It’s Fat Tuesday and the topic is calories. I read a ton of articles in one week that all had to do with counting calories, they said that exercise/eating right may not really matter if you are still consuming more calories than you are using. Then right after that, I read an article that said even scientists have a hard time knowing how many calories are in foods, most “calorie counters” may not even be accurate, how your body uses certain calories may differ depending on the food and that if you eat too little calories, your body may hang onto more fat than it needs to because it thinks you are starving. So do you count calories or do you not count calories? I feel that there are great arguments on both sides and have come to my own conclusion – I do not want to count calories, obsess over calories or restrict calories; however, I do want to be aware of calories and think that is important.
I used 5 different calorie counters online to see how many calories I should consume per day in order to lose weight (one pound per week) and the results are 1200, 1214, 1252, 1314, 1383 – or on average 1272. That could be broken down to approximately 3 meals at just over 400 calories each or 3 meals at 350 calories each plus 2 snacks of 100 calories. I looked up a lot of the foods I regularly eat just to get an idea of where they land. I’m not counting the calories per meal or per day or even per week, but I am aware of them.
When I choose snacks or foods at the grocery store I can see how many calories there are per serving and can use this information to get an idea of whether there might be a better snack choice available that might give me more nutrients for the same number of calories (many websites have the calorie content for many fruits and veggies). Many restaurants now show how many calories per item but I do not use this information to restrict myself from eating something I really want – but I might use it so that I can choose a healthier option or so that I might choose to have water with the meal instead of soda, or a side of fruit instead of fries. I also know there are many healthy, nutritious foods that are a little higher in calories and I’m okay with that – I eat walnuts with my yogurt for breakfast every morning – walnuts are high in calories but they have so many good nutrients that I find they are worth it. For me, it’s more about awareness and making good choices.