Foods I eat, Lifestyle

Calorie Counter???……I AM.

April 21, 2013

There is nothing magic about losing weight. There is no spiny skinny morph machine on the Biggest Loser ranch. The only way to lose weight is to take in fewer calories than you burn. That is exactly what we did.

count caloriesKnowledge is key. I remember in the casting process being asked in an interview to guess how many calories I consumed in a day. I had NO CLUE!!  I could not even guess. Then I was asked how many calories I thought I should be eating….Did not know that either!! So sitting down with the nutritionist was an eye opening experience for me. It was brought to my attention I was mindlessly consuming upwards of 4,000 PLUS calories a day!! That is crazy….and I honestly did not think I was eating terrible. I have learned so much. The very first things we learned were pretty basic. Eat a Healthy, Balanced diet FULL of natural nutritious foods, eat within your calorie budget, and hit your calorie burn.

What is healthy balanced nutritious food? Start with what you know. Starting with what you know, get that in check then you can start to reach out, explore and ask questions to build on it.  We all know fresh veggies and fruits are good for us, EAT MORE OF THEM!!  We all know lean proteins are good, eat them! We know we need Some good fats and we need to limit our grains (not cut them out). Likewise we know Sugar is not good, junk food is not good, and daily fast food, processed food and “treats” are not good. STAY AWAY FROM THOSE!! The Kitchen on the ranch was always kept full of a variety of top quality foods. The trainers were available to give us advice on how and what to eat. We all ate different to satisfy each of our own needs and tastes. That is why you won’t see and magic biggest loser diet. They taught us each to figure out what works for us.

How many calories should I eat? Good question! The answer is not the same for everyone. Each cast member was given their own calorie budget. There is a complicated process to figuring it out; or you can use one of  many reliable websites that have calorie need calculators where all you need to do is enter in your gender, age, height, current weight and activity level. I recommend using one of these calculators. If you want a quick estimate I read people generally need a daily caloric range between 7-10 calories per pound, with a minimum of 1,200 calories a day.

I believe I had one of the smallest calorie budgets. While in weight loss mode I ate 1,000-1,200 calories a day. With some coaching from Dolvett I ate 5 times a day to get and keep my metabolism going. I now never skip breakfast, and eat as “clean” as possible avoiding processed food and fillers!! I had 3 meals that were between 250-300 calories. I had 2 snacks that were between 150-200. Each time I ate my goal was to have a good carbohydrate and a protein source. Now that I am in maintenance, those meals have gotten a little bigger but are a lot of the same foods. I am eating between 1,300-1,700 a day. I will be a calorie counter for life. I will also be doing a weekly weight for life in to keep me on track!! I recommend keeping a food journal to keep track of everything that goes in your mouth.  I never realized how many “Just bites” of  HUNDREDS of calories I was consuming. It all adds up and effects everything.  You cant fix what you don’t know, not counting it only cheats you!!  While on the show I did not have one cheat, not a bite, lick or taste of anything!!! I read every label,  I used MyFitnessPal app and linked it to my BodyMedia. This helps me know exactly where I am, both in watching my calorie deficit while in weight loss mode and now keeping the numbers in balance. BodyMedia has been highly beneficial on my journey!

The bottom line for me was:: I had no idea the amount of calories I was consuming or how many calories things were, or how hard you had to work to burn calories!!!! Now I know, and it has totally changed how I look at food.  I believe you can win it in the kitchen. You see, you can lose weight just by eating right,but, You cannot out work a poor diet!

So this was the plan for losing weight:: reduce my calorie intake and greatly increase my activity level!! These first simple lessons have made me aware that this is not a fad DIET but instead a way of taking care of my body and what it needs. Being always mindful of what I am eating works to lose weight, maintain ideal weight, enjoy good health and physical fitness for a lifetime!  It may sound simple, just count calories. It is, and you can start today! It is as easy as looking as labels, portion sizes and keeping track!! Just do it!! KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!! The power to change!!


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  • Sharon April 21, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    Could eating too few calories….even if eating a lot ( meaning lots of veggies), keep you stagnant? I’m having troubles getting out of plateaus, but I eat only between 1000-1200 cals.

    • Jason Bartels April 22, 2013 at 12:44 am

      Hey Sharon, If you hit a plateau the key is to make sure your blood sugar levels are stable. You do this by eating within a hour of waking then every 3 to 4 hours. Meals should have a balance of protein, carbs and fats. and the correct calories per meal. These are going to be a little different for each individual, but most women I work with are in that 250 calorie range for every meal (5-6 meals). Quality foods do matter too. Doing this will keep your metabolism going all day long.The other way is to vary your exercise. It’s really based on what you’re currently doing and what your goals are. I hope this helps a little.

  • Teachnrun April 21, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    Did you “eat back” exercise calories? Was your 1000-1200 calories consumed after subtracting exercise calories? How many calories were you burning on average each day while on the ranch? How many calories do you strive to burn per day via exercise?

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