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How to know if your weight scale is a big fat liar

How to know if your weight scale is a big fat liar Your weight scale is a great tool to measure how much weight you’ve lost? I mean: your weight isn’t showing anything else than the force of gravity on you which may be defined as the mass times the acceleration of gravity. Or something. […]

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Does eating at night really make you fat?

It sounds so easy: dinner is over, the kitchen is closed. Well, no. It isn’t that easy. For some reason eating at night is the #1 reason why we gain weight and stay overweight.

The evening is the most favorite moment in the day in which people eat. During daytime, it isn’t that hard because we have a lot of things to do. We have work, kids or whatever we focus on, but in the evening when we sit down to relax, that’s where it starts.

So, how bad it is eating at night really? Well, more than you think. I invite you to take pen and paper and calculate with me to get “hit by a frying pan” (as I lovingly call confrontations like these).

Do you want to stay in a dream state about what is needed to lose weight, I urge you not to read any further. Please don’t, because you’re not going to like me.

Further reading is at your own risk of being confronted with the truth.

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What weight loss all boils down to

Gaining weight all boils down to eating too much. I can show you all kinds of other reasons, but every time they come down to this one reason. Your body doesn’t work differently in the evening as it does during the day. So looking at what you eat altogether over a period of time, you need to eat less than the total of energy you burn during that time frame.

What happens, though, is that your metabolism turns down a notch during the evening and the night because your body is getting ready to start the regeneration mode that goes on in your body during the night.

How much energy do you really burn?

Did you know that 70% of all the energy you use is spent on keeping your body going? It means that your heart needs to beat and your lungs need to process air. So the majority of all energy is to keep you alive. The rest of the 30% is needed to be able to work, to walk, to be active outside or in a gym or to play with the kids.

Research shows that we overestimate the amount of that number. We think we burn loads and loads of energy with a walk or a workout, but reality shows it isn’t that much.

So when you sit down to relax at night, and you’ve been really busy, maybe even been active, then there is a good chance that you think you’ve earned it. Raise your hand if you’ve told yourself: “I’ve been so active, I’ve earned it!”

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Does eating at night really make you fat?

You probably didn’t burn that much

Well, I don’t want to spoil the fun, but you probably didn’t earn the amount of energy by eating at night. If you’re the proud owner of a smartwatch and can see how much you burn in 24 hrs you have to understand that 70% of that number is just what you needed even to survive; to live and breathe. The rest of the number is to get through the day, including get up, do your job, do your groceries, maybe even clean your house if you’re up to it or even work out; your normal things to do in a day.

So let’s see how much you burn and calculate your BMR (the number if you refuse to get up in the morning and stay in bed all day for 24 hrs, with the following Harris-Benedict formula:

Imperial

Women: 655.1 + (4.35 x weight in lbs) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age)

Men: 66 + (6.2 x weight in lbs) + (12.7 x height in inches) – (6.76 x age)

Metric

Women: 655.1 + ( 9.563 x weight in kg ) + ( 1.850 x height in cm ) – ( 4.676 x age in years )

Men: 66.47 + ( 13.75 x weight in kg ) + ( 5.003 x height in cm ) – ( 6.755 x age in years )

How active are you really?

When you’ve calculated your BMR you then multiply it with one of the below numbers that shows how active you are:

1.2 Sedentary.  Little to no exercise
1.375 Mild activity level: Intensive exercise for at least 20 minutes 1 to 3 times per week. This can be cycling, jogging, basketball, swimming, skating, etc.  If you do not exercise regularly, but you maintain a busy lifestyle that requires you to walk frequently for long periods, for instance, working in a shop, you meet the requirements of this level.
1.5 Moderate activity level: Intensive exercise for at least 30 to 60 minutes 3 to 4 times per week. Any of the activities listed above will qualify.
1.7 Heavy or (Labor-intensive) activity level: Intensive exercise for 60 minutes or greater 5 to 7 days per week (see sample activities above).  Labor-intensive occupations also qualify for this level.  Labor-intensive occupations include construction work, farming, landscaping or similar occupations.
1.9 Extreme level: Exceedingly active and/or very demanding activities:  Examples include: athletes with an intensive training plan that includes multiple sessions a day, or a very demanding job, such as shoveling coal (who does that these days?) or working long hours on an assembly line. Generally, this level of activity is very difficult to achieve.

Now be honest

Be honest. Have you chosen the right one? I’ll gladly admit that I’ve done the “exaggeration thing” in the past. Being very tired of a workout isn’t part of the equation. And no, one intensive week isn’t going to change your life. The number you choose has to be something you’ve done for a longer time.

But it doesn’t stop there. The number you just calculated is the number to not gain any weight. If you want to lose weight you’ll have to take away 500 kcal. The number you end up with is what you should eat to lose weight at a steady pace.

Choosing the wrong multiplier was one of the causes why I couldn’t lose any weight. When I pulled my head out of the sand and lowered my daily intake, I was able to lose another 50 lbs.

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Uncover the BS nonsense

That’s how powerful thoughts and stories can work for you too. Uncover the stories you tell yourself and lose weight.

How often do you tell yourself a story how hard you worked or how many calories you burned today? How often do you tell yourself that you’ve earned that extra helping or that snack? Be honest. And then calculate how many calories you add while you listen to the happy but fattening chat.

My clients often don’t like me when I let them do this exercise. It sucks. Yes, it also sucks that age is part of the equation. It had been a while ago when I did this equation for the last time, and in the meantime, I added a few years to the equation. Even though I now understand that I can’t eat as much as I used to, it was still a confrontation for me.

So how does this influence your eating at night?

Well, if you only have that 30% that you can influence by being active and you want to lose weight, then you have two choices:

  • Become more active (and I really mean active) or
  • Eat less than you’re eating now (starting with ending eating at night)

Of course, you can eat something at night, it won’t kill you or your goals. Just know when enough is enough, especially when you also have sensitive intestines, sleeping problem, experience a lot of fatigue or have stubborn weight that you just can’t seem to lose.

But that’s a whole different subject that I might cover in a webinar someday. Until that moment you can work with me to make weight loss possible or if you’re just not able to maintain your results. If my way of confronting you is something you might need (no, I’m not on the warpath all the time!) then apply for a strategy call with me.

Let me know in the comments: were you shocked to know how many calories you really can eat in a day?

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