Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Eat Less, or Eat Better. Pick One or Both
We all know how to lose weight......eat less. I know the "experts" say to eat less and exercise more, but I don't agree with the last part. Sure you have to exercise but you can't "out-snatch a doughnut", and you shouldn't "use" exercise to try to balance out those binges...but that's a different blogpost. The point of this blogpost is that your current bodyweight is supported by the amount of calories you eat. It's not a mystery. To lower the weight of your body you need to change the amount of calories you are eating. You need to eat less, but how about different? Can you eat more "better" foods and still lose weight?
Are the calories in a bowl of oatmeal better than the calories in a bagel? Are the calories in a bagel better than the calories in a cupcake? Nutritionally some foods are "better" than others, of course.
"Better" more nutritious foods are usually lower in calories so it stands to reason that you can, in fact, eat more of them.....But at the end of the day it's calories in, calories out. Pure science. You can still overeat "better" foods and not lose bodyweight.
You would think that I would be used to the amounts, and the kinds of foods that are so readily available, but everyday I'm amazed at the abundance. You can't drive 1 mile without passing a dozen markets, bakeries, fast food, ice cream/frozen yogurt places. You can't go into a market without being assaulted by shelves of candy or seasonal treats the moment you step in the door or stand next to the cashier. And to be honest, I'm tempted, practically everyday, to buy and eat things I would never normally even think about if they weren't everywhere, God forbid they go "on sale".
All I can say is that it's a good thing I always have "better" food at home, and 99% of the time it's ready for me to just come home and serve it up....coming home to get it is the key! If I'm going to be away from home for an extended period I pack some snacks with me, a piece of fruit, some nuts, lately a couple of slices of meatloaf, but sometimes I let myself be away from home longer than I planned thinking I can wait.....but when you get hungry......
It would be so easy to buy something. (I actually had to quit practicing at one particular yoga studio because it was next to a Subway and the smell of fresh bread at noontime was way too
distracting.) It's rare that I cave in, but I do find myself seriously debating it in my head. If I didn't have good food at home I'm not sure I could resist to be honest. That's why it doesn't surprise me that most people don't. Most people don't give themselves the option of better food.
Calories add up fast and if given the choice of 1/2 cup Hagen Daaz to 2 c yogurt with a tablespoon of brown sugar, I'd chose the yogurt. (Of course I could never eat only 1/2 ice cream...that's just impossible.....) Most often I choose more nutritious foods that are less calorie dense, but lately I haven't been motivated to eat less calories overall. So in the mean time I'll keep eating well and when I can eat less I will.
You can't fool yourself into thinking you can overeat just because a food or meal is "healthy". Take a salad for instance....rule of thumb.....measure out the salad dressing first (up to 200-250 cal), then the protein (3-4 oz = 150-200 cal) and add as many veggies as you can while keeping the flavor of the salad enjoyable. Once you start to add more dressing...well....you are overeating! But a larger salad is way "better" than a cheeseburger and fries (around 600 cal), especially if you don't make either of them yourself.
Eat less when you can, if you want to weigh less. Know the calorie content of the foods you eat to make educated decisions, whether you are eating a bowl of oats or a cupcake. Extra bodyweight doesn't "just happen".