Beware of hidden calories. They’re everywhere! Simple substitutions and eliminations can cut thousands of calories per month. To understand how your body loses weight let’s oversimplify things. Of course, there are many genetic, metabolic and even psychological factors that influence the speed and amount of weight loss or gain that a person experiences with any diet they may be on. However, to make things as easy to understand as possible think about it this way. You expend a certain number of calories just to exist every day. Basic movement, flexing of your postural muscles to keep you upright, the beating of your heart, breathing and digestion of your food all requires energy and burns a set amount of calories per day. Let’s call this your baseline calorie expenditure. Any additional physical activity from exercise or heavy physical activity at your job will require more energy and thus will burn more calories. Let’s call this additional calorie expenditure. With this simplified explanation if we add your baseline calorie expenditure to your additional calorie expenditure we get your total calorie expenditure.
BASELINE CALORIE EXP + ADDITIONAL CALORIE EXP = TOTAL CALORIE EXP
Now, the amount of calories you take in from solid food, liquids, snacks, and pieces of candy for example (yes, you have to count EVERYTHING) is your total calorie intake. Your weight loss then over any given period of time is directly linked to how your total calorie expenditure relates to your total calorie intake. We need to think of the total calorie expenditure as a minus or negative number and the total calorie intake as a plus or positive number. If we then add the total calorie intake to the total calorie expenditure we get the total calories burned. If this resulting number is a positive number you wont lose weight. If it’s a negative number you lose weight.
TOT CAL EXPENDITURE (-) + TOT CAL INTAKE (+) = TOTAL CALORIES BURNED
As you would imagine then if you keep your total calorie intake down with smarter eating habits and increase your total calorie expenditure by increasing your activity, you will experience better weight loss. To decrease your total calorie intake, eat 4 small meals a day of REGULAR food and include as much solid protein as possible. Avoid grazing and snacking between meals. Avoid too many liquid calories. Getting back to those “hidden calories” I mentioned before, using light margarine and cream cheese, light salad dressing and pasta sauce and cooking with a cooking spray rather than a cup of oil in the pan are simple ways of eliminating thousands of calories per month. Choosing the lean ground beef or turkey, avoiding fast food and picking healthier soups (not cream-based) are other ways.
To increase your total calorie expenditure just STAY ACTIVE. If you have a treadmill – USE IT. Simply getting out and walking 4 or 5 times a week will dramatically increase your total calorie expenditure every week. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk at Wal-Mart as much as you can instead of taking the electric cart. Even a patient who just marches in place 15 minutes a day will have a higher total calorie expenditure than the sedentary patient. Remember, I don’t want any of my patients “dieting” after surgery. Patients who eat regular food four times a day, don’t snack or graze and stay active ALWAYS LOSE WEIGHT. I wish you all success!
Dr. Minkin