Calorie Counting

Calorie Counting by Nate Richardson,

-If you have interest in calorie counting, you probably already have an understanding of the use and importance of BMI, so we will not cover that here.

-A healthy body must have good sleep, good nutrition, and good exersize. To neglect any of these pillars of health is to deny scientific data about short and long term health. Good nutrition deals with both QUALITY and QUANTITY of food. Counting calories is about monitoring QUANTITY. All food has calories. A calorie is an energy unit.

-The key is the write your net calories of the day regardless of how bad you performed. Try to make this day better than yesterday, and this week better than last week. Don’t focus on months, they’re too unreal/removed and can result in giving up for long periods of time until there is a new month, or heaven forbid, a new year!

-Most of us eat too much because we think we need that energy to deal with our duties of the day. But when we learn we don’t need the energy (by seeing that we have reached the daily recommendation), we realize that our issue is mental depletion, not physical depletion. Food is for physical depletion. Other stuff is for mental depletion.

-MyFitnessPal is the free recommended app my nutrition professor recommended for counting calories. It makes it easy. Type what you ate and about how much of it, and it’ll do the rest. It also helps you set a daily goal based on how fast you want to lose (or just not gain) weight. Lastly, you log your weight (I recommend not weighing yourself more than once a week so you don’t go crazy and micro-manage your diet), and it shows a bar graph of your body weight gains, flatline, or losses. The app also allows you to input what exersize you did so as to update your net caloric intake. Finally one of my favorite features is that after you log your day’s foods and fitness (fitness being optional), it will say “if you eat like this everyday for the next 5 weeks, you will weigh “x” pounds!” That to me is very encouraging, picturing the self who is that many pounds. Note: this app is private, so no one will see your weight or your goals.

-the body gets bigger if it receives more energy than it uses. Calorie means energy. Weather you got your calories from meat or carbohydrates etc., whatever energy/calorie isn’t used, will make you bigger & less fit.

-counting calories is the best way to know if you’re eating WAY too much or WAY too little. With how bazar the standard American diet (S.A.D.) is today, you may be very surprised to learn that you don’t need all of what you’re eating. I certainly was! Overeating or overfeeding your kids out of ignorance-based compassion for yourself and them can be eliminated and replaced with effective compassion if we know more perfectly what our bodies do and do not need. Yes you need to have a balanced diet in order to be healthy, but you also need to pay attention to overall input output of energy by looking at your calories.

-You may be surprised to learn that even good foods like salad, beans, vegetables, fruits, etc. have calories. Just because a food isn’t a carbohydrate (carb being the main source of calories) doesn’t mean it doesn’t have calories! Too much of anything, even a good thing, is bad. Like how too much time reading the scriptures can be bad if it takes you away from serving the poor (VERY few people read too much scriptures, I’m just using a dramatic example of how even an extremely good thing can be bad if used too much). There are a few foods that have extremely little calories, and when you need to munch etc., you can learn to turn to these kids of food. Many foods are surprisingly high in calories for how small or innocent they look.

-you don’t have to be perfect in your count. Even getting a general idea is usually enough to help you make needed changes. This doesn’t mean just guess how many calories are in a food, yes you need to calculate it with a reference book or website or phone ap, but the reason many get overwhealmed and quit calorie counting is because they are being too strict on how exact their count is.

-Have a goal for how many calories to take a day. 1500/day is the least recommended for average men who want to lose 2 pounds per week. 2000 is a rate where you will loose 1 pound per week. 2500 you will not change, more than 2500 you will gain. For women, it’s about 500 less overall.

-exercising burns calories. Today’s goal – amount eaten – amount burned (via exercise, including steps so wear a step counter) = net calories not used for that day. Try to have this net number be 0. If your goal is 1500, and you eat 2000 and burn 500, your net is 0. Since your daily goal is 1500, this daily 0 means you lost weight. Another way to look at it is to set a goal for 2000 daily (the amount where you don’t lose or gain) and try to be negative at the end of the day. If you’re at 0, no change; at positive, gained; in the negative, you lost weight. Caution: just because you exercise doesn’t mean you can eat more. The only time you can eat more is if your net caloric intake for the day is in the negative. If you are in the positive net caloric intake that day (meaning you will gain weight that day from the excess energy you’ve consumed), do some extra exercise. Now you know that Snickers isn’t just a 10 second mercy, it’s a half hour jog. Not so satisfying now, is it?

-having the motivation to change is so much easier when we know specifically how to change, or in other words, doing a large goal is so much easier if we know what little goals need to happen to make that bigger goal occur. Like the student who waits till last minute on an assignment and does poorly or even fails, so is the person who doesn’t do small goals to get their big goal. Being in the appropriate weight range (BMI) is impossible without small goals/checkpoints.

-One important note is the fundamental concept that if the calories you are eating are healthier, you’ll lose weight faster. One nutritionist said that a person will lose more weight eating 2500 calories per day of healthy foods than someone who eats 1500 per day of unhealthy foods. Don’t think that just because you eat healthy you don’t have to measure (count) energy (calories) intake.

-Beware: you will make excuses about why counting calories isn’t applicable or important to your health. There is a tendency to think that people with healthy bodies are just lucky that they don’t have “x” trial that you do. Most people have health problems, and those with healthy bodies are they who have overcome the common and uncommon barriers to health. My nutrition professor says that she can find ways for just about anyone to exercise, etc., even if they have a bad foot or whatever else if they don’t make excuses. Counting takes some amount of time. If your health is a high priority to you, find the time. Hire a nutritionist for a monthly meeting for a small fee.

-To wrap things up, life isn’t all about how much you weigh. Go have fun, go socialize. If you’re single, go on tons of dates with tons of people. Living to the fullest while not at your best health is a way of expressing that you believe in your ability to improve your health. You’ll lose weight faster if you’re not neglecting your social life than if your plan were to hide in a cave until you were perfect. Being involved in society helps you see how happy and effective people who are are being responsible with their bodies. We often think that having a healthy and limited diet means we won’t enjoy life, and seeing healthy people (especially interacting with them) helps us know the reality of the joy of healthy lifestyles. Being depressed is a sign that you don’t think you can change, and leads to reclusively, and your favorite coping mechanism: putting energy (calories) in your body. With prayer to God in the name of Jesus Christ, and little tools to help you understand what’s really going on with your body, you can change! So be faithful, and be educated about your body!


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