Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Dieting is like Banking

I like to think of my body as a bank account and calories like money. Every day I receive a small allowance of calories to spend on food. This meets my basic needs for weight loss, but I also have the option to exercise to earn extra calories for more food. I can save up my calories and those go toward my deficit so I can lose weight faster.

This analogy really helps me stay on track every day. These are the things I think about every day.

Budget Wisely

Just as you would calculate a budget for your household expenses to make sure you are living within your means, you need to budget your calories to make sure you're not getting fat, but still getting everything your body needs. Calories Consumed - Calories Burned = Net Calories. It's a very simple formula, however figuring out the numbers to plop into the equation can be time consuming. It's worth it though! And it gets easier to do the more you do it, especially with all the sites out there you  can sign up to use for free.

Choosing The Right Investment Strategy

Now that you've got your budget under control, you need to think about your investment strategy. We know in the banking world that what works for one person, may not work for you and the true is same for dieting. Eating fewer calories than you burn is only half the battle. You need to eat the foods that are right for you.

Eating 2 Pop-Tarts for breakfast is not a good investment strategy for my body. I would much rather spend 400 calories on more nutrient dense foods that provide the many things Pop-Tarts are lacking. Maybe you really love Pop-Tarts though and are able to make it work for you.

No matter what type of diet you decide to follow, you need to find a ratio of protein to carbs to fat that works for you, keeps you feeling full and satisfied, and gives you energy for your day. Personally, I'm finding that my ratio of 55% carbohydrates, 25% protein, and 20% fat is working for me. It's a moderate approach and it makes me happy.

Stay Out of Debt

Just as you shouldn't make purchases with a credit card you know you can't pay back later, don't eat extra calories that you know you're not going to work off later. I always earn my calories first by exercising before spending them on food I can't afford to eat. Plus, it's so much more rewarding to take that first big bite and know you had to sweat hard to get it. Someone once told me it's easier to work toward a goal rather than work off the guilt. True words!

On that note, this week I need to work extra hard so I can take the long weekend off. I'm going up north to visit one of my best friends and I don't want to be consumed by calorie counting. I still want to make good choices, and I know there will be opportunities for exercise, but I don't want to obsess. I sometimes obsess.

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