FC Week 11: Eat Your No-No Foods and Still Lose Fat

by Anna D

Hello Transformers,

We are now on week 11 of our fitness challenge and this week, we will put all the knowledge we’ve learned in terms of nutrition such as amount of calories, calorie type, food groups, etc. I hope I haven’t lost you on all the information yet because my goal is to make these lifestyle changes simple for you so you can stick with them in the long run.

I originally planned to talk about lower calorie alternatives to the foods that we eat on a daily basis this week but I decided I wanted to give you a specific example on how you want to structure your week in terms of nutrition and exercise to reach your fitness goals. I want to share with you the specific “tweaks” I use to stay on track even when I want to have my “no-no” foods πŸ™‚

If you’ve been to one of our group coaching sessions or have been to a private coaching call with me, you will be familiar with this strategy and have probably seen success with it already. For those of you who are completely new to this topic, you are in for a surprise.

[I thought this picture was hilarious. I wanted to make you smile.]

Just a quick note before we move on: you have to have the right lifestyle changes in order for this step to be easier. So, if this is you haven’t been doing the challenges consistently, this will be a good time to review them before moving forward with this step. To go to week 1 of this fitness bootcamp challenge, go to this first post: “Aligning Your Goals with Your Mind.”

This post will be a little lengthier than usual but I promise that by the time you finish reading, you will have some actionable steps you can do right now to make a difference on your body composition.

So, the biggest question I want to answer today is, “how can I get my no-no foods and still lose fat?”

The key to being successful at weight management is to know your basal metabolic rate or BMR. Your BMR is the amount of calories you normally burn just by staying alive. In other words, if you stayed in of bed all day and did nothing, this is how much you should burn. This calculation is normally based on your weight, height, gender, and age but there are other more accurate calculations out there that take into account your lean mass as well. For the sake of our discussion, we’ll focus on the basic calculation.

This is a calculator you can use => BMR Calculator to find out what your BMR is. When I put in the information for a 5’4″ woman who is 125 lbs and age 35, her BMR turns out to be 1,335 calories a day. (Let’s call her Mary) Then, we’ll have to know how many calories it takes to burn 1 lb of fat which happens to be 3,500 calories. When we look at this on a weekly basis, this comes out to 500 calories a day. This means then the if this woman eats 835 calories a day or does a workout that burns 500 calories a day, then she can lose 1 lb a week. This is what we call going on a calorie deficit.

Your Weekly Calorie Budget

You may think that 835 calories a day is really low and you’re right. This is why I say to look at your weekly calorie budget and adjust your daily intake based on your lifestyle. Let’s take Mary again as an example. Mary’s weekly calorie budget is 9,345 (1,335 x 7 days) calories per week. Mary works out three times a week. So, on the days that she works out, she can eat about 1,200 calories then some days she can eat bit lower than that when she’s not as active.

If Mary also goes out to eat twice a week, she can save some of her calories for those times that she goes out to eat and then eat mainly lean protein, non-starchy veggies (spinach, asparagus, broccoli), and fruits for the rest of her days. If Mary sticks to these whole, non-processed, non-packaged, foods for the rest of her meals, she can get more nutrients, more food volume, and stay fuller, longer. It is amazing how much salad greens you can eat (no dressing) and not consume as much calories.

Condensed Eating Windows

You’ve probably heard many times that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Says who? Mainly the food companies who benefit from a scientific research they funded. Breakfast only helps fat loss when eating it keeps you from getting too hungry later. But, if it does not make a difference for you, then don’t feel like you have to eat when you first wake up.

So, what are condensed eating windows? This is basically a window of time during the day when you permit yourself to eat. For instance, you can eat from noon to 8 p.m. and have an 8-hour feeding window. When we use Mary as an example again and she decides to eat 900 calories today, she can brake this up into two meals at 450 calories each. Again, if Mary chooses lean protein, fruits, and veggies, she can get a lot of nutrients and more volume of food which will help her stay full longer.

Then, when Mary decides she wants to go on a weekend trip, she will have more calorie allowance during the weekend to eat higher calorie, no-no foods and enjoy her vacation without feeling guilty.

Last Note on Calorie Metabolism

It’s important to note that we still have to take into consideration how well we make use of our energy. For instance, even if we are eating at a deficit but we are stressed out, there can be other hormonal changes going on inside our body that will prevent us to lose weight. Another example of this would be people who cannot process glucose efficiently (as in the case of people who have diabetes or some people who have a mild case of it). When they eat starchy carbohydrates, it will be harder for their body to turn this into energy so it ends up being stored as fat instead.

Hormones regulate a lot of our physiological processes so if we are under some type of stress such as being on a low calorie diet for long periods of time, chronic stress from the daily grind, too much exercise (not enough time for recovery), not getting enough sleep, drinking too much coffee, etc., our bodies will have a more difficult time using our stored fat for energy. This is the reason I focused on stress on week 6 about Getting Your Beauty Sleep. In other words, we need to help our body do its job (repair and recover) before we can lose fat.

How Much Exercise?

You can probably tell how many times a week I recommend people to exercise just by looking at the bootcamp schedule. But, if I have to give you a number, it would be 3 times a week. I found that if your workouts are designed in a way that you can burn a ton of calories in a short amount of time, you can get away with about 30-45 minutes of strength training exercise, 3 times a week. Of course, you can do some light activity such as walking, jogging in between workout but again you don’t want them to be too vigorous that you don’t allow your body to recover.

I find that when people go over the top with exercise, they expect the exercise to make up for all the calories they are eating. The 3 times a weeks workouts hits a nice balance between exercise and nutrition so that you’re not hungry all the time and you have time to prepare and healthier options. We’ll have a much better impact on our calorie deficit from controlling the foods that we eat rather than exercise more. Just think about it – it will probably take us 10 minutes to eat 2 slices of pizza which is about 500 calories. If we were to burn 500 calories, it will take us about 30 minutes to 1.5 hours depending on the intensity of our workouts.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Victoria Buckmann May 18, 2011 at 3:29 pm

Anna I love this, 3x a week is doable for me…and I do try to park further away from things and get some walking in too. I do enjoy eating healthy, I am a true veggie and fruit fan. Thank you for all the good info and great advice.


Anna D May 18, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Hi Victoria, that’s a good strategy. Just try to fit in as much low impact activities in between workouts. Thanks for stopping by!


Gurpreet May 18, 2011 at 11:07 pm

Another post with detailed info…great stuff Anna!

Anna D May 19, 2011 at 7:14 am

Thanks, Gurpreet!

Brandy Mychals May 21, 2011 at 5:54 am

Hi Anna,
I’m looking forward to having you calculate this for me…lots of numbers πŸ™‚ So far I’ve been “maintaining” and getting to eat what I want and maybe because it is in a smaller window in the day, per your example above…we’ll see – glad to have you in my corner!

Anna D May 21, 2011 at 11:15 am

haha..we’ll just have to do your private nutrition coaching/planning then.


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