All Articles Tagged "Calories"
One of the most common concerns about losing – and maintaining – weight is the myth of calorie counting. Quite frankly, the thought of spending an eternity looking up caloric values of foods and scribbling them down in a little notebook is enough to send even the most desperate among us into a fit of tears. Surely, this cannot be my fate if I’m seeking to lose weight, right? Surely, I can drop the extra pounds without the calorie counting, right?
But wait – what is calorie counting?
First, a quick look at calories and their importance.
A calorie is little more than a standard unit of energy. Though kilocalories are the more accurate and appropriate metric for what we’re referring to when we talk about “calories,” we use the shortened version. When we take in too many calories, our primary source of energy, our bodies store them in the form of fat for later use. If we take in too few calories, our bodies tend to burn what we have stored. Though there are different sources of calories – fats, protein, and carbohydrates (carbs) – and each of those does something radically different in the body, the fact remains that too many of any calorie will result in the storage of fat.
When you look at a nutrition label on the side of a product, you’re presented with a long list of figures: the number of portions the box provides, and the number of calories in each portion. (If you multiply the number of calories in a portion by the number of portions in a product, you get the total number of portions in that given product.) You find out how many calories are in an item, you determine whether the amount of food that you’re able to get from the calories is enough to fulfill you – or if they’re even worth it – and if so, you take note.
The end result is, undoubtedly, a new-found awareness of food, and that’s what makes calorie counting so effective. While many people won’t need to go to such lengths to make a few changes, most people have no idea how many calories they consume in any given sitting – most people don’t even remember all the food they eat in a single day in order to give an accurate tally – and that’s why calorie counting helps. It makes a huge difference in understanding just how much you’re eating, when you’re eating it, and even, sometimes, why you’re eating it. (Did you snack all morning out of stress?) Because of the nature of processed food, many people consume calories so quickly that they don’t even remember ever eating those foods. Obviously, this is something that can have a drastic effect on your weight loss efforts.
The frustrating thing about weight loss is that even those calories you don’t remember will have an effect on your progress. They all count. And, while being aware is great – and necessary – the most important part of calorie counting is the lesson it teaches you: whatever’s in that box, that wrapping or that can isn’t going to be better for you nutritionally or fitness-wise than what’s in that produce aisle.
See, it shouldn’t be so much about all those numbers. Don’t let the lesson stop there. What do those numbers teach you? Did you develop an understanding of the difference between 100 calories of cookies, and 100 calories of broccoli? (Here’s a hint: you’re infinitely more full off 100 calories of broccoli.)
While calories are important, and the awareness that you gain from counting them is valuable, there’s nothing more essential than making the right choices – fruits, vegetables, lean proteins – in the first place. Do that, and the calories will naturally take care of themselves!
Erika Nicole Kendall is the writer behind the award winning blog, A Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss, where she blogs everything from fitness to food, weight loss to wellness, body image and even her own 160lb weight loss journey. A trainer certified in women’s fitness, fitness nutrition and weight loss coaching, she can be found taking over your Internet on Youtube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
The government doesn’t sleep, but I’ll settle for them having a stadium full of seats. Mayor Michael Bloomberg can be the first in line. The NYC politician wants to place a ban on sodas larger than 16 ounces. Apparently, that’s the biggest problem facing New York and not the 8.1% unemployment rate or the rampant homelessness. Bloomberg has decided that this is the cause for him to put his cape on and fly into action.
His intentions are solid. Obesity is a serious epidemic in this country. While it should be addressed, it should not be legislated to these lengths. He is an elected official, not anyone’s parent or nanny. If he really wanted to stick his nose where it didn’t belong, Bloomberg could use some of the millions if not billions at his disposal and pay off my student loans. He’d get my vote on that. Until then, I need him to get himself all the way together. How can you be against soda but support National Donut Day? I’ll wait.
Not only is this proposed law a government overreach dictating what a person can buy with their own money, but it also falls flat when you really think about it. Sure, you can ban the sale of oversized sodas and try and control portions, but I can just as easily buy two small sizes. Or three. Or four. I’ll chug on a bottle of Pepsi and cheer to the friggin’ weekend while protestors side eye me with pickets raised high in the air. In my best Rihanna voice, “No1Currr!”
Diabetes, obesity and other health related dangers that high sugar intake can cause is very real. It shouldn’t be taken lightly. However, Big Brother needs to fall back on trying to limit choices just because they wouldn’t make the same ones. Bloomberg is not going to get a medal or ticker tape parade for attempting to mandate good health practices. He’ll likely have a riot. The government can’t even balance the federal budget and put suffering Americans back to work, yet they want to occupy vending machines and fast food joints? Are cupcakes, pretzels and candy next on the most wanted list? I’ve got a birth certificate that says I’m old enough to decide for myself what I want to drink and at what size I want to drink it. I’m not the only grown person insulted by the government’s interference as to what I’m supposed to be quenching my thirst with.
While he might have good intentions, don’t fool yourselves into thinking that these good measures won’t pave the way for more laws for the “common good.” Some women choose to put that creamy crack into their hair every 4 to 6 weeks. I do. I’m too lazy to find another way to get my hair layed quick, so does that mean folks might decide that the chemicals in perms might mess me up and will determine how I use one? Uncle Sam might even decide next to ban tampons because it might lead to toxic shock syndrome. Think all that sounds ridiculous? So is putting the blame on soda for obesity and trying to place a Band-Aid on an issue that will not solve the problem.
I love my neighbors and I want what’s best for them. I want every person to be healthy, but it just can’t be done by force. It needs to be of a person’s free will to lead a healthy lifestyle. So until then, please pass the Pepsi.
You won’t be able to get a super-sized soda but you can buy Newports by the carton?! Where they do that at? Oh, that’s right. They want to start in New York.
Follow Stephanie Guerilus @qsteph
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With spring fast approaching, there will be many more party invites, and with that comes sneaky calories….liquor. If you haven’t heard, we consume a plethora of calories every time we drink something; from a can of soda to a glass of vodka and cranberry juice. So in the spirit of sharing, we’ve provided you your very own go-to guide for drink swaps. For example, instead of having Baileys Irish Cream which has 175 calories, why not try Sambuca with only 100 calories?
(Note: All drink swaps are provided by the cookbook, “Cook Yourself Thin”)
Maintaining a diet is extremely difficult these days, what with healthy food costing an arm and a leg and with greasy, sugary temptation at every corner. And after watching what you eat all week, it doesn’t hurt to treat yourself with something you’ve been craving every now and then. Especially when you go out to eat with friends. Your favorite slice of cheesecake or a small, or a shake every once in a blue moon shouldn’t kill you. At least, not immediately at least. But the un-reported calories could definitely be killing your waistline.
According to a study done and released in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the restaurants you’ve coveted as favorites have been trying their hardest to hide the real calorie counts of some of their most popular dishes. According to ABC News, 269 food items and 242 “unique” foods from 42 restaurants were studied. Results found that restaurants are doing the absolute most (which you probably already knew), stacking foods unnecessarily, and afterwards, concealing the caloric intake. Many in the healthcare industry who heard the results hope that studies like these will force new legislation, requiring restaurants to put the calories of their menu items on the actual menus. When this is done, people can be aware before they order of what they really are going to be needing to work off. So if you’re feeling some Applebee’s, IHOP, Cold Stone Creamery or any of the restaurants listed below, stay far FAR away from the following menu favorites:
1. Cold Stone Creamery – The PB&C Shake (peanut butter, chocolate and milk)
2. The Cheescake Factory – The Ultimate Red Velvet Cheesecake
3. The Cheesecake Factory – The Farmhouse Burger
4. Applebee’s – Provolone-Stuffed Meatballs With Fettuccine and garlic bread
5. Great Steak – Extra-Large King Fries
6. Mortons – 24 Oz. Porterhouse Steak
7. Denny’s – Fried Cheese Melt
8. IHOP – Monster Bacon ‘N Beef Cheeseburger
By the names of these meals, I know what you’re thinking: you could have predicted these were calorie killers. Well, now you have confirmation! But now that you know, do these calories scare you like they do us?