I feel compelled to talk about “The Math.” Just today, clients of mine came to a very real realization about calories and how quickly they add up (we all know that) and more importantly how easy it really is to subtract them.
Although I do believe, for the most part, the calories in-calories out mantra…let’s not lose sight of the healthiest vs not so healthy foods. It doesn’t mean a diet consisting of only 1000 calores of McDonalds french fries will aid in weight loss or for that matter a healthy diet. Some of the healthy foods like yogurt, fruits and veggies may make a more efficient you – metabolism included.
3,500 calories equal 1 pound. Period.
This is not an opinion. It’s a law of physics. And the laws of physics are inexorable. If you consume more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. There is no getting around this fact.
If you’re looking to lose weight, there are only two ways to do it. Reduce your calorie intake. Or burn more calories through exercise. Remember: 500 calories burnt per day for one week (that’s 3500 calories) equals 1 pound weight loss. It’s really as simple as that.
Small changes make BIG differences at the end of a week or month. For example, consuming an extra 100 calories per day (that’s one 8 ounce soda) for 1 year translates to a 10-pound weight gain by the end of the year.
What do 100 calories look like?
- 10 pretzels (1 ounce) equal about 100 calories
- 1 cup of non-fat milk
- 10 almonds or cashews
- 6 oz non-fat yogurt (most brands)
- 1 cup of apple juice just exceeds 100 calories
- Walking for 15 minutes burns about 100
- 30 min of foreplay with sex burns roughly 100 calories
Don’t be bamboozled by packaging.
Many manufacturers package foods in what looks like a single serving size, but when you read the label, the “single” serving may actually serve 2 or more. This affects the calorie count and other nutritional information per serving.
I can guarantee that you will be very surprised once you start to pay attention to serving sizes. Marketers will do just about anything to get you to pay a little more and purchase a little more.
The majority of the chips, candy bars, and drinks (including sodas and energy/vitamin waters) sold next to cash registers at grocery and convenience stores are intended to be point of purchase sales. Often they are 2 or 3 servings–despite the fact that they are packaged to look like a single serving.
Cans of soup are infamous for this. Soup cans are often so small you wouldn’t image more than one serving. Read carefully and they are often 2.5 servings totaling over 2000 milligrams of sodium. (New 2011 guidelines for sodium have been reduced to 1500 milligrams per day from 2500 milligrams. Not surprisingly, most Americans are taking in 2.5 times that). Dietary Recommendations suggest 1500 milligrams per day for a normal person not needing to be on a low sodium diet.
The take away message: Avoid packaged processed foods. But if you aren’t there yet, read labels. Knowledge is power!
So we know calories play an important role, but so does proportions of nutrients, excess fats, red meats, antioxidants, exercise, and skipping meals (and others). Calories alone won’t bring you to your goals. Focus on the math but don’t lose sight on what makes your body run most efficiently.