Towards a Doll-like Shape, Weight Control Strategy

Dear Readers

If you have a goal, you should have a plan on how to reach that goal, or that goal will remain nothing but an unreachable dream. This also applies to altering your body’s shape. My own body is overweight. The first step I took was to do research on why the body accumulates fat. In doing so I also learned a lot about how the human body functions. You can read all about this in the previous post.

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

Calories In vs. Calories Out

In my post, Weight vs. Shape I discuss how Calories can shape you. In my own personal situation, I have been over eating, meaning taking in too many Calories. These excess Calories were then stored as body fat. Now I have the task of balancing out my body’s energy use so that it uses up the body fat. This will allow me to slim down and become healthier.

Fridge vs Pantry

Fat cells are the body’s ‘pantry’, the place it stores the extra energy. While your digestive system is the body’s ‘refrigerator’. When you get home and you are hungry, the first place you usually look for food is the refrigerator right? It’s the easiest and fastest place to get food. If there is nothing in the refrigerator, you must go to the pantry to get ingredients to cook a meal.

Your body works in a similar fashion. It prefers to get energy from the easy to access Calories that you have just put into your digestive system first. If there is no energy there, or too little there, it will go to the ‘pantry’ where extra energy has been stored. If the pantry is empty though, it will get energy from where ever it can. After all, breathing and having your heart pump blood is very important!

Controlling Your Weight
Finding the balance between the energy you consume in food and the energy you burn can be a tricky task!

Balancing Act

To maintain your weight exactly where it is, you should eat the amount of food you need to provide your body energy for the day. In my situation, I have a very full ‘pantry’. This means to empty out the pantry, or use up the stored fat, I must make sure the fridge does not have enough to cover the energy needed for the day. In other words, I need to have a Calorie deficit.

My strategy for this is twofold. First, I am now paying attention to what I am eating. This means I am keeping track of the number of Calories I am taking into my body. The second part, is looking at how many Calories I am burning each day. The number of Calories I am using every day, should be more than the amount I am eating. This in theory means that my body will start making use of the stored-up energy (fat) to make up the difference.

Tracking Calories In

Keeping track of what you eat can play a big role in helping you lose weight. There are several studies done that suggest keeping a food diary can help you lose up to twice as much weight.

A lot of use will often eat without even realising what we are doing. Have you ever sat down in front of the T.V. with a packet of crisps for example? You would be enjoying the show when suddenly the packet is empty. Tracking how many Calories you take in will instantly help make you more aware of your eating habits.

For more information on the benefits of a food diary you can read these articles:

I make use of the free service from MyFitnessPal. They have a large food database which makes tracking Calories fast and easy. A search function allows you to look up the food you want add to your meals for the day. If it isn’t in the database, there is also an option to add your own entry.

Tracking Calories Out

As I mentioned in the Weight vs Shape post, your body needs a certain number of Calories every day just to take care of all that it does, like breathing, digesting food, pumping blood etc. The number of Calories you burn while at rest (if you did nothing but sleep all day for example) is called your Basal Metabolic Rate or BMR. It is also commonly called a person’s metabolism.

As with your BMI, your BMR is calculated using your gender, age, height, and current weight. It is based on averages though, and is only an estimate. Each person will likely vary from the average a little. Some online BMR Calculators can help you get an idea of your body’s basic daily calorie burn:

BMR Calculator

Exercise

Exercise is the main method of Calorie outputs that you have control over. To move around physically requires your muscles to burn energy. The more physical activities you do, the more Calories you burn.

But, don’t be fooled! You cannot eat irresponsibly and hope to just exercise it all away. It takes a lot of time and effort just to burn the Calorie value of one unhealthy meal away. Your muscles also need time to rest and recover. Exercising for many hours every single day is not realistic. Unless you are a fitness instructor who has studied the human body and this is your job of course. But then I doubt you would be eating unhealthy meals!

Don’t misunderstand, I think exercise is very important. It helps to build a beautiful toned, healthy body. But it is only one part of the whole.

Tracking Exercise

How much energy you burn while you exercise will vary with the type of exercise and its intensity. The other factors that will influence how many calories you burn include age, gender, and current weight.

The MET or Metabolic Equivalent Task is one of the easier methods of determining how much energy you burned while doing a specific activity. One MET is the energy you expend at rest while two METs means you are using twice the energy you would be using at rest. You can find a list with a few examples of activities and their equivalent METs on topendsports.com.

MyFitnessPal has inbuilt exercise calculator that you can use to track Calories burned with each exercise done. You simply need to enter the exercise type and how many minutes you spent doing it. There are also many other exercise apps available that will do the same. If you don’t want to use an app, freedieting.com will allow you to calculate it online.

Move More Weigh Less
Making use of the fat stores in your body by burning extra energy with exercise is a great strategy to help you trim down.

Benefits of Exercise

We all know that exercises good for your overall health, not just for weight control. There are many studies that show how exercising reduces your risk to get certain diseases such as diabetes and cancer. But as a Living Doll, there are important benefits to exercising.

Healthier Skin

The boost in circulation that exercise gives you has great benefits for your skin. It helps get extra nutrients to your skin and help eliminate those nasty toxins. Exercise also boosts oxygen to the skin which helps increase the natural production of collagen. Collagen is the stuff that helps your skin to be elastic and looking young.

Improved Self-confidence

Exercise will help your body look better. It also helps reduce stress and improves your mood. Stress can sometimes cause your skin to break out, or make you crave unhealthy foods. If you look better and feel better, your self-confidence will also gradually start to increase.

Increased Metabolism

When you exercise, you build muscle density. More muscle means more energy burned, even when you are resting. Which means you can have that cupcake at the tea party guilt free!

Additional Reading

Want to know more about the benefits of exercise? Here are some links with some extra reading:

Realistic Weight Expectations

One of the big reasons people fail in their weight loss journey is because they have unrealistic expectations. To reach your weight goal is not something that can happen overnight. It is not something that will even happen in a week. It is going to take a lot of time and dedication. In the end, a healthier, more beautiful doll, will be well worth the journey.

There are two things you should also keep in mind on your journey. If you are aware of them, you are less likely to be disheartened when you encounter them:

  • Your weight will fluctuate throughout the day. A fluctuation of 1kg (2.2 pounds) is normal. Many factors influence this fluctuation, from how much water you drink, the kinds of food you eat, how many times you visit the bathroom and even your hormone levels.
  • Muscle weighs more than fat. When you incorporate more physical movement into your day, you will build up some muscle tone. So, the weight scale may stay at the same number or even go higher when you start out. Don’t panic! A more accurate way to measure your progress would be to measure centimetres or inches lost around your belly for example. Or to get a scale that measures the percentages of body fat and muscle as mentioned in the previous post.
A Healthy Lifestyle for Weight Loss
For long lasting healthy changes, it is best to take it one small step at a time and to work towards your goals slowly but steadily!

Slow and Steady Wins the Weight Race

By now you have learned that having a Calorie deficit every day is what you need for your body to start making use of those fat stores in the pantry and you to slim down. It may be very tempting to try and go for the maximum weight loss as quickly as possible, but I honestly don’t recommend this.

If you make your daily Calorie deficit too large, it can be difficult to keep it up. You will be more prone to feeling hungry and in a bad mood, you may feel like you have no energy to get anything done. You may even end up binge eating unhealthy food when you give into that hunger.

Eating too little Calories every day can also put your body into starvation mode, where it will start using your muscles for fuel as well. It also means that when you do it, your body will think it may be ages before I get food again, and store as much of it as possible as fat reserves. Exactly the opposite of what you want!

One Small Change at a Time

Habits and mindsets that have been there for years will be difficult to change and maintain all in one go. Start by changing one small habit. It may not seem like much but those small changes will quickly start to add up. For example, if you normally drink four cans of soda a day, start by substituting out one of those four cans with a glass of water. Do that for a week, and then the following week, replace another can of soda with a glass of water. After two weeks, you will already be drinking half the soda you used to.

The right amount of Calories for Weight Loss

So, by now you are wondering what is the number of calories you should be eating to achieve weight loss. Which foods are healthy and which are not? I would like to direct you to two very useful articles I found which should answer all these questions and more.

  1. Caloric Deficit To Lose Weight – Setting Your Calorie Intake For Weight Loss
  2. How Many Calories Should I Eat Per Day To Lose Weight & Lose Fat?

This has been the general guideline for what I have been using to slim down and it has been working well for me (provided I stick to it).

Remember to always be kind to yourself and that even dolls can occasionally slip up. It’s not the end of the world, tomorrow is a new day, a chance to start fresh again. Believe in yourself and work towards your dreams.

 

Towards a Doll-like Shape, Weight vs. Shape

Dear Readers,

Today I am going to approach a subject which I think in this day and age is something that we have all thought about at least once, our weight. Body shape and weight is often a subject that I see hotly debated on different forums. So what exactly then is the ideal weight and does this automatically give you the perfect shape? What exactly should a living doll look like then?

Body Mass Index or BMI

Have you ever tried looked up what your ideal weight is? Then you have probably encountered the term Body Mass Index or BMI for short. I don’t want to get too technical, so I will explain it as simply as possible. The BMI is a number they work out from a mathematical formula that uses a person’s weight and height. This result is compared to what is considered ‘healthy’ for a person of the same biological gender and age. This is how they see if a person are overweight or underweight.

BMI Warning!

Humans are very different from each other so you should not take your ideal BMI as the absolute rule for what you should weigh! The BMI formula is not 100% accurate and because humans are so diverse. It cannot factor in everything that will influence the final result. You can use it to give yourself some idea of what a healthy weight is for you, but in the end, only you will know how realistic it is for your own body.

BMI Calculators Online

If you are not every good with maths there are several online sites where you simply enter your information and press a button. They do all the calculations for you and give you your BMI value:

carrots, healthy, fresh
carrots by vanessa lollipop is licensed under Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Shape versus Weight

While it can be tempting to see the number on the scale as the only way to measure your body, it can sometimes be deceiving! Muscle tissue is denser than fat tissue. This means that a person who wears Medium sized clothing can weigh the same as a person who wears Large sized clothing, even though their shapes are very different.

This is when it becomes important to take a more in-depth look at the percentage body fat, the percentage muscle tissue and a person’s bone density. A lot of people consider measuring the percentage body fat as a more accurate assessment of a body’s condition than the use of BMI.

Percentage Body Fat

I make use of a scale at home which measures the percentage body fat I am carrying. This scale was only slightly more expensive than a regular scale. My local gym has a scale which also has the same function, but is probably more accurate than the smaller version I have at home. These scales make use of “bio-electrical impedance” to measure the resistance of your body fat to electricity. It does this by sending a small amount of electricity through your body, you probably will not even feel it. It is only harmful if you have a pacemaker.

My scale gives me a read out on my percentage body fat, percentage muscle tissue, bone density and hydration.

If you want to get a good visual idea of body fat, and learn a bit more about the different ways to measure it, you can go have a look at How To Properly Measure Body Fat. Alternatively a quick Google search will give you plenty of results. Including image results of photographs of real bodies with different fat percentages.

Fresh Red Strawberries
vanessa lollipop is licensed under Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Calories and How They Work

Have you ever thought about the fat in your body and wondered how it got there? Maybe you have read up on various diets and have come across the word “Calorie“. Next time you have your favourite snack or soft drink in hand, take a moment to really read that label. Did you find something referring to ‘energy’? Or maybe the word kilojoule or one of the following symbols: kJ, kcal or Cal?

The Energy In Your Food

Humans (and animals) get energy from the food they eat. A Calorie is what we use to measure how much energy that food gives us as our body breaks it down. Similar to how you would use centimeters or inches to measure how long something is.

You as a living, breathing human need energy to live. It can sometimes feel like the only time you are really using energy is if you are exercising, like running for example. But you would be very wrong! Your body is constantly using energy just to keep you alive!

Most of the energy you get from your food actually goes towards basic body functions. Your body is using energy to do things you don’t even think about, like pumping blood around. Digesting your food also burns calories and so does breathing. You are using energy when you blink and even when you think! All your cells need the energy to keep doing what they do.

Calories Can Shape You

You may be wondering what exactly Calories and energy in food have to do with the shape of your body. Quite a lot as a matter of fact. By now you know that the food you eat gives your body energy to do what it needs to. But here is the catch, your body is only going to use what it needs. If you eat more Calories than what your body is going to use up, it is going to store the extra as, yes you guessed it, fat. The fat you have stored up in your body is going to affect its shape.

There is, of course, the other end when you take in too little Calories to cover the energy you need. Then your body needs to get the energy it is shorting from elsewhere in your body. That is when it turns to the fat cells to release the energy stored up. But if you do not have enough fat cells, your body will break down your muscles to get energy from them instead. Both of these will of course also influence your shape!

chocolate indulgence
chocolate by vanessa lollipop is licensed under Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Ideal Doll Shape

So now the big question; what exactly is the ideal body shape for a living doll? A doll is usually shaped by it’s creator and each creator is an artist. As with all works of art, the artist will shape their creation to what they as in individual consider ideal or beautiful. What one person considers the perfect shape another may not like at all. People have different tastes, diversity is after all the spice of life.

Living dolls are not all created from a single mould. Even dolls that are created from a single mould in a factory environment can have differences from one to the next. Humans come in many different shapes and sizes.

Healthy is Beautiful

Your genetics will determine a lot of your appearance, including your shape to some extent. However, the good news is you also have a lot of control over your shape.

In my humble opinion, the ideal body shape for a living doll should be the one that reflects a healthy state. I see beauty when I see someone who’s body is well looked after. By this I mean they pay attention to the kinds of food they provide their body with for energy. They make sure it is just enough food, not too little or too much. They take the time to exercise and groom themselves. You can easily see them beam with vitality. This to me is beautiful, regardless of their exact waist measurement size (or any other body part).

My Own Doll Shape

Currently, my shape is not healthy. Currently, I am carrying a lot of extra body fat. I didn’t view food as nourishment for my body, instead, I would often eat because I liked the taste. Food was a way to ‘reward’ myself or something to make me feel better after a difficult day. I didn’t realise the unhealthy consequences until none of my clothes would fit anymore.

As an aspiring living doll, I have realised that appearance is important. My appearance is something I should take pride in and right now that is not the case. It will be a lot of hard work and determination to change, but I am working towards my ideal healthy shape.

I have worked out my strategy and I plan to mould myself into a beautiful, healthy, glowing living doll.