When I was chubbier...I ate less than I do now. It went like this:
10 AM- Wake up, have coffee
12PM- Lunch? Bagel. Buttery spread. Maybe some cereal.
2PM- Get ready for work, ....I'll buy dinner.
3 PM- Another bagel might work.
9PM- Take a break...drive to Panera, get fat soup and bread.
10 PM- Time for animal crackers. I'll have some cranberry juice.
11 PM- Home. Crash time.
It's no wonder my scrubs were gettin' a little bit too tight. I was working as a nursing aide and although it was a pretty physical job, my diet just wasn't doing anything to help me out.
So here's to food. We could do this the old fashioned way, but what with computers and all, I'm going post a few links and we'll be there in no time.
Figure out your calories.
If you signed up for sparkpeople, they give you a target calorie range. If you didn't, here's another way to figure your needs out. I said I would never count calories, and some people might not want to- which is why I like sparkpeople.com so much. You're counting, but if you follow the meal plans set up, you're not doing much more than clicking the foods you've eaten.
As for the calculator- if you have a dog, and you walk him/her each day, but for the rest of the day you're not so active, then you can get by with Sedentary or Light Activity if you're using the calculator. If you go to the gym and you're doing intervals each day plus weight training two to three days a week, I would use somewhere between Light and Moderate Activity- Closer to moderate if you're doing jog/sprint intervals.
Once you have a magic number, try your best for one day to right down how you're eating right now. See how many calories you're taking in, and if you enter them into sparkpeople.com, you can see how much fat/protein/carbs you're getting.
Now, let's fill those puppies up. Calories can mean nothing if you're eating bagels and ceral and animal crackers. So follow this rule of thumb: 1 protein, 1 complex carbohydrate, 1 healthy fat - at each meal.
CC's= sweet potatoes, oatmeal, brown rice, sprouted bread...etc.
P= tofu, beans, lean cuts of this and that, tempeh, etc. (I use greek yogurt as a protein!)
F=olive oil, avocados, nut butters, etc.
I like spark's setup for meals. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and one to two snacks. Pack your lunch the night before...it's so helpful and such a relief to know that everything is all done and ready!
Remember to get plenty of leafy greens and around 3 to 4 servings of fruit. Aim to get 4 to 5 servings of veggies a day and you'll be golden. Once you fill your calories up with foods that will work for you and not against you, you'll see a change in your weight, in your energy, in your mood, everything. It's hard to get enough veggies and fruits...I still struggle on some days.
Take a high quality multi-vitamin, drink at least 64 ounces of water each day (herbal, caffeine free tea counts! For every caffeine drink you take in, add another 6-8 ounces of water to your intake goal).
Uhhhhmmmm....I know I'm missing things. But I think that's a good start!