You’ve heard that before, right? Losing weight is literally just about calories in vs. calories out. You burn 3500 calories more than you take in and you’ll lose a pound. Well, that’s true. But. Not so fast on the whole “a calorie is a calorie” thing.
It’s true there’s been people to experiment with this. There’s that guy who lost weight by eating twinkies only. He kept his total calories low enough to where he still lost weight. So yes, in the short term, this can work. If that’s all you’re looking to do is lose weight short term.
But if you’re like most of us – and you’d like to lose some weight, or lose some fat, or tone up, or get healthy, or get fit…and all those wonderful things…and you’re not looking for a short term fix…then here’s what you need to know.
A calorie is not just a calorie.
Here’s the deal. You still will want to keep your calories in check. You should figure out how many you should be eating, and shoot for it. But – 100 calories of a twinkie is NOT the same as 100 calories of greek yogurt. Or 100 calories of whole grain crackers. Or 100 calories of fruit. You get the idea.
* Sugar, artificial colors, preservatives, etc slow your metabolism down, are processed like JUNK (which they are) and give you no nutrtition and no benefits
* Nutrients like protein and fiber that are found in fruits, veggies, whole grains are actually utilized by your body, help to raise your metabolism, keep you fuller, and on and on.
So if I ate a 100% whole grain bagel that was 300 calories, I would benefit from the fiber that it has that the 300 calorie white (or asiago cheese, or sesame, or ‘wheat’ that isnt’ 100%) bagel does not. The fiber will keep me fuller, and helps move food through my system, helps prevent diabetes and heart disease and helps aid in a healthy weight (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fiber/NU00033)
So even though both bagels are 300 calories, it is much more beneficial to choose the whole wheat one. (just make sure you don’t choose breads that say ‘wheat’. Those are 100% whole wheat!)
I hope that helps clear up the myth that ‘a calorie is a calorie’. While it’s literally true…it definitely isn’t a healthy way to look at your diet.
Eating in an overall healthy way, looking for nutrients and whole foods, is a much more healthy and sustainable way of life. Getting healthy isn’t about a quick fix, it’s about a lifestyle change and eating for fuel.