators online where you can enter your height, weight and activity level. They’ll then give you an estimate of the number of calories you should have each day in order to lose/maintain or gain weight. Once you have this, you can then start monitoring your daily intake.

Sounds like a flawless plan, no? Except there’s one teeny tiny catch….

Not all calories are equal.  

A quick science lesson here for you (and one that I’ve spent a lot of time researching myself lately). Your food is fundamentally formed of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. These are known as macronutrients.

Carbs = 4 calories per gram
Protein  = 4 calories per gram
Fat = 9 calories per gram

When you hear people talking about a ‘balanced diet’, this means getting enough of each macronutrient in your daily food total to ensure that your body can function effectively; a good starting place for this is a rough 40:40:20 ratio. Unfortunately, the modern diet often leaves us with too much of one, and not enough of the other, leaving us tired, sluggish and often carrying a bit too much around the middle.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are what give us energy and can be found in all of my favourite foods…bread, pasta, rice, fruit….in fact almost everything contains some amount of carbs. These tend to make up the bulk of the average diet; however, this often means that your diet is lacking in the other key macros. We’ve all seen the ‘success’ of low/no carb diets like Atkins, but look at the percentage of your diet that is currently made up of carbs (up to 80% in some cases). If you suddenly cut this out, you’re leaving yourself with a huge calorie deficit – no wonder people drop weight fast! You’ll also find your metabolism will be wrecked.

Protein 1

Protein is what your body uses for muscle repair and growth. The average guidelines say your diet should consist of 0.7-1g protein per pound of bodyweight. Body builders will often include 1-2g per lb because of all the lean muscle they’re looking to build and maintain. Depending on your training schedule you may well need a higher amount of protein. If you’re hungry all the time, you should look at upping it as it’s what will keep you fuller for longer. A protein filled breakfast is more likely to see you through till lunchtime than a bowl of sugary cereal! A lack of sufficient protein also means that if you’re training, your body won’t be able to repair your muscles, and this is when you start to lose lean muscle.

Fat

Fats help your body to function, and contrary to popular belief it’s not all evil and should make up 20-35% of your daily calorie intake. There are still good and bad fats, and too little fat in your diet at all can lead to vitamin deficiencies, food cravings, cardiovascular problems and emotional issues. Obviously too much fat in your diet can lead to too much fat on your body, but make sure you hit the right amount. Some good fat sources include olive oil, eggs, nuts, fish and avocadoes.

When you’re purely tracking just calories, none of this comes into consideration. Say you’re on a 1600 calorie a day diet – you could live on a diet of cereal, pasta, chocolate, take out, fizzy drinks, but in smaller amounts. Technically each day you may well be within your calorie limit but there’ll be far less nutrition, and your body will suffer for it (struggle getting up? mid afternoon slump? Starving an hour after eating?). You definitely won’t be looking good either – ever heard of the term ‘skinny fat’? No lean muscle or definition, no bum, and a dangerous amount of fat lining the organs!

Macro counting has also been termed ‘flexible dieting’ – as it’s not as extreme as clean eating all the time (nothing processed, nothing refined etc etc) you can still factor in some of the treats you love, as long as they’re within your macro limit. This is a big deal for keeping your sanity in check! In theory this sounds like you could eat what you want ALL the time, but hitting your numbers while living on junk food is almost impossible. Trying to make as much of your diet healthy with as many micronutrients as possible (vitamins & minerals) will help you feel and look your best.

For the next few days I’m planning on tracking my macros– My Fitness Pal allows you to view your macro amount when you track your food, and it’s already proved interesting for me. I’ve calculated the daily calories I need and then worked out the macro split. My protein intake was definitely too low (I’m full all the time at the moment!) and it’s been an education on the composition of some of my favourite foods, especially some that people like to shout about as being ‘great sources of protein (yes…but how much fat is there too?). It’s a fine art…the ratios that work for some people may not work for others, but it’s about playing around with what works best for you.

The maths works – if you’re hitting your macro target each day, you will automatically be at your correct calorie limit, and you’ll know the breakdown of what you have will be what your body needs! It’s about eating smart, not less. Quality, not quantity.

 

 

Crunch-Time – Does Lipo-Sculpting really work?

Can you believe how quickly the last four weeks have gone? It seems like yesterday I was writing to tell you about being offered a revolutionary inch-loss treatment at Bellaze in Belfast, and suddenly my four weeks of treatments are up and I am being measured up for that all important inch count.

When the treatment first began, I was having the Lipo-Sculpting Laser work and lay thinking to myself, wow! This is easy! I don’t feel anything and I can expect to lose lots of inches. Well obviously that was only part of the treatment. Not that the other parts weren’t easy. Basically all you have to do is lie on a treatment bed and pick which channel you want to watch, the rest is done for you.

bellaze inch weightloss clinic

After the Lipo Laser comes the Electrolite and Thermoshape. These are done simultaneously. You have the electrodes placed on your muscles (in my case I was having them on my abdomen region), followed by the Thermoshape wrap. The only way I can think of to describe this is that it’s like having a really strong electric blanket wrapped around the area you are having the treatment on. This in itself was so relaxing. I am a little bit of a heat-junkie, I find it so comforting.

In my first session, I must say I felt like a bit of a wuss. The Electrolite system goes up to level 8 and I managed to get to about 1.5 – See! Told you I was a wuss!  I am happy to say that you definitely build up muscle strength and the ability to go to higher levels each time you go. I think I managed to get to number 6 or 7 by the end. I may have only got to number 7 for 5 seconds, but hey! I still did it.

In all seriousness though, the treatment has had an even more positive effect for me than just the inch-loss. Due to numerous open surgeries on my abdomen, I had lost all muscle tone in my tummy area. I have been attending physio for a couple of months trying to build up core strength in my abdomen to lessen the sciatic pain I have been experiencing caused by over compensation of my back muscles. Even after two treatments (one week), I attended my physiotherapist and she was able to feel a very noticeable improvement in the muscle tone in my abdomen. In fact, my sciatic pain has reduced from being an ‘every-minute-of-every-day’ type of pain to an ‘occasional-pain-when-I’m-bold-and-do-too-much’ type of pain. It has had a remarkably positive effect on my sciatica, which for me is a wonderful result in itself.

laser lip sculpting inch weight lossOkay! Okay! I can feel you urging me to get to the actual nitty-gritty of the situation. Does it actually work? and I can safely say YES! It most definitely works. I was noticing changes the whole way through my 4-week treatment. I have received a lot of comments about how flat my stomach and waist is looking. I would like to add for the record that I have been healthy eating for months now, so although this may work if you continue with a so-so diet, you are best looking at your eating plan to get the best possible outcome.

Over the 4-week treatment plan, I am VERY pleased to say that I have lost a huge 11-Inches in total!

My specific loss was in the following areas:

  • Hips – 5 Inch Loss
  • Waist – 4 Inch Loss
  • Diaphragm – 2 Inch Loss

This is not to be confused with mud wraps etc which draw out the water from your body to make you appear thinner, I have genuinely moved in 4 notches in my belt in 4 weeks.

The staff at Bellaze are really professional and friendly – They make the treatments so personal and I really did look forward to going. I was so sad when I realised that today was my last session.  The clinic itself is extremely clean, hygienic and has a very welcoming feel. There is always ample on-street parking every time I was there.

So whether you have a wedding coming up, have trouble shifting inches off stubborn problem areas or need to fit into that little black dress for an occasion, Bellaze’s Inch-Loss system is guaranteed to help you drop down the sizes. They even have special Bridal and Beach Body packages available.

It was a total pleasure having my treatments at Bellaze and I would definitely consider using them again should my belt notches ever start expanding again. I will write again in another 4 weeks to let you know if the inches have stayed away for good.

To find out more, visit www.Bellaze.com

Leave a comment if you have any questions.