Welcome or welcome back!
I apologize for not posting for the last couple of weeks. With Thanksgiving and the holidays approaching, I put all of my focus into getting my work done so I would have less work on my week off. I still have a lot of stuff to do but not as much as it could have been. I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving if you live in the United States or a wonderful week if you don’t. I know I did! It’s always great to be able to eat good food and spend some quality time with my family.
This week we are going to talk about the concept of counting calories. The pros and cons of counting calories.
On Monday, November 19, I had the opportunity to go watch the taping of James Corden on the Late Late Show as an audience member and even got on TV. Catch it on Youtube from the Q and A on Tuesday, November 20th’s show. I don’t do any talking but you can get a good look at my face. I also got to go The Voice on Tuesday November 20 but you can’t see me very well.
But while on I was on my adventure to CBS studios, my friends and I stopped at the Starbucks at the Grove in Los Angeles to get a couple of drinks before the taping. While I was in line, I couldn’t help but notice the calorie count on all of the foods they sell. 500 calories for a cookie??? Sounds astounding but it’s true. The people behind me mentioned this as well and said that they liked how restaurants post how many calories because it lets them eat healthier. I believed this as well until a few months ago when I started doing even more research into it.
While basing foods on calories and counting calories can have its benefits, it can also have its drawbacks. Counting calories really helps put into perspective how many calories you eat in a day and how much food goes into one serving versus how much you are actually eating. I know I’m not the only one who puts more than ¾ of a cup of cereal into my bowl when I’m eating cereal or a 1/2 a cup of ice cream (but they are bumping that up to 2/3 of a cup). So you are really eating more calories than you think. Yes, I’m calling everyone out.
Now onto the drawbacks because there are a lot more drawbacks to counting calories than benefits in my opinion. Counting calories can be a very educational process but when someone starts to get too focused on the calorie part of food, they lose the joy of eating in general. I can say that I was and still am like this because counting calories becomes a habit and it’s really hard to break. The effects of it can sometimes be seen at home, but for me at least, I see the effects the most when I’m out at a restaurant or in the cafeteria at school simply because the calories are posted. I see something that looks good and then look at the calories and then I rethink my decision. 1000 calories for a breakfast burrito or for a pasta dish with a special sauce? Count me out on that one. But if the calories had not been posted, I may have ordered that dish or something equally as unhealthy. So what’s the point in even putting them on there?
The question is, when is it a time to look at the calories and when is it a time to ignore them? To be honest, I can’t really tell you. From personal experience, counting calories had a terrible effect on my body because I got so transfixed on the calories and not the quality of the foods. Getting to that point is where some can get in trouble. I cut my calories by about half of what it should be. And believe me, I started feeling the signals from my body telling me I needed to adjust my diet and I needed to eat more. I was tired all the time and even though I was doing weights every week, my body did not feel any stronger. My body was breaking down from a lack of nutrients and an increased amount of exercise from when I played water polo. And it extended after the season ended because I had made it a habit to eat significantly less. My biggest piece of advice would be to keep counting the calories to prevent overeating (especially if you consume liquid calories) but instead of looking at the calorie count of the food you’re eating, look at the nutritional value. In a country where heart disease is the number one killer in the United States, people should really be looking at the amount of sodium in their food and being sure to balance it with potassium. You should be having about 3 times as much potassium as you are having sodium.
While many say the amount of sodium should be around 2300 mg a day, the American Heart Association recommends 1500 mg or less a day due to Americans’ increased risk for heart disease. 2300 is a recommendation for the international population where some countries need more sodium than others.
But the truth is, if it is a food that you absolutely love or it’s days like Thanksgiving or Christmas or just a day of celebration, forget about the calories and enjoy yourself. I know I did this last week with the mashed potatoes, monkey bread, pumpkin pie, pudding dessert, and other baked goodies my mom made while I was home. Or on the rare occasion that I go to BJ’s. I absolutely love their pazookies. $3 on Tuesdays woot, woot!
Eat what you want and move on from it, don’t dwell on it or beat yourself up. Live your life to the fullest and don’t let one meal with a lot of calories spoil the fun.
That’s all for this week! See you next week (hopefully)!