"Inadequate intake of calories, especially protein, causes the body to breakdown muscle tissue to meet the needs for amino acids," says Cederquist. "I have my patients focus on obtaining adequate lean protein and spreading it throughout the day." Her recommendation: focus on 100 grams per day, which breaks down into three to four ounces of protein at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and a few ounces for snacks.
If you factored exercise into the equation when you used the calculator, then you should not eat more if you exercise. Your daily calorie goal (the calculator result) has already accounted for the additional physical activity. But if you did not factor in exercise when you used the calculator, and you added a workout session to your day, then the calories burned during exercise will increase your calorie deficit. If you don't eat back your exercise calories, the increased deficit will help you to lose weight faster. If you do eat back the same number of calories that you burned, then you will lose weight at the same rate as indicated in your calorie calculator result. Be careful, however, it's very easy to eat more calories than you burn after exercise. This causes weight gain, not weight loss.
In another study, obese adults were assigned to Medifast's meal replacement (low fat, low GI, with a balanced ratio of CHO/Pro) (MD) or a self-selected, isocaloric, food-based meal plan for weight loss and weight maintenance. The amount of weight regain was more in the MD group, but the percentage of participants who kept up their weight in this group was more than in the other group.
Compare your portion sizes throughout the day to the recommended standards. For example, one serving of fruit is 1/2 cup or one small whole fruit, one serving of vegetables is one cup, one serving of grains is 1 oz or 1/2 of a cup, one serving of lean protein is 3 oz and one serving of low-fat dairy is one cup (milk and yogurt) or 2 oz of cheese.
“I always start [my day] with ginger tea, which is black tea with milk, honey, ginger, and cardamom. Then I’ll have a green juice with kale, beets, mint, apple, carrots, and ginger or a three-egg-white, one-yolk scramble. If I’m hungry, I’ll add half a cup of 1 percent cottage cheese to the eggs.” — Padma Lakshmi, who drops 10 to 15 pounds after every season of Top Chef
Use this selection if you do moderate exercise or sports three to five days a week. A moderate workout would be an exercise that quickens your breath, but you are not out of breath. You can carry on a conversation, but you would not be able to sing a song. The last way to tell is you would start to break out in a light sweat after about 10 minutes into your exercise.
Real talk: It could take weeks or months to see the metabolic effects of exercise on the scale, and even then, building muscle, which is denser than body fat, could lead to weight gain. “Do what you like because it’s good for you,” Dr. Seltzer says, noting the way exercise is awesome for your heart, mental health, and more—and that not all measure of progress can be seen on the scale.