Miscellany and detritus, from the writer of Is This Mutton?com

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Wednesday, January 02, 2013

The real reason we put on weight after a diet (it might surprise you)

Are you on a diet?  It's that time of year. 

I am a little smug, having lost a stone and a half in the run - up to Christmas, and not having put any weight back on. That meant that there were no festive niceties in the house. No cheese, no Christmas cake, no trifle, no chocolates.  J didn't mind - he still had his favourite items, nuts, beer, cheesecake and cream.  I enjoyed a normal Christmas dinner; I just didn't have anything else that day. And I treated myself to a couple of mince pies over the break, outrageously calorific at 250 each. I painstakingly worked them into my weight maintenance target of 1400 calories.

Yes, 1,400 calories. That's the MAX number of daily calories I need to keep my weight stable.

I discovered this by having my metabolic rate tested courtesy of Alizonne. Using a device called a MedGem, I discovered that far from the generous 1,878 calories quoted for my daily needs by Nutracheck and other diet sites, I require no more than 1,400.   Astute dieters among you will know that 1,400 is actually the number quoted for weight loss. It's the target Nutracheck set me when I said I wanted to lose one to two pounds a week. I stuck to it and couldn't understand why the pounds wouldn't budge.

I'm now convinced the main reason why we put the weight back on is that we're not given a realistic picture of how little we should eat in order to keep our weight stable.

No wonder Joanna Lumley talks about mainly eating lettuce.  Her words "don't eat that cupcake, you'll get fat, you fool" ring in my ears. I've decided I don't want to put on weight again. I hate having to wear clothes in a larger size, and it becomes harder and harder to lose weight as you get older. Do the maths:  if I gain weight on more than 1400 calories a day, I'm going to have to drop to 900 calories a day to lose weight.  Each pound gained is equivalent to 3,500 calories. If I was blissfully unaware and keeping to 1,878 calories a day, I would have gained a few pounds already.

I'm still using Nutracheck daily but now I use it to ensure I don't exceed 1400 calories a day. If we're going to the pub on Friday, I eat frugally during the day to ensure I can have scampi and chips. (The pub doesn't offer many healthy options - and life is too short to always go for poached fish!). Occasionally I do what I call "an offset" to have something I like. A very long walk on Monday meant I could have one of those mince pies.

Now you can see as well why people start to see exercise as a necessity. Elizabeth Hurley and Nigella Lawson have both talked about taking more exercise in order to be able to eat more. If I exercise more, my metabolic rate will rise. I look forward to warmer weather when I will happily get my bike out.

So if your New Year's resolution is to lose weight, I wish you luck ---- and recommend very strongly that you get your metabolic rate tested at the end of it so that you have every chance of success in the harder science of keeping the weight off.


Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Very sensible! Being a food blogger can be hazardous to the waistline, so I have to pay attention. One thing I do is to skip packaged treats of any kind - save my calories for homemade.

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

PS Love that line "don't eat that cupcake, you'll get fat, you fool" - Patsy is one of my favourite characters!

Maggie May said...

You are really wonderful to stick to that diet over Christmas and the New Year. I wish I had that determination but I used to have it once, losing 3&1/2 stones when I was much younger and that was on a calorie controlled diet.
I'm afraid that I need comfort in my old age and turn to food!
Love your header.
Happy New Year.
Maggie x

Nuts in May

Anonymous said...

Such a timely post for me Gail as only today I used a BMR calculator to find out how much I should be eating for my target weight. Mine is 1300 calories, and you're right, I learned today that exercising will cause your BMR to rise and allow you to eat more. Like you say I don't think people realise how quickly 1300 or 1400 calories adds up.

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