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Yum Factor

Friday, February 5th, 2010

When I first started counting my calories I really had no idea why I was doing it. All I knew was that my Nutritionist gave me the assignment of writing down everything I ate for the upcoming week. My job was to bring the completed record, to our next appointment.

If you’re anything like me, you like food a lot. The trouble was, when I’d go by yum factor alone, I’d get myself into trouble and more often than not, eat more than I should.

Yum factor is all about feel: “What do you feel like eating tonight?” It’s about texture. If it feels good going down, chances are you’re gonna down more of it.

But how much should one eat? When we pay little attention to our eating habits, it’s impossible to know where we’re at or what to do about it.

Everyone has a food number. When I started writing down everything that I put in my mouth, I was averaging around 3500 calories per day. More often than not, I’d eat over 4000.

To figure out your average, you add up all the calories you eat in a week and divide it by seven.

My nutritionist used 3500 as a starting point for what I was capable of eating in a day (my average), and using a weekly weigh-in, he’d lower my food number each week by only a few hundred calories, to slowly ease me into eating less and less. 3300, 3100, 2900, etc.

It took me 10 weeks to arrive at the number that worked for me (everyone’s number is different). At 2200 calories per day, I was both satisfied (hunger-wise) and still shed pounds more often than not (tracked by my weekly weigh-in).

Everyone gains a pound or two here and there, the goal is to have more downs than ups.

At my starting weight of 213 pounds, my target was 185. Once I hit my target, I reluctantly aimed for 170 (not ever believing I could weigh so little). I flew by 170 and at about the 50 week mark (almost a year) I hit my natural body weight of 160. I’ve been within 5% of that weight for over two years now.

wfo_bryan_before_after

It just goes to show you, we can always do better than what we often believe our best can be.

Knowing how much you can eat each day, what you’ve eaten and how much you’ve got left is pretty empowering. It gives you an edge. You can still eat all the foods that do it for you (yum factor), just less of ‘em. At the same time feel proud about how your clothes fit.

The catch… You gotta eat less of your favorite foods (which you can monitor using a food logbook) and as your energy level and metabolism increases, spend more days exercising and building up a sweat, than days you don’t.

The year’s gonna go by whether you like it or not. Might as well make it the best year of your life. » Bryan