Gluten Free Fitness

Advice

Calorie Intake and You: Calories Do Count – Part 1

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You may have heard various and sundry diet and nutrition gurus touting the benefits of a given “diet”-you can eat as much as you want and not gain fat, as long as it is under the full moon, the color red, and you eat standing up.

OK, so maybe not that extreme, but the idea that total calories don’t matter if you eat specific foods is around and pervasive. Well, calories do count.

There’s no way around the laws of thermodynamics, at least not yet. Quality of food is an important issue as well, don’t get me wrong. But from a strictly energy balance perspective-it’s calories that are king (or queen.) It’s not magic, it’s not difficult, but it does take a bit of attention-at least if you’re interested in improving your health and or the way you look.

Calorie Intake and You

We’ll be looking into the idea of energy balance ie:calories in versus calories out. Today we’ll take a look out the calories you expend-energy output. In Part 2 we’ll take a look at calories in, energy intake, and the ways to track that.

Calories out=energy expenditure=all activity, bodily function, energy required for digestion of food, exercise, cleaning the house, everything. Definition of terms that create your total calorie burn:

  • RMR=resting metabolic rate-the amount of calories you need to exist without any activity-ie:bedrest
  • TEA-thermic effect of activity-this, obviously, represents the caloric burn of activity, both exercise and non-exercise acitivty.
  • NEAT=non exercise activity thermogenesis=general activity like walking the dog, playing with the kids, cleaning the house, fidgeting, general moving around that is not “exercise.” (This can have a VERY large impact on your daily caloric burn. It’s the difference between sitting on your butt on the computer or watching TV and moving, just doing something, anything.)
  • TEF-thermic effect of food. Basically the energy expended to digest and assimilate food into usable energy.

Lyle McDonald, a very smart guy, has a great article that goes into more depth regarding all of these terms. You can find it here.

Calorie expenditure calculators

The RMR is the component that we don’t control very much. TEF and TEA we can make changes to. There are many calculators out there which can help you determine your energy expenditure. One that seems to be fairly accurate is the Mifflin equation, and you can find the calculator here. To get an idea of how many calories are burned for specific activities, you can use the calculator at Fitness Partner here. Keep in mind these are all estimates, but good starting points.

If you like to get even more specific, you can use the Bodybugg or GoWearFit devices. These are small devices you wear on your arm that measure motion, heat given off, skin response to stress, and temperature. You may have see the contestants on “The Biggest Loser” wearing them. They are cool little toys, and definitely make you more aware of how much you are, (or are not) burning in a given day. They also give you more individualized information than an equation.

I think the most useful application of these is that it truly makes you think about moving more and get the burn higher, and you are super aware of when you are just sitting (oh dang, I’m only burning a calorie a minute here.) Leigh Peele has done a comparison of the two devices which you can find here.

I’ve used the Bodybugg on several different occasions, and I am going to share a few of my observations. I hope this helps you see the impact of how moving, and kind of movement, can impact your calorie burn. Oh-any why does this matter? Because if you burn more, your calorie balance is altered. This can positively impact your weight and your health.

My observations

So here we go: I am 35 years old, female, and weighed 127. My RMR has been tested at 1500 calories which also was shown by the Bodybugg. Here’s some examples of calories burned.

  • 30 minutes moderate intensity steady state cardio-(treadmill walking on an incline)-200 calories
  • Sitting at a computer at work-80 calories per hour
  • Taking a 20 minute walk outside during my break at work-100 calories (see the difference between sitting an just walking-this was a casual walk, not a power-exercise walk)
  • 45 minutes of heavy weight training-220 calories

Calorie burn total for this day, which included 45 minutes of weight training and 30 minutes of cardio for structured exercise, was 2350 calories.

A day where I was mostly sedentary, sitting at work all day and then going to get my hair cut and colored in the evening (which was more sitting) I burned 1800 calories.

Had I just gone for a short walk I could have bumped that burn by a couple hundred calories WITHOUT GOING TO THE GYM! That’s a huge difference in calorie burn. 550 calories is a big difference day to day. Cleaning the house burns a ton of calories. Which reminds me I really need to clean the floor….

Get up and move!

Although the structured exercise had a positive impact on my net calorie burn, it wasn’t the main area. Many people are under the impression that an hour at the gym will counteract all the sitting. Guess what-it doesn’t. Getting up and moving during the day can have much bigger impact than we realize. You don’t HAVE to set aside many hours to dedicate to exercise to get in better shape.

I hope this helps shed some light on how you can burn calories, and the importance of general movement.

Please let me know what you think in the comments below, or share if you have used the Bodybugg or GoWearFit!

Now-go forth and burn!

Preparing ahead for healthy gluten free eating success

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You’ve probably heard it before, and deep down you know it’s true.

Preparing your own food is generally less expensive and can be more healthful that eating out or buying prepared food.

And for celiacs, it’s safer too. No risk for cross-contamination, no worries.

Some people think they don’t have the time to cook for themselves, or that they just are incapable of cooking.

I can assure you, I am not a chef.

An example of what I take to work for a day

An example of what I take to work for a day

I have learned a lot from watching the Food Network, but you’ll see the recipes I post are not gourmet by a long shot. There are other gluten free bloggers out there who are extremely talented. (like Karina the gluten free goddess, Amy at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, or Elana’s Pantry, to name just a couple of the many very talented cooks out there.

My recipes are easy, straightforward, and healthy. Because quite frankly, these are my priorities and what I am capable of. I am a big fan of cooking in bulk-cook once, eat multiple times. If you have to heat up the oven, you may as well cook a metric ton (otherwise known as several pounds-I tend to exaggerate) of chicken breasts, your eggy breakfast casserole, some fish and some veggies at the same time.

This helps save time in the long run. Spend an hour or two a couple times a week, and save time, money, energy, and calories all week long. You will probably need some food storage containers for all your stuff, so make sure you’re prepared with those.

Sunday: Shop, cook and Prepare Day

Really, this could be any day, but if you work a regular work week you may find it easiest to get a large amount done on the weekend. When you go to the grocery/market, choose items in large quantities if possible. I am fortunate enough to have a food market nearby where I can buy boneless skinless, antibiotic free chicken breast for $1.79/lb.

A large turkey breast can be thrown in the crock-pot, or a couple whole chickens. A couple pork tenderloin, a big top round beef roast-you get the idea. Take advantage of what is in season and what’s on sale to stretch your grocery dollar. And it may mean buying something you’re not familiar with. Take a chance! Google it up and try it out-a little variety is good for the soul, and the body.

Some veggies that are great for roasting are brussel sprouts, (give ’em a shot-they’re better than you remember I’ll bet) fennel, asparagus. Root veggies like potaties, sweet potatoes, tunips and rutabaga are wonderful roasted, along with squashes. Summertime zucchini roasts awesomely well. I mention roasting because for now we’re addressing stuff can can cook in the oven all at once. When you get home, clean up your veggies.

Snacks

I’ll buy some bell peppers and slice them up to keep in the fridge when the snackies hit, and they are great in salads. Jicama is terribly ugly in it’s natural state, all brown and furry, but when you peel it and slice it it is a lovely white sweet-ish crunch. Broccoli can go on sale and be very inexpensive when you buy the whole head, same with cauliflower. Cut ’em up. They roast really well too. I was shocked how sweet broccoli got when roasted, not bitter at all.

So here’s an example. Clean and trim up your chicken breasts, and line a baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup. Give it a little mist (LOVE the Misto) and sprinkle with sea salt and lemon pepper. One layer only, please. Combine your ingredients for the eggy breakfast casserole and get that ready. Peel some root veggies and cube ’em up. For this time of year, you can go for some butternut squash too. Or halve an acorn squash and place it cut side up. Then, put your ovenat 400 and let everything cook for 30 minutes. I use a convection oven, so that does it for me, but adjust as necessary. Toss in some scrubbed whole potatoes if you’ve got room.

Multitasking to save time

All prepared within an hour-5# of chicken breast, egg casserole, and green beans

All prepared within an hour-5# of chicken breast, egg casserole, and green beans

While that’s cooking, you can use your stovetop to boil some water and cook some gluten free oats, some quinoa, or some rice. Hard boil some eggs while your at it. Blanch some green beans. You can get the majority of your breakfast foods, side dishes for grains, done now. If you want to check and see how long things will keep if you pre-pare them (for lack of a better word) check out Still Tasty. Great resource, beats the smell test by a mile. At the end of this hour or so, you’ll have enough food for at least a couple days. The “bones” of your meal are there, just fill in with fresh/frozen veggies or salads, or fruit.

Cook up some more bulk protein foods such as a big turkey breast or pork loin in the Crock Pot while you’re at work on
Tuesday/Wednesday. Good for another couple days.Buy in bulk and divide into single servings almonds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, etc.

Now that you have everything cooked, you can divide up for storage

Generally I’ll keep all the chicken in one container, rice in another, etc. Then, the night before I divide up enough meals for my next day. Because I eat every few hours, I take several food containers to work. I’ll put my protein, carb, veggie portion into a container so in the morning I grab my stack and go. During the day, I pull out my dish and I’m ready to eat.

You can do this! It’s easy when you plan. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

I’d love to hear your suggestions-please post up in the comments!