Maximizing Weight Loss: How To Fine Tune Calorie Density
by Jeff Novick, MS, RD
This note is in response to questions I frequently get about weight loss.В В The questions usually have to do with not losing weight at all, not losing enough weight or not losing weight fast enough.В В
Weighing yourself on a scale on a weekly basis is the best method to tell if you are in a negative calorie balance.В To do so, weigh yourself on the same scale, in the same place, at the same time, in the same clothes.В For the most accurate weight, weigh yourself without clothes on,В first thing in the morning after awakening and going to the bathroom.
On average, you should be able to safely and healthfully lose about 1(-2)% of your weight a week and maybe even more.В В This amount is an average over time and some weeks you will lose more and some weeks will be less. Those who have the most weight to lose, will lose the most weight in the beginning.В While 1(-2)% may not seem like much, if you multiply the number out by 12 weeks, 24 weeks or even 52 weeks, this could easily equal 24, 48 or 100 lbs or more.В В В
Now, if you are not losing weight, the first thing to do is to review the principles of calorie density and make sure you understand them and are applying them correctly.В В You can find these principles outlined in the newsletter, " A Common Sense Approach To Sound Nutrition."
If you are following the principles of calorie density and your excess weight is not coming off as quickly as you would like, then there are some adjustments you can make to what you are doing in regard to the "calories in" and the "calories out" end of the equation.
In regard to calories out,
you have three areas you can make adjustments,В which are frequency, intensity and time (FIT). You can exercise on more days or more times in a day (Frequency), you can raise the intensity of your exercise (Intensity), and/or you can do it for a longer period of time (Time). For most people, 150 minutes of exercise per week, should be more than enough.
In regard to calories in, you can lower the calorie density of the diet, by shifting the composition of your meals to include more foods that are the lowest in calorie density (vegetables, salads, soups, etc).В В Make sure 1/3 to 1/2 of the visual volume of all your meals are low calorie dense vegetables. The other 1/2- 2/3 should be unrefined, un-(or minimally)-processed complex carbohydrates (legumes, intact whole grains, starchy vegetables.
In addition, you can make the following modifications:
- Salt: For many people, salt seems to act as an appetite stimulant. So, the less you salt your food, the less people tend to eat.
- Variety: For many people, having a variety of foods available at each meal also seems to encourage over consumption. Therefore, the less variety at a meal, the less food consumed.
- Raw Foods: Foods you can eat raw tend to be lower in calorie density and may not digest as efficiently as cooking helps the digestion process.
- Sequencing: Eat the lowest calorie dense foods first. This fills you up so you eat less of the higher calorie dense foods.В
- Avoid (or strictly limit):
В В В В - all higher fat, calorie dense plant foods (nuts, seeds, oils, avocados,В
В В В В В В В tofu, etc.)В
В В В В - all refined processed grains & starches that are higher in calorie densityВ В В
В В В В В В (breads, bagels, crackers, cookies, dry cereal, tortilla's etc & anythingВ В В В В В В
В В В В В В made from ground up flour) even if they are whole grain.В