Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Creating My Diet Plan Recipe - Part III (Calories vs. Calories)

OK, so I have to admit, I'm really liking writing these posts.  I've really felt a boost in my motivation level by soaking in everything that's being shared with me, and then getting the opportunity to share it with all of you.

Sally sent me a message yesterday saying that I shouldn't be giving her all the credit for coming up with this stuff...that it's information that's out there for everyone to get their hands on.  Well, just like I'd write a citation to share information I've found in a book or online or from some other source, Sally gets to be my citation.  She's the one that I'm getting my information from, and she's even passed on websites and medical articles where I can further read about the stuff.  It's good stuff!

One conversation I had with Sally was the conversation about the importance of calorie counting.  After writing my post about my 1,2,3 temptation plan I was trying, I received a few comments of concern about the effects eating the "temptation" would have on my calorie count.  I assured people that I wouldn't eat more than one temptation in a given day, and that I wouldn't allow it to put me more than 200 calories over my allotted calorie amount for the day.  I received a few complaints that the calories I ate in my temptation were worse than not eating the temptation and opting for something a lot more healthier...with the same number of calories.

I have always held on to the belief that a calorie is a calorie is a calorie.  No matter where it comes from.  Eating a candy bar with 200 calories gives me the same calories as eating a 200 calorie salad.  Sure, I'd get more bang for my buck with a 200 calorie salad... but it would do nothing to my calorie counting by opting for the 200 calorie candy bar instead.

Come to find out, I'm absolutely RIGHT!

A calorie is a calorie is a calorie.  Regardless of where it came from.  Calories are calories.  Period.  There aren't different types or "more healthy" calories.  

Calories are units of energy that the body stores and burns.  Period.  If I eat a 200 calorie candy bar, I have to work those calories off the exact same way I'd have to burn off the salad.  There's not a calorie sorting plant in my body that sorts good calories to one side and bad calories to the next.  

I received several suggestions to just count calories.  It doesn't matter what I eat, as long as I stay under my allotted amount.  Sally says that a person that's just counting calories can obtain their calories from any source.  If the allotment is 1800 calories a day, the calories can come from anywhere.  If you burn off 2000 calories a day, you're still in a deficit of 200 calories...and weight will eventually start to come off.

However, the sources of those calories (not the calories themselves) play a factor in how quickly fat is burned, how much stronger muscles get, what starts to happen to your body, etc.

But, now we get to the good part.

Just counting calories is fine, but to optimize faster weight loss and then keept it off, it isn't calories that should be the only concern but the ingredients in food that should be the concern.  

Certain foods do certain things to the body...regardless of the calorie count.

Protein helps build muscle.

Complex carbs break down slowly and supply the body with a steady flow of energy and digest a lot slower helping you feel full longer and more energetic longer.

Simple carbs send sugars straight in to the bloodstream and digest very quickly, causing quicker hunger pangs and energy crashes.

Healthy fats carry nutrients and vitamins through your body, lower cholesterol, and keep your skin soft and beautiful.

Bad fats clog up your arteries, store under the skin's surface, and cause...well....fat.

I knew this.  All of it.  

I honestly don't know anyone that insists on just counting calories and uses all of the their calories eating fried food or candy bars.  Especially since a 1800 calorie diet would only earn them maybe one meal a day.  Most people that are counting calories are doing so for health reasons, weight loss reasons, etc. and tend to opt for looking for healthier foods.

In fact, every doctor or health professional I've ever spoken to about my weight has given me the same information.  It's really one of the main reasons I don't want a food plan that eliminates anything but the simple carbs and bad fats from my diet... because the other stuff is kinda important.

My problem has always been the balance.  Choosing the right amounts of the good stuff or the right kinds of good stuff.  I end up falling right back into just relying on the counting calories thing... opting to choose calories from the "better stuff".  But, even then, I end up noticing weight gain or a plateau of weight loss.  Regardless of how much I work out.

Sally assures me that there is a formula.  There is a way to calculate what to eat and when to have the best benefits and the best chances of the food being burned quickly.

And I wasn't that surprised when she told me.  

Focus on complex carbs earlier on in the day.  Being that they release energy over a longer period of time, the best way to get the best complex carb "burnage" is to eat them early and in small doses over the earlier parts of the day.  So breakfast, morning snack and lunch should focus on the complex carbs.  That doesn't mean not eating complex carbs later in the day, just less of them.  

Protein should be eaten at least three times a day, but in small portions.  No more than 3ozs at a time (if eating three times a day).  If only two meals include a protein, opt for 4ozs each time.  

Don't eat anything but water based veggies 4 hours before bed.  That's because it takes the body about 4 hours to break down complex carbs and protein...and it has the best chance of being broke down and not storing once the body shuts down for sleep.

Now that sounds pretty simple, right?  Yeah.  No.

Again, information I've been given before.  I've been given meal plans and ratios and formulas to try.  I won't deny that I have had success doing it that way.  And it works if I was to just do that... but there's more.  Oh, so much more!

There are certain foods and grains and veggies that are best to eat when trying to lose a large amount of weight and ones that should be avoided until later in the weight loss process.  All healthy by definition, but doing different things to the body that can either speed up weight loss or slow it down.  Depending on activity level, body structure, and health related issues...there are foods that fall in to the "healthy" category that I still need to stay away from until I've gotten closer to my goal weight.

Another argument I just LOVE to have with people is the "Fat will turn in to muscle" statement.  Urm, no it won't.  Fat does NOT turn in to muscle.  Fat AROUND the muscle decreases.  Muscles get bigger and stronger.  But, not a single ounce of the fat stored in my body will ever magically turn in to muscle and help me sport a Arnie type physique.  

There are, however, foods that help break the fats down that are stored around the muscle, and foods that will optimize muscle growth and stability.  

Now, that I was interested in hearing about.  

But, you know what's coming next...right?

Yep...another cliffhanger.  

Tomorrow, I will discuss what foods are best for someone that wants to break down fat and build up muscle.  

You know, again, a lot of this stuff I already knew...and it's stuff a lot of weight loss bloggers already know.. but it's still fun and educational to hear it again, or find out a few things here and there I didn't know.  So, if you're sitting there wondering why on earth I'm writing this stuff... because it's basically plastered on every weight loss website out there...there's stuff in here that I didn't know, and maybe something someone else doesn't.

Plus, I like writing about this stuff... because it's motivating me.  That's the main point.  I feel empowered and charged to put it all to the test, experiment, find something that works for once.  And, I just have this feeling in my blood that I'm on to something.  Even if it appears to be stuff I've said before or done before.  The key is in here, somewhere.  And I'm just unlocking the door to the possibilities.

OK, Till Next Time!

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  1. I like the last parts of your post, and agree with a lot of it. But it seems you negate your statement that a calorie is a calorie, no matter what? Because most of what you said shows that depending on where those calories come from, your body will react different? (I also haven't had my coffee yet this morning, so I might just be having reading comprehension issues)

    Anyway - I'll leave you with this anecdote from my life: when I eat a pretty standard, average, healthy diet, I can eat about 1700 calories to maintain my weight. When I am eating clean and paleo, I can eat 2000 calories to maintain my weight. It leads me to believe that WHAT calories you eat really matters!

    1. You're right. My point was that a calorie is a calorie, but counting calories alone won't necessarily lead to weight loss. I've been told time and time again that I can eat whatever I want as long as I stay at a certain calorie range. I am trying to make the point that choosing the best foods is the better approach. :)


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