Sunday, October 28, 2012

What tools are you packing?

In your diet tool belt that is. There are many tips and tricks that I find helpful to meet my weekly calorie goals. Today I want to share a few of them with you.

1. Volumetric Eating
I like to eat big. Especially in the evenings, I like to feel satisfied and full after a meal. Volumetric eating does that for me. It is the idea that you fill out calorie dense food with less calorically dense foods. For example, I love mexican food but if I have 300 calories of nachos, I am not going to feel full. That is like 10 chips, 1 oz of cheese, and 1 oz of ground beef. Pffff. Sorry, but that does not do it for me. So what I do instead is Volumetric my meal right up. I do a HUGE taco salad (no shell!) with lots of shredded lettuce, sauteed onion and bell pepper, and salsa. Keep the meat. Lose the cheese, add about a TBSP of guacamole and sour cream. If I really need the crunch that night, I will count out 4 or 5 chips on the side to eat along side my salad.  This is a huge bowl for the same amount of calories.

We can apply this idea to almost any meal. Basically at night, I eat whatever my family is eating and just fill in with veggies. Breakfast for dinner, sure. Sautée a huge pan of asparagus, onion, mushrooms, and spinach. Add an egg whipped with 4 oz of egg white and top with 0.5 oz cheese. This makes one huge omelette that covers my plate and is maybe 250 calories, my husbands cheesy omelette and biscuit is easily double the calories and half the size.  If you want more info or ideas, check out the book The Volumetrics Eating Plan by Dr. Barabara Rolls. She has a couple of newer boos about Volumetrics out too, most libraries carry them.

2. Intermittent Fasting
I have an inner fat kid inside who is alive and well. It is easier for me to say that I am not eating than to say that I am only having this.much of something.  Crazy, maybe. But do not knock it until you try it for yourself. Brad Pilon, author of Eat Stop Eat, came up with the idea of weekly 24h mini-fasts as a way to control your weekly calorie intake. Sounds harder than it actually is. Basically eat dinner one night, then stop eating until dinner the next night. Do not eat more than you normally would before or after the fast, just eat like it never happened. Pilon recommends 2-3 per week. The great side effect is that these allow you a little extra food on other days and still make your weekly calorie goal! There is also some great hormone action going on from what Pilon has found in his research.

This is a tool you may want to play with to find what works best for you. I generally prefer 36h fasts once per week. It is easier to just take my break from eating for the whole day, it is hard for me to eat a normal dinner. Sleeping overnight completely resets my hunger, as it does for most. I love to wake up and see that big whoosh on the scale and take measurements. Some others prefer breakfast to breakfast 24h fasts, and others prefer lunch to lunch. Try out all of them and see what you like.

Another play on IF is an eating "window." My friend Ro at liked to only eat from about 3-8 p.m. each day when she was cutting fat. Basically it is a 19h daily fast from 8 at night to 3 the next day. It is doing the same thing though- helping you control your calories. Many studies have shown that we have the most willpower in the morning, so eating windows are a great idea.

3. Calorie Banking
Since we are looking at our calories over a week instead of daily, this allows you some flexibility in how you "spend" your calories. A big event coming up with weekend with lots of yummy treats? Most dieters worst nightmare, but you can plan ahead and partake in the fun. For example- if my calorie goal is 7000 cals per week- I might eat 250 cals less per day Mon-Wed, fast for 36h all day Thurs, eat normally on Friday (~1000 cal), and voila- Saturday I have 2750 calories "saved" for the event... That is A LOT of calories too. Most of us would probably not even plan that many! But you will come in for the week on plan right at 7000 calories.

Inspirational Story of the Week
Meet my friend April. She has struggled with emotional eating and more recently binging which ties back to some very hard times that she has experienced. April is here to tell you that you can overcome your past, and transform your body. She has lost weight in the past by extreme workouts (marathon running and biking sessions ontop of intense lifting days) that left her exhausted and with little time for her family and friends.  When she found VI she did not believe it would work for her. She actually entered the contest to prove John Barban (creator of VI) wrong and show him that it does not work for everyone. She did the absolute minimum expectations for the workouts and diet. Zero cardio, only the phase 1 workouts 3 times per week. Guess what happened? Look below and see for yourself:

April is a mother, nurse, and fitness instructor. She has tried it all diet and fitness-wise. Listen to her podcast here and listen to her story: