A Week of Journaling: Exploring Calories
Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Hello Fellow Sparkers!
Today, I am looking into calories. What do they mean? How do they define our success? When should they matter? When shouldn't they matter?
First, I'm going to start with eating. Eating is something we must do to survive. Which is why those of us with "food issues" have it the most difficult (in my opinion) to make changes. A couple reasons for this...
1. We develop our food habits from birth. If we were comforted with food as a child, we tend to use food for comfort as an adult as well.
2. Eating is personal. Again, good habits developed when you were growing up. What kind of meals were prepared in your house? Did you eat fresh fruit and vegetables? Was there an abundance of processed snacks readily available?
So, when we begin our journeys, we know we have to eat less. This usually leads to phase one... calorie reduction. In the calorie reduction phase, we still allow ourselves some of those comfort foods, as long as we stay within calorie range. But sometimes, this leaves us still hungry? Ever promise yourself some fast food for lunch and say "That's all my calories for the day, so I'll just not eat until tomorrow." Bad bargain. The rest of the night, you're probably hungry.
After the calorie reduction phase, we usually move into the calorie dense vs. nutrient dense phase. Here's where we see, those healthy swaps... like spinach instead of mashed potatoes... choosing between a slice of bread or the gravy... eating an apple instead of Cheetos... makes us fuller. In this phase, we start to rely less on calorie counting, and more on nutrient content of what we are eating.
So... back to my original questions...
What are calories?
Calories are just the energy it takes to burn the food off that we eat.
How do calories define our success?
Calories define our success, not only by how much we eat, but also by WHAT we eat. Nutrient dense food is ALWAYS the better choice. (ie. toast for breakfast or oatmeal? For me, since white bread is usually all that's available to me, oatmeal is the better choice... but the plain kind with some nuts and fruit).
When should calories matter?
Daily, if you're trying to lose. However, if you have an occasional treat, there's nothing wrong with that.
When shouldn't calories matter?
When you aren't losing or maintaining weight I guess.... trick question... LOL... but back to previous answer, cake on your birthday is okay, but I'd still suggest tracking anyway.
Just my two cents.