63. Sarah asks, “I have been increasing my mileage that I’m running and I’m wondering how to increase calories. I am trying to lose about 15 pounds so I don’t want to stall, but I also don’t want to be eating too little. How did you figure out how many calories to eat?”
This is a great question and one that I am not qualified to answer at a professional level; however I can surely tell you about my own experience. In my nutrition courses in university, we learned that in order to achieve a modest weight loss of 1 pound per week you should create a calorie deficit of 500 calories per day. Over the course of a week, you will have achieved a calorie deficit of 3,500 calories which is equal to 1 pound of weight loss.
How to do this? Most dietitians recommend to split 500 in half, and create a 250 calorie deficit by reducing food intake as well as creating a 250 calorie deficit by exercising (calorie expenditure). The truth is,you can do it whatever way works for you. If you are increasing your mileage you are probably burning a lot of calories, so you may not have to cut back on your food intake at all or on the other hand, you may have to increase your food intake. It is hard for me to say unless I knew how many calories you were consuming and burning off.
Here’s an example:
Let’s say you ate 2,000 calories a day and maintained your weight without exercise. However, you since started running, increasing your mileage to 25 miles per week. For the average person, 1 mile run is equal to 80-100 calories burned (for simplicity sake I will just say 100 for this). This results in approx. 2,500 calories burned in 1 week. This means that you would probably need to shave off another 1,000 calories from your current diet to see 1 pound of weight loss per week. Split up evenly, this would be about 140 calories less per day (about the size of a large banana). You would be eating about 1860 calories per day, and burning about 2,500 calories through exercise each week. In a perfect world, this would translate to a 1 pound weight loss per week.
However, keep in mind that other factors come into play with weight loss. When working out at intense levels your body is likely building muscle and you may not see a drop in the scale as quickly.
For myself, I chose not to count calories to determine how much to eat. I used to do that and it became a toxic thing in my life. Now, I prefer to listen to my hunger cues and try to stop when satisfied. Many people think that counting calories is such a hard thing to do, but it is actually harder to just listen to your body and figure out when you are full. That is the real challenge. I don’t think it is a bad idea to count for a few days to get an idea of how much you are consuming. Once you are comfortable, you can leave it behind, and be confident that you are getting the correct amount.
Also, watch for signs of burn-out when training. If you feel chronically tired, cranky, or are injured a lot, it may be a sign that you are not getting enough calories and/or that you are training too much.
64. Lauren asks, “On another note, I know it is important to increase your food, so are you just planning to add on extra calories that you burn, like eat an extra 600 for the 6 miles you run?”
65a. Stephanie asks, “How many calories would you say that you consume in a day? Is that something you keep track of?”
65b. Sara B asks, “Do you count calories or have some idea how how many you are eating? Or do you just eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full?”
65c. Wiggs asks, “How does alcohol/eating out factor into your diet?”
See this video here that discusses these questions. :)
As I said, I do not count my calories, but if I were to estimate, I would say that I probably eat about 2,000-2,200 calories a day, depending on my hunger and exercise. Obviously for long runs where I am burning over 600 calories I will be eating more.
Regarding eating out, I didn’t mean to make it seem like in the video that Eric and I never go out to eat- because we do! On special occasions like birthdays and whatnot we surely do go out once and a while. When I do go out to eat I try to chose healthy appetizers (salad with dressing on the side), entrees (usually fish), and I limit the bread. If I have a dessert I wil split it with Eric, but he isn’t a big dessert person so I usually skip it too even though I am a big sweet tooth!
66. Lauren asks, “Should I slow my pace down and try to push past 6-7 miles and see how it goes or keep it where I am?”
If you are training for a race, I would suggest slowing your pace so that you are able to keep increasing the mileage on your long run days. Most athletes recommend that your long runs be at a pace that is 1 minute/mile slower than your ‘race pace’. If you plan on running the race at a 10 min/mile, try your long runs at an 11 min./mile. See this article for more help.
67. Polly asks, “Are you a vegetarian I love many of your eats. I am not a veggie but a veggie wannabe!”
68. Erin asks, “Are you a vegetarian?”
I get asked this quite often! I used to be a vegetarian for a couple of years in my late teens/early 20’s, but in university Eric convinced me to try a chicken finger and it was downhill from there. lol. In the past year, I have been swinging back in the direction of a vegetarian though. I am learning more and more about the environmental benefits of being a vegetarian, as well as the shocking treatment of many animals in slaughterhouses. Reading Skinny Bitch was a huge eye opener for me. It is scary how many hormones can be found in non-organic dairy and meat. This prompted me to research other ways to get my vitamins without consuming these products. I now drink Almond Breeze instead of regular milk, I chose vegetarian meat products whenever possible, and I consume tons of organic produce, as well as seeds, grains, and nuts. I have not cut out meat entirely as I still have it on occasion.
I’m sure it sounds very granola or hippy to say this, but once I became aware of how my food got to my dinner table, I realized that a healthy lifestyle needed to take all of this into account. I feel better with myself and happier knowing that I am possibly helping the environment and making a point to show the food industry what is and is not acceptable to me.
I do like the taste of some meats which is why I still have it once and a while, but exploring other avenues aside from meat & dairy has opened up my whole world with respect to nutrition and food variety. There are so many great foods out there that no one knows about (myself included) because the food industry focuses on the big money makers (meat, milk, eggs, cheese, corn, flour, etc).
69. Polly asks, “What do you put on your spelt flakes?”
Almond Breeze in Original. It is delicious, made from almonds, and only 60 calories per cup!
70. Sally says, “Your lunch looks so delicious with so many components, though it seems a little low in protein to me, especially with your increased exercise schedule.”
Thanks for pointing this out, Sally. When I posted my lunch that day, I meant to mention that my main source of protein was missing. I always put a few slices of Tofurkey (veggie meat) on my sandwiches, but on this day I had run out.
71. Lifeinyouryears asks, “What kind of cereal do you buy?”
I buy Nature’s Path Organic Spelt Cereal. It is delicious!
72. Betsy in Pittsburgh asks, “I got some Think samples, and I really did not care for them. Have you tried their Brownie Crunch? It was like chewing on shoe leather!”
No, I haven’t tried a Think bar before but thanks for the heads up!
73. Victoria asks, “Gorgeous video. Who sings the song?”
The song played in our wedding slide show is called “Heavenly Day” by Patty Griffin. I loooove it.
74. Sally says, “Have you read the book called “Good Calories, Bad Calories” by Gary Taube? As a researcher, I think it is a book that you would really enjoy. Also, it has some good info about saturated fat (and why you shouldn’t worry so much about it).
No, I haven’t read it. Thank you for the recommendation!
75. Dave asks, “I have never seen a more cool looking cat. What breed?”
Thank you- Sketchie’s ego is inflating by the day! :D He is a Bengal breed. He has 7th generation Asian Leopard in him mixed with a domestic. Bengals are very dog like and ours just happens to be a nut case. lol. He needs his own reality show.
76. Alison says, “I just got a HRM too. Did you go somewhere to get your lactate threshold tested or are you just using age guidelines for your zones?”
I am just using the age guidelines (220 – your age) for the HR zones. Although, I would love to get a fitness test and actually have my threshold measured! Someday…
78. Fit Bottomed Girls ask, “Your brother’s fridge is pretty amazing…but what does he eat? lol.”
If you liked his party fridge you would love his actually food fridge! It’s stocked. He’s a big health nut too. I should take a pic of it someday. haha.
79. Sweet & Natural asks, “Any suggestions as to how to eat a pomegranate? I tried it in yogurt and I didn’t like it!”
The only way I’ve ever eaten it was on my cereal and I loved it. Try it out!
80. Lindsey (Mrs. LC) asks, “Do you know of any celebrity Road to Health stories? That seems like something you and your readers would enjoy, myself included!”
Great suggestion! I will look into this :)
81. Andrea asks, “Have you read In Defense of Food?”
I am currently reading it now! It is wonderful! I read it for about 4 hours straight on my flight home last week. :D
82. Paloma says, “WOAH. My husband proposed to me on Akumal beach in Mexico on Dec. 19th 2004!!!! That is too weird!!!”
Wow!!! Small world! Here I was thinking Eric did something truly unique! LOL…just joking of course. I couldn’t imagine a more beautiful site to get proposed to. We are both lucky gals!
Well, that is all for now! Whew that took a while.
You will be happy to know that from now on I will be filing all of my questions in a seperate file and doing FAQ’s on a weekly basis. This means a much faster turn around time for your answers!!!
I still have about 12 questions to go and I hope to post the next set of answers tonight!
See you later!!!! :D
Happy New Year’s EVE!!!!!!!!!!!!