Friday, May 9, 2014

A Healthy Appetite is A Weight Loss Asset

As I finished a run earlier this week, a friend who is suffering from back and leg pain, partially due to excess weight, was finishing a walk. He asked me for some weight loss tips as he had seen my drop in weight over the last few months. I had not really thought of it until I started explaining to him what My Fitness Pal does for me, but my big appetite and food cravings were actually instrumental in my weight loss. Here is how it works,

My Fitness Pal status after breakfast and a workout

I really love food. I have set My Fitness Pal to allow me a calorie reduction that will result in a 1.5 pound per week weight loss. The way My Fitness Pal calculates my calorie allotment for the day is by taking what would be my normal calorie burn if I did no exercise and reducing that amount by 750 calories. 750 calories times 7 days results in a 5250 calorie deficit for the week which is equivalent to 1.5 lbs. 

The problem is that the 1680 calories allotted in a day with no exercise is just not enough to keep me from being hungry most of the day. The only alternative I have is to work out, and the harder I work out, the more I can eat later in the day. I mentioned on my weight loss page that although workouts do increase our appetite, they only do so at about a 70% rate. Meaning, that if you burn 1000 calories in a workout, you are only hungrier by 700 calories. The 300 calories left over are pure magic for me. 

My appetite got me out of bed this morning on what could have been a rest day. I have gone out running for the last three mornings including doing speed work on Wednesday. I could have easily and justifiably rested, but I got out of bed, went to spin class for an hour and burned 634 calories. 

The other powerful result of calorie restriction and a big appetite is that junk food has lost its bliss. All I have to do is read a label like this one and yuck!

150 calories and 90 of those from fat is not satisfying. Here are some alternatives with high nutrient density:

Banana 105 Calories
Apple 65 Calories
Pear 102 Calories
Tomato 22 Calories
Broccoli 50 Calories

For a long time, I thought my appetite was the enemy of my weight loss. Not any more. 

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