Today I wanted to talk about calories.
When I was younger, I always thought “You get like 2,000 calories a day? That sounds like a ton, I could never surpass that, so I won’t think about that ever again”. And then I later wisened up and tried one of those calorie counter apps (actually SparkPeople.com which I found to be an incredible FREE resource) and began to learn a lot. It was surprisingly easy to go over 2,000 calories a day. And someone like me with a desk job actually requires quite a bit less.
Although I see temporary calorie-counting as a beneficial way to learn more about the food you eat, there are a couple of flaws to the system. Most importantly, the apps are only able to accurately track items with barcodes, or popular menu items from fast food restaurants. It is nearly impossible to type in every item from the stir fry you just made (1/8 carrot, 1/8 zucchini….).
Also, a calorie is not a calorie. Let’s compare 100 calories of Doritos to 100 calories of almonds. The Doritos enter your body and are not really given a second glance. They go straight on through to the “junk storage units”. Almonds, on the other hand, go through an intricate digestion process, which burns calories in the process, and gives nutrients to your body. And every body digests differently, so the “net calories” in a handful of almonds can vary from person to person.
So, while calories are important to take into consideration, you should keep those “100 calorie snack packs” far away from your kitchen! When you eat real food, your body will naturally regulate your calorie consumption, so you won’t have to worry about it so much.
Let’s face it: who eats 100 calories of Doritos? That is 8 chips. If you are still transitioning to real food, try this for an afternoon snack: eat 1 Dorito, and savour the flavour for an entire minute. Then eat a raw carrot. Or two! Same colour, but this snack will actually keep you satisifed until dinner is ready.