I was sitting here thinking about an email I received from a friend today. She has started her journey to permanent sobriety to which I say "Go Girl" but she was concerned that because she wasn't drinking she was eating far more than she should.
I thought back to when I stopped smoking and how I felt I was eating too much to compensate for the oral satisfaction that a cigarette used to give me. I thought I was eating too much so I went online and found one of those sites where you enter everything you eat and they give you the caloric and nutritional value of what you were eating. It's important to be honest so that you can get an accurate picture but anyway, so after a week or so of keeping track I found out that I was actually starving myself.
The sad thing about people with weight issues is that often we don't know how many calories we should be eating.We assume because we are eating several times a day instead of once or twice, (as we tend to do when living with certain addictions), that we are eating too much.
I found that because I am active with my grandsons, housework and walk most places I need to go that I was not giving my body enough calories. The other issue was that I most often choose junk foods to fill in the hollow places so not only was I eating too few calories I was eating ones that don't nourish my body.
I wonder if this is the case with my friend. At Super Skinny Me they offer a calculator that tells you how many calories your body needs in a day to keep itself running and to give you the energy you need to pursue life's little pleasures. For instance I am a 53 year old female who currently weighs 225 pounds and is 5' 1" tall to maintain my current weight I need 2006 calories a day; to begin a sensible weight loss program I need to cut that back to 1604 calories a day. These numbers are what I need without adding in any physical activity. The more active I am the more calories I can eat and still lose weight.
When I was 233lbs I did these calculations then followed up by recording what I ate and what I did every day for a week. What I found was that I was not eating enough because even walking up and down the stairs from my room to my daughters apt burned a few calories. Instead of the 500 calorie deficit per day I was actually closer to 800 calories which meant my body wasn't getting enough for even basic things like breathing and standing. Everything I've read says basically the same thing, it is as dangerous to your body to eat too few calories as it is to eat too many. Add in calorie heavy but nutritionally empty foods like potato chips and you make the whole thing worse for yourself.
To my friend and to all of you, do the calculations then go to a place like SparkPeople and record your daily food intake and your daily movement for just a week to make sure you are not fooling yourself the way I fooled myself. It is better to be sure than to be sorry.