Posted by: SJ | 2004/11/03

Calorie intake anyone who can answer please

I would like to do your shape up for summer program the 10 km walk one, which i have modified a little (making from week 11 to week 21 a 4 km jog rather than a walk)

My fitness level according to your test was a level one (shame on me!) so id really like to get back on track.

My question is will i be able to manage this 4km jog after 11 weeks? will i be able to jog further?

How many calories will i have to consume to keep up my energy levels as i need to loose a little weight also. I have heard that you need to consume 1500 calories a day to loose weight but obviously with exercise i will need to eat more to be able to keep going.

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

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Our expert says:
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hi SJ

I am glad that you have made this decision, I know that it will be a worthwhile one for you!

I am really sure that you will be able to get up to 4 km in 11 weeks. In fact, I'd bet that you could probably do it sooner. I wouldn't go and push it that hard, but if you feel after about 4 weeks that things are going very well, then I do think that you can break from the programme slightly and see whether you can jump ahead a few weeks and get there even sooner. It really is a very conservative programme, which is important because it decreases the risk of injury, but don't be afraid to deviate slightly if you must! And yes, you will be able to jog even further after this. You will find that the big problem is getting over that first hurdle of getting fit enough to run constantly for 20 to 30 minutes. Once you are able to run 20 minutes, then 30 comes easily, 35 easily and so on. So be patient, it will come

As for the energy intake, the normal recommended amount is at least 2000, and so I think that you should aim for that. However, that said, calorie counting is generally a waste of energy anyway. to lose weight, you need to address both sides of this equation. In otherwords, you must both increase what you burn (by means of exercise) and you must decrease what you consume. However, the reality is probably not quite as simple as this. If you think about it, someone who remains at a stable weight over a period of just 10 years, is probably eating an average of 8 or 9 million calories during this period. In order to remain at the same weight, the body is somehow balancing this amount by using about 8 or 9 million calories too! So, it’s staggering that the body is able to do this as efficiently as this, and for this reason, being very particular about counting calories all the time is probably a lost cause. It’s also the reason why sudden crash diets, where you cut right back on eating and live on lettuce every day, for example, will not work. The body simply adjusts its metabolism and so you use fewer calories. This also promotes weight gain when you do eventually start eating again.

So, rather than taking drastic steps, you have to realize that slow and steady progress is the key. It is a useful idea to become educated about what you are putting into your body, and then to be sure that it’s not excessive. The general recommendation is that for a sedentary, inactive person, you should aim for about 29 calories per kilogram (A 70 kg person, for example, would need about 2000 Cal per day). If you check out your diet, and read up how much you are putting in, and it’s around 2500 or even 3000, then you will never lose weight (or you would have to exercise like a demon, which is probably not an option). It’s also not a good idea to be consuming way under 2000 Cal per day, because this will cause the body to slow its metabolism down, as I mentioned earlier.

So, the key is to cut down on those calories very slightly (and this is simple enough to do if you take practical steps – slightly smaller portions, less variety, eat foods like apples and citrus fruits that are high in fibre etc.), and to increase your energy expenditure by means of exercise. You are doing this already, and so just keep it up and let your appetite tell you what you need. You are right in saying that you will need more energy, but if you really listen to your body, you won't ever undereat.

I hope that this has helped a little – I have tried to just give you a general idea. For a specific diet and eating plan, a dietician is far more qualified than I am to advise you, and I would suggest getting in contact with one to discuss this.

Good luck

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