The Calorie Myth: All Calories Are Created Equal
First and foremost: All calories are not created equal. If you were to eat 500 calories worth of snickers bars it would have a completely different affect on the body then if you were to eat 500 calories worth of veggies. When food calories are measured in a lab they are measured solely in terms of energy released but when it is put in your body there are other factors involved other then just calories/energy created. Food contains information that is read by the body and informs the body what to do as far as metabolism and hormone levels goes. These instructions include: Lose or gain weight, speed up or slow down aging process, increase or decrease cholesterol, and increase or decrease appetite. For example food that goes quickly in to the bloodstream, like refined carbohydrates, promotes weight gain, while food that enters the blood stream slowly, like whole grains, promote weight loss. What does this mean to you? This means that when you choose your food for dinner tonight choose foods that are going to promote good reactions within your body. Rather than fried chicken, go for baked or grilled, rather than white pasta with a heavy cream sauce, go for whole grain pasta with light sauce. These are all easy switches that will promote good breakdown and healthy reactions in your body rather than bad.
The Starvation Myth: Eat Less + Exercise More = weight loss
When people approach weight loss the first thing they do is cut back on calories. The problem is that sometimes it is over done and they cut back too much. There is such a thing as a happy medium when it comes to getting too much and too little calories. The body needs a minimum amount of calories just to run everyday. This number is the number necessary to provide the body with the energy it would need if the person were to just sit around and do nothing all day, this is the number you often see labeled BMR, or Basal Metabolic Rate. Most people burn more then this number everyday because most people don’t just sit around all day. When you add in exercising people end up burning more on top of their base “sitting” number. This all means that every person has a minimum number of calories that they should be eating everyday. If less then this is eaten on a regular basis the body goes in to starvation mode. This means that the body will do what it can to store as much food as possible from what it is given. It does this by slowing the metabolism down to accommodate for the low calorie intake. The best way to stop this from happening is to eat at least what the body needs to break even on it’s resting calorie rate. Then if one is exercising as well they need to add more calories to make up for the ones burned while exercising. This means finding what your BMR (that "sitting" number), there are many calculators out there that will do this for you. Once you find that number you should be trying to hit AT LEAST that much calorie intake each day. But remember that not all calories are created equal (I'll explain more about that in a later post) so this doesn't mean eating 1400 calories worth of chocolate and cookies, but eating healthy full meals with fiber filled grains, fruits, veggies, protein of your choice and A COOKIE.