Articles/ Reverse Diet

Calories In VS Calories Out

February 8, 2016
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The secret to weight loss!!!  I can tell you EXACTLY what you need to do to lose those extra pounds and WITHOUT working out!

Despite what many will tell you, if you are looking for fat/weight loss, muscle gain, or even maintaining your current physique progress will ultimately come down to calories in VS calories out (in MY opinion).  You don’t need to become a vegan or eat Paleo or eat clean 100% of the time (if you don’t want to).  It’s going to come down to how much food you are putting into your body compared to what your body is burning.  Working out, lifting weights, and exercise will help you achieve things quicker, but your nutrition will always be the cornerstone of your body composition and what the scale reads.

If your metabolism is in tact and healthy, it’s quite easy to manipulate your caloric intake to achieve whatever goals you have in mind.  You can either choose to feed and fuel your body with nutrient dense foods that will help keep your body running better (and hopefully longer) or you can stuff your face with calorie dense foods that may taste good initially, but will soon leave you feeling hungry and lethargic.  I choose a much more balanced approach to nutrition, a way of eating that I know I can maintain indefinitely.  No elimination here.

I learned early on in my journey that cutting foods and food groups out was not only unrealistic for the long haul, but more importantly it set the stage for an extremely poor relationship with eating.  One should never be “scared” or fear eating a little of this or a little of that for any reason.  In the grand scheme of life and eating nutrient dense foods 90% of the time day in and day out, a donut or cookie or piece of cake here and there will not have much of an impact on anything.  Life is about balance and this holds true for nutrition as well.  Why begin a fitness journey if it’s not sustainable?  That’s a story for another day though.  When it comes down to weight/fat loss, it boils down to the balance of energy you create for yourself.  And yes, you have COMPLETE control over it.

One of the first things I did when I was first diagnosed with my spinal cysts was cut back my calories.  Lifting weights and exercising were quickly stripped away from me last year so as much as I enjoyed eating in a surplus for over a year, I couldn’t very well continue eating the same way and NOT expect to gain weight.  Remember that whole energy balance thing, “calories in vs calories out”?  I wasn’t going to be burning many calories laying down 20+ hours a day, so I started cautiously with a rough 300 calorie cut.  THANK GOD I had been reverse dieting for nearly a year and maintaining weight eating over 2,000 calories a day (and I’m only 5′ tall)!

Within the first month or so of the simple 300 calorie deficit, I lost around 5-6 pounds.  Remember that weight loss was done WITHOUT working out.   And by not working out, I mean I was literally laying down nearly ALL day at that point.  The weight loss came solely from eating a little bit less than I had been each day.  Once I found that new sweet spot of no longer losing to gaining weight, I knew I reached my new maintenance calories/macros. This was about 2-3 months ago… and I haven’t tracked a single macro OR stepped on a scale since.

This is my current state of tummy affairs (thats where I hold most of my weight)…

Corina Nielsen: Live Fit

I’m not the leanest with the visible six pack abs, but I’m happy with what I’ve been able to achieve & maintain despite my medical condition (and ZERO activity/exercise).  I’ve never been the type to make excuses for anything and I wasn’t about to start now.  It would be extremely easy for me to curl up and eat a box of donuts each day, pissed off at the world for the crappy hand I have been dealt, but really… where would that get me?

I will tell you exactly where I would be if I allowed that.  A vicious cycle of turning to food for comfort, then being mad at myself for over eating, feeling crappy, then going out to buy another box of donuts or gallon of ice cream because I’m depressed all over again.  Instead I choose to accept my condition, roll with the punches, and fight every day to find the positives that surround me instead of turning to food to make me feel “better”.  My relationship with food has stayed in tact my whole life, I will not throw that away now.

Portion size plays a huge role in your nutrition and most people can see tremendous physical results from small changes, like eating a single portion instead of a triple one.  As much as I may want to eat three slices of cake, I refrain and stick to a small piece or even a bite.  I’m 100% in control of my eating and food choices.  A typical day of eating for me looks the exact same as it did a year ago when I was eating 2,000+ calories EXCEPT my portions are simply a bit smaller.  Sigh.  Not as fun, but necessary for me to maintain my current weight.

This is a sample of the food I’m eating on any given day:

Protein belgian waffle with sunny egg and bacon at least 5 days a week!

Full Day of Eating (FDOE)

Lunch is ALWAYS a HUGE salad with lots of ‘stuff’.

Full Day of Eating (FDOE)

Typical mid day food might be a green smoothie…

Full Day of Eating (FDOE)

Or a protein DOUGHnut from the DoughBar!

Full Day of Eating (FDOE)

Dinners at home changes nightly, this is roasted spaghetti squash alfredo with sun dried tomatoes and grilled chicken.

Full Day of Eating (FDOE)

Or if we eat out… I usually have a burger with a side salad.

Full Day of Eating (FDOE)

My final meal rarely ever changes… Greek yogurt with a few toppings!

Full Day of Eating (FDOE)

In addition to all of this, I snack.  A lot.  It’s never more than a bite, nibbles of this, or a handful of that.  But this is where I would enjoy the more ‘fun food’ like cookies, brownies, crackers, chocolate, etc.  Again, I may still eat these foods, but its a very small portion of it.  I’m perfectly satisfied with having the nibble and moving on.  Thats the difference between being a flexible dieter and a die hard food restrictor/eliminator… because I don’t ban anything I know it’s available ALL of the time for me.  The brain works in funny ways I tell you.  If something is present 24 hours a day, you can go without it.  If the same thing is off limits, you want it even more.  Have it present, take a bite, get it out of your system, and move on.

I know without a doubt in my mind that I am now able to eat as much as I am without gaining weight because I spent so much time NOT ‘dieting’.  I trained my body to be in a caloric surplus for SO long, the slightest drop in calories produces instant and effortless weight loss.  A healthy metabolism at it’s finest.  Cycles of ‘Reverse Dieting‘ is one of the greatest gifts I gave myself during my fitness journey .  Unlike most women who are constantly striving to be thinner, my goal has always been more focused on longevity and feeling strong.  Most of the time I could have cared less about maintaining a physique that would leave me hungry and without any energy.  I wanted to make sure my metabolism would ALWAYS stay healthy.  Spend the majority of your life yo yo and crash dieting, I assure you that once you get to be my age (38 next month) and older… it will be that much harder to keep your body looking a certain way.

IF your metabolism is healthy and you wanna lose weight?  Simple.  Eat less.

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  • Reply
    February 11, 2016 at 10:23 pm

    Do you have a recipe for the spaghetti squash meal? Looks delicious!

  • Reply
    February 13, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    Hi Corina! I was wonder what kind (if any) dressing you use on your salads? Thanks!

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