It’s 5:20 pm, you’ve just arrived home from work and you are starving. You open the cupboards to look for anything that you might be able to eat.
The cookies that you packed in your kids lunch for school are staring you in the face…
mmm they look so good. Just one won’t hurt right? Oh, that was delicious, but your still soooo hungry. What’s one more…just until dinner?
Well…, let’s take a look into this all too familiar scene a little bit more closely to see what effect it has on you, and your journey in the pursuit of your perfect body.
First of all, most ‘snacks’ today are cookies, cereal bars, nature valley bars, crackers, etc…
Anything that can be reached quickly and takes no time before it is in your mouth.
No matter which one of these ‘snacks’ you choose, in one serving there is anywhere from 140-200 calories, 7-12g of fat and 10-20g of sugar. Things that we are trying to stay away from, especially when trying to lose weight. You might have one serving or you might combine a couple of snacks, but over the course of the day you might have a ‘couple’ snacks and all of a sudden you have ingested an extra 150-500 calories on top of what you are already eating in your regular meals.
Now, what is a ‘calorie deficiency’? Well, simply put, it’s when you body is burning more calories than it is ingesting over the course of a day. In order to lose any amount of weight, you must first create a caloric deficit.
There are approximately 3500 calories in a pound of fat. Therefore, creating a 500 calorie deficit per day will result in a loss of 1 pound of fat per week. Accrue a 1000 calorie deficit a day, 2 pounds per week.
Now our bodies naturally burn a certain number of calories in a day depending on our height, weight, and age. This is called a ‘Basal Metabolic Rate’ or ‘BMR’ for short.
For example, a 6’0” 45 yr old male, who weighs 200 lbs, would have a BMR of approximately 1916 calories per day before exercise.
Another example, a 5’ 5” 35 yr old female, who weighs 145 lbs, would burn approximately 1419 calories a day before exercise.
So now, let’s take into account the amount of food that we ingest during the day. For females, 1400 calories is a reasonable amount, and for males 1900 calories is also a reasonable amount to eat.
This means that to create that calorie deficit it depends on the amount of activity that we do throughout the day.
Now some people have more physical jobs than others which will obviously burn more calories. Setting aside other variables, let’s just take your ‘BMR’ and say that you are ingesting approximately the same amount of calories over the course of the day.
This means that to create a ‘caloric deficit’ you will need to exercise. Now you can usually burn about 500 calories in 40 to 45 minutes of moderately intense cardio, which would equate to a 1 pound loss of fat per week. This is great.
Bringing our focus back to snacking. If you are to ingest an extra 250 calories a day on top of your regular meals, this means that you are either: busting your butt at the gym and only getting half of the results, if any, from your hard effort; slower weight loss; or worst case scenario, if you are aren’t exercising, potentially creating a caloric surplus in which you will begin to gain weight. This isn’t what we want to happen.
When you can start to see the food that you put into your mouth in number of calories and quickly equate that to cardio time, the ability to put a cookie down is greatly increased. There are times however where you just cannot control your hunger cravings. In these cases, some healthy snacking alternatives would be celery, cucumber, broccoli, and tomatoes. Make the effort and prepare these in advance so that they are just as easy to grab as the cookie.
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