Smorgasbord Health Column – Project 101 Resilience – How much do you get for your 1500 calories and Music Therapy – Sally Cronin

Project 101 – Resilience a reminder of the aim of the series.

Let me say upfront, that I cannot promise that what you will read over the next few weeks will prevent you catching a viral or bacterial infection, but what I would like to do is to encourage as many people as possible to take themselves out of the identified high risk categories by making some small changes to their lifestyle and diet.

One of the highest risks is to those over 70, particularly those who have underlying health problems. However, those health problems are predominantly lifestyle related and do not have to be for life. For example, Obesity, Type II Diabetes, Inflammatory diseases, nutritional deficiencies such as Vitamin D and High Blood Pressure.

I see a window of opportunity for all of us to review our health, diet and lifestyle and see where we can make improvements to boost our immune systems, reduce our risk factors and feel more confident about going back out into the world again. A chance to get our bodies fighting fit.

Over the last 20 years or so of working with 100s of clients as a nutritional therapist, I have discovered that making sweeping changes does not work. There are three elements that require attention, physical, mental and emotional, and making small but key changes in these areas is much more effective.

One of the areas that seems to cause the most confusion is calories...and yes they can be a pain to count each day but it is still one of the best ways to lose weight. Energy in and energy out.. too much of one or the other and your body does not run efficiently.

The key to healthy weight loss is to make sure that the calories that you do consume may be reduced by are nutrient dense

Getting the most out of your 1500 calories

I established in an earlier post that a woman needs a minimum daily intake of 1,500 calories and a man needs a minimum daily intake of 1,800 calories to provide sufficient calories and nutrition to run the body’s operating systems.

If you weigh 200lbs your body will require more calories per day to function – approximately 10 calories per pound. If your body requires 2000 calories per day and you eat 1500 calories you will create a deficit of 500 calories x 7 = 3500 calories per week, which is 1lb weight of body fat.

As an example at 330lbs I needed 3300 calories per day just to carry all that extra weight around. My initial programme allowed me to eat 2000 calories per day which was quite a lot of food (of the right kind). I lost an average of 3lbs a week once the initial water loss was completed.

If you only need to lose 10lbs you will find that in a moderately active day you will still be using 2000+ calories.. so by eating 1500 calories you will still be able to create a 500 calorie deficit which will be 1lb loss per week.

Always remember that the most important aspect of those calories should be the nutritional content.

Let’s look at two sample menus of around 1,500 calories.

Menu 1 – Bad example

• You could eat three chocolate bars, which would be 1,500 calories or around 60 fat grams.

OR, you could have ALL of the following;

Menu 2 – Good example


• Bowl of sugar free cereal such as porridge (30 g) with skimmed milk with a handful of blueberries (150 calories)
• Slice of toast with scrape of butter and jam or marmalade (130 calories)
• Cup of black coffee or green tea and a small glass of cranberry juice (50 calories)
(Total: 330 calories)

Morning snack
• Two pieces of fruit such as a small apple, pear, mandarin or one banana (100 calories)

Light Lunch

• Whole grain bread salad sandwich with chicken or fish (350 calories)
• Fat-free yogurt and one piece of fruit (105 calories)
(Total: 555 calories)


• 150 gm grilled cod or small chicken breast (140 calories)
• 100 g potato (85 calories)
• Generous helping Broccoli, cabbage and carrots (120 calories)
• Tomato and basil sauce (100 calories)
(Total: 445 calories)

Evening snack

Fresh fruit salad and low-fat yogurt (watch the sugar in the yogurt) (250 calories)

Total for the day: 1,580 calories or 28 fat grams.

What you should notice here is just how much food you can eat and still lose weight. You would not be hungry with a daily menu similar to this. But, if you had eaten only three chocolate bars, you would not just have been very hungry at the end of the day but you would also have filled your system with many times the amount of sugar you need, and your fat intake would have been far too high.

We need a balanced diet whatever weight we are, but it is particularly important if you are trying to lose weight.

Every individual requires a different balance in their diet, depending on age, sex and activity level. If you are pregnant, elderly or recovering from illness then you will require a different balance to the types of food you are eating on a daily basis. I discuss supplements in a later post, since it is very difficult to achieve optimum nutrition even on 2,000 calories per day. This is why eating lots of fresh (or frozen) vegetables and fresh fruit is so important.

Carbohydrates play a crucial role in our energy levels and it is important to include a healthy amount in your program. Usually it is what we serve with our carbohydrates that cause us problems. A healthy slice of whole-grain bread at about 75 calories suddenly becomes the snack from hell when you add butter, a slice of cheese and two slices of ham.

As a guideline, if I were on a regime of 1,500-1,600 calories a day, I would expect to eat the following amounts in the various food groups.

Carbohydrates:– 4 to 6 servings depending on your activity level. ( 1 slice of breads, small bowl of cereal and starchy vegetables such as carrots large tablespoon, potatoes 1 medium, turnip 1 large tablespoon, swede large tablespoon and beans tablespoon).
Green and salad Vegetables:- 4 servings – 1 quarter of a plateful per serving.
Fruit:- 2 – 3 servings – An orange, apple, pear, banana, handful of berries (variety)
Protein:- 2 servings, (1 egg, lean meats, 150 gm chicken or fish)
Fats:- In meats, chicken, oily fish, olive oil and small amounts of cheese in the week.
Milk:– You can use semi-skimmed milk or skimmed milk, but tea does not taste the same to me so I use full-fat milk and just have a small amount on cereal.

The important thing to remember here is that you may need to increase your intake of carbohydrate to fuel certain levels of activity. I have worked with a number of athletes among my clients and their programs were planned around their training sessions. They would eat more carbohydrates, in the form of pasta or beans, on the day before training. This increases their energy and stamina levels even just hours later.

Now time to work off some of those calories and get your blood flowing with some music therapy.

One of the perks of being a radio presenter was being asked to MC charity events and my job was to warm everyone up before the walk or race with some motivational music… over the course of these posts I will be sharing my playlist for those events and to help build your resilience and improve physical, mental and emotional well-being.

Give yourself a break after reading this post and get up and get moving. Ideally every two hours of inactivity should be followed by at least 15 minutes of activity.

If you are not particularly active at the moment then you can walk on the spot, but swing your arms in time to the music so that you activate your breathing. If you are a little bit more adventurous then take to the floor and have fun.  Another artist that I have always enjoyed working out with is Bruce Springsteen and here is Dancing in the Dark uploaded Bruce Springsteen

Buy the music by Bruce Springsteen Amazon US – And:Amazon UK

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will join me Tuesday for some more Resilience training. Sally

Here are the links to the pages that support the posts in the series

©Sally Cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2020

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-two years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines and posts here on Smorgasbord.

If you would like to browse my health books and fiction you can find them here: My books and reviews 2020