I'm assuming, because y'all are such good little weight-loss bloggers, that you at least get the weekly e-mail about Sally Squires' "Lean Plate Club" in the Washington Post, whether you read the column or not. Yesterday's piece linked to a new calculator at the American Heart Association website designed to tell you how many calories you should be eating and how many of them should come from fat.
I think we've all learned that fat is not the Big Bad Wolf of Dieting. Rather, we need some fat in our diets for vitamin absorption, satiety and energy, to help keep our skin supple and for warmth. At least that's why I need it. I lost a good deal of weight 10 years ago on a very low-fat diet. My skin was dry, flaky and itchy, and I was cold and hungry all the time. I had plenty of energy for my job and the gym, but slept a lot when I wasn't working or working out.
This time around I'm not so strict about limiting fat, but I am choosy. I use heart-healthy olive oil wherever possible, and I love the flavor of sesame oil added to sautéed vegetables or rice. I still like butter instead of margarine, but I save it for fresh-from-the-oven bread – a rare occurrence. [Really, there's no substitute.]
So I popped over to the calculator to see how I'm doing. According to John Bingham, the ratio of carbs/fat/protein for race training should be 50/30/20, and I try to follow those guidelines. I recorded my age, gender, height, a goal weight of 135, and chose the "active" activity level. Here are the AHA recommendations:
First, the 2120 calories will never happen, not unless I suddenly develop one of those wasting diseases where I have to drink milkshakes every hour on the hour. [Would that not be the most ironic way to go for someone who's had a weight "issue" since the age of 12?] And second, they actually allow trans fats? I guess 20 calories' worth isn't a whole lot, but why bother, knowing what we know about trans fats?
When I plug in my current weight, the daily caloric level rises to 2390. First, I would gain a lot of weight eating that much. But if I subtracted 750 calories from that total – reducing the weekly total by 5,250 to create enough of a deficit to lose 1.5 pounds per week – the number is 1,640. Not too far off the mark for the average dieter.
Of course by now you know I'm not at all average.
So I'll just muddle along as I have been, taking comfort in two things:
- I'm not gaining weight.
- My heart is in great shape.