Two quick things I wanted to clarify after my last post as I've had some questions about it...first, I mentioned in my "DON'T" section "count calories, but watch what you eat"; in other words, I'm suggesting an overall mental shift in the way we look at ourselves other than just calories in and weight (the number on the scale) out.
As any of my clients will tell you, I'm a huge proponent of body composition testing (scientifically known as bioelectrical impedance, caliper testing, or hydro-static weighing) as opposed to weighing oneself to gauge one's health. I suggest getting yourself a body composition test immediately before embarking on a nutrition or exercise plan (any doctor, nurse, or local gym can do this test). You will gather much more important information than just weight--you'll garner your lean body mass (i.e. muscle, bone, tissue) and your fat mass (usually as a %), as well as your hydration levels (very important!).
When I work with clients I focus on "re-distribution" of fat to lean mass as well as increase in hydration levels (we should be 60-65% hydrated) as opposed to strict weight-loss. My feeling has always been simple: would you rather weight 130 lbs. with 35% fat or 125 lbs. with 20% fat? Which way do you think you'd feel better? Sleep better? Live better? I've seen too many crash diets and cleansing diets that deplete the body of important nutrients and energy just to lose 5 or 10 lbs. You have to remember that the body is most efficient in slow and sustained manners...quick gains or losses are unhealthy and usually lead to future issues.
So, short-story-long, don't just "count calories". Eat smart...eat healthy...eat balanced, portion meals (several of them, in fact) each day...drink plenty of water...focus more on what goes INTO your body as opposed to just the AMOUNT that goes into your body.
There was some mention of a specific calorie number that should be eaten based on findings from a website. In no way am I going to knock that particular website or any of the other websites that track calories, foods, etc. I think these websites serve a purpose and are very useful. As a matter of fact, I strongly recommend the use of the government's website www.mypyramidtracker.org as a way to track meals and eating.
However, it should be noted that the amount of calories a person can eat to maintain, lose, or gain weight (the basal metabolic rate, or BMR, for short) is dependent on the individual person. More specifically, the BMR depends on age, gender, height, weight, and other medical issues (i.e. diabetes, glandular issues). One can only obtain a true BMR by doing a Resting Metabolic Test (again, put on by your doctor, nurse, or local gym)...everything else is just educated guessing.
Next, I'm going to post a quick 30-minute workout to get you off that couch and into life! Be ready!