When people are looking to lose weight - the first thing they start watching out for is calories. However, what most people don’t realize is that everyone has a different need in calories. Our caloric needs may also change with time and may not always be precise. This is the reason I rather encourage you to listen to your body. I will go into detail why I chose to not count my calories.
Your Daily Caloric Needs
Your caloric need depends on your activity level, the type of work you do. Your weight, height and age are also all factors determining your daily caloric needs. I’m mentioning this because, often, most people strive for a lower caloric intake than what their bodies actually need to lose weight. This can mean; nutrient deficiencies and possibly provoking more serious health issues and future weight gain/obesity.
Calories aren’t Specific
Basically, what this means is that even after chemically testing and analyzing a product it is almost impossible to determine the exact amount of calories. Keep in mind that when you are looking at a label, that there may not be that exact amount of calories.
Essential Nutrients vs Calories
Let's look deep into what calories are. A calorie is a source of energy that our body utilizes to make our system function properly. Calories come with most food sources. These foods may contain some protein, carbs,or fat, or maybe all of the above. All of which calories derive from.
Balancing out these three nutrient are essential to achieve a healthy nutritional lifestyle. Again, everyone has different needs for these things. For example if you’re very active you may need a bit more protein and carbs intake to fuel your body than someone who is sedentary.
Quality vs Quantity
An item that is very low in calories does not mean that it is healthy for you. Often, these low calorie products have lots of additives to make them tasty. These additives aren’t always the best for your body and its functions. For example, if your brain believes you are eating sugar (the sensation when we consume aspartame), your cravings for sweet won’t necessarily go away. I think of it as kind of putting a band-aid on the problem and not really resolving it. Some manufacturers will also use certain selling features by saying that they're products are low fat, but have lots of sugar or vice versa.
On the other hand, there are very high caloric foods, that can be also very healthy. For example, nuts and seeds - that are very calorie dense as they are a filled with good fats. These foods are full of fibre, vitamins and healthy fats (omega 6, omega 3’s). Keep in mind that even though there is more calories in these, they are providing you with essential nutrients.
Obsessing Over Tracking Calories
I have seen a lot of people struggling to get back in a normal healthy routine after tracking their calorie intake. Don’t get me wrong, I think that tracking your food can be a great educational tool - but there's definitely a time and place for it. It’s easy to get caught into a cycle of counting every little thing you put into your body - which can be stressful and lead to other things, like eating disorders or binging.
I definitely recommend mindfully eating over tracking your food. Achieving a healthy lifestyle can be done mindfully, without any of the extra restrictions or the stress of tracking your food.
Personally, I don’t think looking at calories is worth too much of your time. I am hoping this blog helped you gain a clearer view on calories. There are great tools, other than tracking your every move, to maintain a healthy balance. A good way to start, would be to listen to your body.
There are great educational tools, like nutrition labels, that can help guide us to make better health decisions. That being said, stay tuned for my next nutrition blog. I will be doing a detailed review of these!!!
Thanks for coming to visit once again my lovelies.
Until next time,