Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Fooling Yourself Doesn't Fool Your Body

*Please excuse all the different fonts - I can't fix it for some reason - ugh!

For a few years I've concentrated too much on "low fat or not fat" in the food I prepare and consume. I was aware of the calories too - but I wasn't watching the calories consumption vs calories burned as much. I kind of thought that if I was in the "ballpark" I'd be fine. I didn't count my calories and thought I had a rough idea that I was doing OK (ignorance is bliss). But I obviously wasn't.

I came across this statement recently, "Calories are everything. Let me repeat that. CALORIES ARE EVERYTHING... Forget carbs, forget fat, forget protein, forget every single thing you’ve ever heard about diet and nutrition. Weight control is all about calories. Nothing else comes close. This is not a gimmick or a diet fad either. This is the proven science of the human body."

I thought this website explained things very clearly:

"Everything you eat and drink contains calories. From junk food like cookies, candy, potato chips and soda, to more healthy food like whole wheat bread, grilled chicken, broccoli, and orange juice… they all contain calories."

I also thought b/c I was exercising I didn't have to be so careful with my eating. I ate 1200 calories from fast food but then I exercised for 40 min - so it just evened itself out, so I thought. But it didn't and doesn't. You have to exercise VERY hard and for a long time in order to burn off that excess of calories.

"Weight control is all about the battle between calories in and calories out. If they are both equal to each other, your weight will stay exactly the same. But, if one is higher than the other, your weight will change. Not only that, but it will continue to change in that same direction until they either equal each other, or they switch places and therefore cause your weight to change in the opposite direction.

In even plainer English, if you consume more calories than you burn, you gain weight. If you burn more calories than you consume, you lose weight. And, if you both burn and consume the same amount of calories, your weight stays the same."

Since I've climbed back onto the proverbial wagon, I have begun counting my calories. Not that I want to be obsessive but b/c all the little things here and there do add up. If I record what I am eating then when I go to have a snack or prepare a meal I know how many calories I can "afford".

I don't plan on counting forever - but until I feel comfortable with my weight and until I can learn to "eyeball" my calories better (like knowing how much one cup of cooked turkey looks like).

Here are a couple of websites that I have come across recently to help me with counting calories and finding out nutritional values on different foods.



- calories needed calculator


Bodybuilding.com - this website lets you calculate how many calories are burned doing specific exercises. You can also type in the amount of calories you want to burn (say you had a large piece of Cheesecake Factory Blackout Cake for lunch to the tune of 1480 calories) - you can choose the exercise group and it will tell you how long it will take to burn off that cheesecake doing that specific activity. So to burn off said slice of cake - you can choose your torture...run 10.9 miles per hour for 72 minutes OR stationary bicycling very vigorous pace for 104 minutes OR walking 4.5 mph very, very briskly for 207 minutes.

I'm sure in the past even when my calories were OK - they were not well spent. I might have skipped breakfast and then had a Slurpee...fruit and veggies were not consumed a lot...I took no notice of how much fiber or protein were in the foods I consumed.

I've realized lately that I've not been getting enough protein, and it's been a challenge to fit in more protein - especially since I am not a big meat eater.

Exercise alone isn't enough. Careful eating along isn't enough. It sure seems easier to not think about any of it at all - but not thinking about it will bring about disastrous results. If you are a 64 yr old woman, currently weighing 125 lbs - of average height, doing minimal exercise (ie. You spend most of a typical day sitting) you need only 1435 calories to maintain your weight. That isn't much at all in the food department. So if you consume more than 1435 you will gain weight.


KayleighJeanne said...

It is so refreshing to hear someone else say this.

I was a competitive distance runner in high school and in college, and people would always say "Oh, if you eat all those carbs you will gain weight". I just finished a grueling two hour workout followed by 45 minutes in the weightroom. I NEEDED carbs desperately. (And I ate plenty of them!)

Too many people focus on the newest fad diets and forget the basics.

Anonymous said...

Thank you , edi, for the comment on the 64 year old woman ! That could be me ! I will follow your advice !

My Ice Cream Diary said...

My husband lost over 100 pounds only focusing on calories and exercising everday. And 3 years later he still has to exercise and watch calories every day or he gains weight. That is the other thing, diets can't end or weight control will end. It has to be a way of life.

katiez said...

I've been preaching this for years but I didn't think anyone else in the world realized something so simple. And no one seemed to believe me anyway...
Well, now there are 2 of us that know! (Maybe 3..)