Issue #203 February 15, 2011

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Calories Count

Back on Track with Barbara
It's their choice, not yours
Recipe: Italian Stuffed Zucchini

Calories Count

Dear Barbara
I've scoured the internet and can't find anything regarding the number of calories per day we should eat. I've gained about 45 of my 130 pounds that I lost in 2002. Can you please help guide me towards a reasonable daily caloric intake? Thanks for all you do to keep us on track!


Dear Chantal,
What an excellent question. We tend to get so wrapped up in how many grams of protein and ounces of water we should be consuming, that often we totally forget that even after weight loss surgery, we are still the product of calories in, versus calories used. And if we don’t watch calories, then the pounds will return.

That being said, I am a great believer in life-style changes rather than “diets.” We have all tried diets and know they don’t work. But there is an awareness that we can gain from journaling and recording the number of calories that we consume.

There are a few ways to determine how many calories you should be eating. Many weight loss surgery practices or gyms have devices that fairly accurately determine how many calories you use each day. You breathe into a tube for these devices, and after about 15 minutes you are given the total number of calories you consume daily. These machines take into account your metabolism, which is very important in the calculation.

There are also consumer devices that you wear on your arm that determine your daily caloric expenditure. BodyBugg and SenseWear are two such devices. They run about $400.

However if you don’t have access to these devices, there is a reasonably accurate formula that you can use called the Harris-Benedict formula, which will give you something called your basal metabolic rate (BMR) to determine how many calories you use.

To determine your calorie expenditure use the following formulas:
For women the formula is:

655 + (4.3 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years) = BMR (Women).

For men the formula is:
66 + (6.3 x weight in pounds) + (12.9 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years) = BMR (Men)

Then you have to determine your Activity Level.  This is where it gets tricky.

If you are sedentary: BMR x 20 %

If you are lightly active: BMR x 30 %

If you are moderately active (You exercise 3 to 4 times per week): BMR x 40 %

If you are very active (You exercise intensely 5 or more days per week): BMR x 50 %

If you are extra active (You do hard labor or are in athletic training, or exercise intensely 5 or more days per week for 3 or more hours per day): BMR x 60 %

Add your Activity Level number to your BMR = Daily Calorie Expenditure

As an example if Chantal now weighs 190 lbs., is 5’6” tall, is 32 years old and is lightly active (I am just making up her height, age and activity level), this is how many calories she uses:

655 + (4.3 x 190) + (4.7 x 66) – (4.7 x 32)   OR
655 + 817 + 310.2 – 150.4 = 1631.8. This would be Chantal's BMR.

Since she is lightly active:

1631.8 x .3 = 489.54 (Activity Level)

1631.8 + 489.54 = 2121.34 calories used in a day.

To lose 1 pound of weight, you must consume 3500 calories less than what you eat. If you want to lose 1 pound per week, you have to eat 500 less calories per day than what you eat. If you are not losing weight then you have miscalculated your activity level or you are not correctly calculating the calories of the food you are eating. This is particularly true if you aren’t weighing and measuring your food.

Therefore Chantal should consume 2121.34-500 = 1621.34 calories per day to lose a pound per week.

I hope this makes sense to you and thank you, Chantal, for the question.

Back on Track with Barbara

Internet Mentoring Program

The Back on Track with Barbara Internet Mentoring Program really concentrates on lifestyle changes. Join our group and receive lessons via the internet and the support of others who are struggling just like you are.

Get Ready for Summertime Fun

Are you suffering from emotional eating and can’t stop?
Are you grazing on carbohydrates and can’t control it?
Are you lacking inspiration to lose the weight you have regained?
Do you feel that you don’t know what to do now that you have had surgery?
Are you dying to be in better shape?

My Back on Track Internet Mentoring Program will give you the
support you need to get your weight under control.

View a FREE Lesson and Listen to a FREE Telephone Seminar by
clicking here and scrolling down to the bottom of the page.

It's Their Choice, Not Yours

Right after I had my surgery, I was feeling wonderful, and I wanted to share it with the world!! Many of you have been there, and had the same reaction. I especially wanted to share my success with people who were morbidly obese. I wanted to share how they too could feel as wonderful as I felt. But I stopped myself.  I curbed my enthusiasm and wondered, “Is that the right or wrong thing to do?”

It could be the right thing.  You have knowledge about something that could very well save their life. Obesity kills.  It is the underlying cause of diabetes, heart and respiratory disease, many types of cancers, acid reflux, sleep apnea, just to name a few.  Isn’t it our moral responsibility to tell people?

But I stopped myself when I remembered how I felt when my mother would make comments to me about my weight.  She made these comments out of love, out of concern for my health, and out of concern for how other children reacted to me.  She did not brow beat me, belittle me, or humiliate me. But yet, understanding all of that even as a child, it hurt.  And what is worse, it made me want to eat more, in spite of myself. And I ate more not to spite her, but I seemed to eat more because I was more conscience of food.   

The weight someone is, belongs to them.  It is their business. Evenly if you are closely related to that person and their weight it impacting you, it is still their business. They own it, and they own the consequences of that weight.  

Certainly if someone asks you how you lost all of your weight, or how you stay so slim, then feel free to tell them about your weight loss surgery. If they ask, refer them for more information.

But you can’t effectively be a one-person crusader wiping out obesity by telling people about weight loss surgery.  Someone would have to be living under a rock not to know about it. They know. It is either not possible under their insurance, or they are just not ready.  Whatever their reason, they deserve our respect.

Barbara Thompson's

Inspiration to Lose Weight

Weekly Email Messages that Will Keep
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Staying in the proper frame of mind to continue losing weight can be hard when life's challenges always lead you astray.  Weekly messages will keep you on a steady track to lose weight.

Start receiving weekly motivational messages today
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Italian Stuffed Zucchini

This is a completely vegetarian dish; however you can increase the protein amount by mixing in sautéed lean ground beef or loose Italian sausage.  After the beef or sausage is cooked, you can drain the meat and press with paper towels to remove much of the fat, or rinse the meat in a colander.  You will have to adjust the grams of protein and fat accordingly.  If you want to know what that is, you need to learn to use an online program that will do that for you, such as

Italian Stuffed Zucchini

4 large zucchini
¼ tsp. salt
Cooking spray
1 tsp. olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup chopped tomatoes (preferably peeled)
1/3 cup dry bread crumbs
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
3 Tbl. reduced fat grated Parmesan cheese
½ oz. toasted pine nuts (1 Tbl.)
½ tsp. black peppers


1 Cut zucchini in half lengthwise; scoop out pulp, leaving 1/4-inch thick shells. Sprinkle shells with salt, set aside. Coarsely chop pulp.
2 Coat a medium nonstick skillet with cooking spray; add oil, place over medium-high heat until hot. Add chopped zucchini and onion, cook 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring often.
3 Add garlic and tomato, cook 2 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in breadcrumbs and remaining 4 ingredients.
4 Spoon vegetable mixture evenly into zucchini shells. Place in a 13- x 9- x 2-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cover and bake at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 20 additional minutes or until zucchini shells are fork-tender and stuffing is lightly browned.

Makes 8 servings: Nutritional information per serving:

70.5 calories, 11.5 grams carbohydrates, 2.5 grams fiber, 1.8 grams fat, 3.3 grams protein


If you have a recipe that you would like to share in future issues of this newsletter, please send it to me at

Drink Your Vitamins


Vitamin D,
and more

The OAC is the ONLY non profit organization whose sole focus is helping those affected by obesity.  The OAC is a great place to turn if you are looking for a way to get involved and give back to the cause of obesity.

There are a variety of ways you can make a difference, but the first step is to become an OAC Member.  The great thing about OAC Membership is that you can be as involved as you would like.  Simply being a member contributes to the cause of obesity.




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