Let me delve a little bit more into why my approach to losing weight by physical training and slashing the amount of extras, luxuries and treats you eat, is a sensible and even logical way of going about it.
Most calorie controlled diets focus on starving the body so that it burns fat reserves. Many of the diets which people follow today are commercial, some of them very good, but they want to make money of course.
The ones which have food products associated to their brand, wage war on main meal times, and sell you a substitute. This is no terrible way of going about things because it makes it easy for you to comply to the calorie controlled diet. A shake for lunch. A bar for breakfast. However for you and I dear sporty but chubby, and for most other overweight people in western countries it is extras outside meal times plus extra portions or extra large super sizing junk food meals which are the culprit, not main meals.
Take a good old British worst in class. Fish n' chips - the fish supper north of the border. A fat and carbo bomb? Well if you take the average portion apparently it is indeed a wacking great big 848 kcal. However even if you eat this for lunch and dinner you may not get very fat at all because that would then be 1700 kcal ,or what a very slightly built, sedentary adult woman needs in calories for a day. Also, as Dr Atkins pointed out, it is not high fat in diet which makes people fat ,it is high carbos and especially simple sugars and refined starches which cause the insulin response each time you overload the body with blood glucose, and leads to fat deposition when you get too much in a short space of time.
So now take with the fish n' chip dinner, your sugary drink and your bar of chocolate which you the Geordie or Scot or Ulsterman consume and you are up to over 1200 kcal for said supper, and you are overloading your blood glucose for a good time as first the sugar hits and then the starch in the chips is broken down to blood sugar by digestion.
Another deamon of the fast food is the quarter pounder cheese burger with large fries. That in itself is between 800kcal and 950kcal. Again no huge issue compared to daily required intakes pf around 2500kcal for adult males, 2k for women. But a large cola adds several hundred calories of the hyperglycaemic type.
On the other side, take a healthy meal high in the trendy omega 3 fatty acids: salmon with spuds and broccoli. This clocks in at an unsurprising 500 calories. Add sugary drinks if it is a bit heavily salted or you are thirsty from training: a typical british or scandinavian well known blackcurrent squash : 220 kcal per half litre thirsty mans glass. How many glasses did you drink when you made a big jug for the family?
European breakfasts tend to be a carbo bomb, which atkins dieters avoid by the trusty egg. But the biggest bomb is in having a large portion of cereal or museli and then having several glasses of orange juice. Given one of these luxury treat yourself breakfasts , a favourite of mine is mini shredded wheat with fruits in them, and just two glasses of orange juice then you are up at 450 calories. An extra portion of that yummy self spoiling treat and you are up at 650 kcal possibly.
Lunch cometh. Often a rushed affair so the sarnie or packed lunch suffices and that is allegedly on average around 300-350kcal, the apple with it is around 60-70kcal. But add a sugary drink and crisps and you can be up at 700kcal.
Okay so you see that core meals really no matter what you eat in terms of a single portion of that meal add up as follows:
Breakfast ( inc 1 x orange juice) 350kcal
Lunch : sandwich and a fruit 450kcal
Dinner . Main course , 900 kcal
That adds up to a mere 1600 kcal per day : so if you eat completely normal core meals, even with an unhealthy 900kcal dinner, then by avoiding sugary things and extras you would be on a really calorie starving diet.
So forget counting core meal calories if you know you eat normal sized portions. It is the sugary drinks, sugary desserts and high calorie per gram extras like crisps, buscuits and cakes which are the real bad guys.
Add then 10 beers after the rugby match at apprx 200 kcal per pint and you see where you have been and where the beer gut came from: once a week binge session with 8 beersx, about what i could down in a big evening for me, and you are at the same calorific intake as from all your meals of that day. Luckily i have never been much of a kebab on the way home man. But that is usually an additional 600-1000 kcal. Okay you are up late on a cold night in Manchester, you need maybe another 500kcal to keep the body going but your net intake is a bit mad. Even if you give up on the taxi rank and walk home at 600kcal an hour on a miserable winter night, then your net intake of a usual saturday night out is well over a thousand kcal. Times that by four for a month and you have put on weight : half a kilo from a typical once a week sporty lad or lass night out on the town.
Half a kilo from sweets and cakes, half a kilo from Sugary drinks ,half a kilo from extra portions of dinner.........
This is why you like me have crept up to being maybe 20kg over weight over ten years despite being 'sporty' and active.
So in my diet I say count up only your extras, but also benchmark your core meals to see if they are about 1600kcal total.
Now you see why i do allow myself some extras, a mix in fact as follows:
1 X 250kcal cake per week
2X. 200 kcal Beer, "pint" p.w.
3X. 80 kcal light beer 33cl p.w.
85g chocolate 350kcal spread out over more than one day
3x ordinary fruit yoghurts@ 145kcal ie with added sugar , per week
2x small additional portions dinner @ ~300kcal each pw
3 x 150ml glasses of wine , @~ 150kcal per glass pw
1X banana per day @ 100kcal
2x other fruits. @ 60kcal each per day
1 x jam sandwich per day @ ~ 230kcal
1x glass squash per day @ ~100 kcal
"". "". "". Orange j. "". "~130kcal
50g crisps per week
25g nuts per week
What are the Other Extras to Avoid?
Well they are desserts, snacks, drinks over 20kcal per 250ml glass, extra large portions core meal, additional portions core meals, grapes more than 50g per day, more than one banana per day (if you do not take it as a part of a 600kcal lunch that is, then you can have two.), more than the one 250ml orange juice at breakfast.
Beer and wine are quite limited as you can see, but you can have vodka diet cola or any other very low cal mixer on a clean spirit. The alcohol in spirits does not really all get metabolised to sugar. It is a complex biochemical pathway which uses up a lot of energy underways and spews out intermediate and biproducts underway, which incidentally build up through the night to give you, yep you got it, a hang over.
What's The Down Side of The Sporty Fatty Diet?
Well if you have landed solely on this blog entry, then read further. This weight loss regime does allow you a very nice level of extra wee treats but it is at the expense of exercising three times a week aiming for each session to be 2 hours long with a heart rate maintained at 55-70% max heart rate ( usually around 120 - 140 bpm depending on your age) .
You will sweat. You will gasp once in a while to catch your breath. You will find it monotomous at times. You will struggle to see the point. You will get exhausted, especiallly at the beginning of your 4 to 12 month programme or in especially hot or cold weather (avoid extremes over 30'C and under -12'C)
However you will get used to the sessions and suceeding to keep your target 5-7 hours. You will get very good fitness benefits from it, and for some like me, much better than even doing say an hour a day five days a week. Most of all you will promote fat burning during and after excercise and you will most likely moderate your appetite as the body gets used to using more fat when sugar stores are depleted.
I will give a footnote to Weightwatchers TM and "the walking diet" who also propose an exercise calorie burn way of counting burnt versus intake. It is just for me, the obvious reason i am sporty yet overweight is not core meals, rather it is due to my appetite for extras and consumer lifestyle.