If you know me or have ever talked to me about health and fitness you would know I don’t believe in calories. For those of you who don’t know me you are probably thinking what the heck is this lady thinking! Here’s an example of why I don’t believe in calories. If I eat 100 calories of a doughnut and then I eat 100 calories of chicken are they both going to react the same in my body? The answer is NO! Even though both are 100 calories each one is going to signal different responses in my metabolism. The doughnut is going to swing my blood sugar high and then crash it low, it will fill me up faster, but then leave me starving in short period of time. Also since it’s sugary and I love sugary stuff it’s going to cause cravings for more sugar. The chicken on the other hand, is going to slowly breakdown in my stomach leaving me fuller longer and wont cause swings in my blood sugar or cause uncontrollable cravings. I can also say that because of the way I burn certain foods that the doughnut will go to my mid section and the chicken will go to my muscles to fuel them. This is why I don’t believe in the calorie model.
So if I don’t count calories or think calories matter then what do I look at? I look at macros and nutritional value. How much protein, carbs, fats, fiber, and sugar does the food have? That’s what really matters because that’s how your body is going to respond when you eat that particular food. I actually believe counting calories can lead to eating disorders. Media has led us to believe that if I exercise X amount of time I can eat this candy bar because I just burned X amount of calories. Which in theory if we spent hours upon hours exercising we could eat whatever we wanted and yet be lean and healthy. Unfortunately this isn’t true. I have also seen people get in the mindset of I ate 300 calories over what I should have today I’ll skip breakfast in the morning. People, this is NOT healthy or good for your body! The thing I have learned over the years is that when you eat the right foods believe it or not the calories will also lower. So don’t think about how many calories think about will this piece of food sustain my blood sugar, give me energy, and help me lose fat and build muscle. This is especially true when we are working out. The last thing we want to do is pull away our energy source (i.e. cut calories/food intake) when working out. When we pull away our energy source we are left hungry, tired, and cranky, but that’s for another blog 😉 Below are some examples on two different types of snacks and the label rule.
Here is a general rule of thumb on if a snack is a good choice or not
LABEL RULE! Total Carbohydrates (minus) Total Fiber (minus) Sugar Alcohols (if any, this is like stevia not actual sugar) (minus) Protein = 5 or less (negative number is best) = Good to Go!!
Carbs: 22g – Fiber: 17g – Sugar Alcohols: 2 – Protein: 21g = Total Number: -18!
This would be a great choice for a snack high in protein & fiber even though it has 180 calories.
Now here is a 100 calorie Special K snack bar.
This would NOT be a good snack to keep your energy sustained thought out the day. There is minimal protein and fiber and then 6grams of sugar. However, it has 100 calories.
It’s completely your call on if you choose to continue down the 100-calorie slope, but if you do I challenge you to try 2 days of not counting calories and counting macros and see how you feel on those days.
I generally say you need a minimum of: 100grams of protein a day
125grams of starchy carbs (this is vary from person to person)
40-50 grams of healthy fat
As always if you have questions please feel free to contact me!
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