I know that nutrition blogs have been done to death. But, here is my spin on it. Along with our TotalWave Fitness Machine ( www.TotalWaveFitness.com ), we believe in the whole body experience. However, the same mundane experience is not our way. We like to shake things up and challenge the status quo. So the title is not 100% accurate, you believe you are counting the calories correctly, but, there are reasons you are probably not capturing them all.
Recently, I have been blogging about hyper-calorie counting, which was derived from a post about 11 reasons you are not losing weight. The post simply said you are eating more calories then you believe. I asked how, do you get over this hump without pouring over it. The simple answer was adding calories to what you believe you are eating or hyper-calorie counting. For those who have not heard this expression, it is simply over counting calories stated on labels of food products.
Simple rules, if you eat in the following quantities:
less than 200 add another 50 calories
less than 600 add another 100 calories
between 600 and 800 add 200 calories
avoid anything above 800 calories as there is little to no benefit and the diminished rate of return is in effect (such as a bowl of good ice cream as opposed to a bowl of really great ice cream, the difference is negligible).
The reasoning behind this is, that often posted calories do not include, veggies, condiments, seasonings, and sauces. So a 4 oz steak starts at 400calories, but by the time it's ready to eat it may be 500. So now you are compensating. Fast food places are notorious for this as Sandwich places say condiments are extra, along with veggies and so on.
Additionally, if you use a site that gives you calories, they rarely calculate sauces into the equation. What's more, is that different sites publish different stats. The post where I derived the hyper-calorie counting concept, actually stated that we simply underestimate the number of calories and this is in large part due to inconsistent results found in print. My recommendation is to go with the highest estimate, which allows you to over count opposed to undercounting.
One of the keys here is minding your portions, equivalent to calories. You cannot eat a bowl of ice cream and call it one portion. Usually, a portion is printed on the label. With fruits and veggies it is usually a cup, but, if you don't know look it up. If you must eat out, do so from a place that has published data on calories and carbs. A good rule of thumb is to limit those carbs, such as grains and such. While it is next to impossible not to consume carbs you can be conscious of it. But, if you are sticking to a diet with a known calorie limit, counting carbs is rarely an issue if you eat grains sparingly (bread and pasta are huge ones), but two to three times a week you should be Okay, minding portion sizes.
Most prefab diets stick to these rules. However, you do not need those pre-packaged diets (with exception to convenience) if you set your own limits. Additionally, most of those diets lack variety, taste and leave you craving. Newer diets on the market, have recently started adding more flavor. However, if you cook with fresh garlic, cilantro, lemon, ginger, turmeric, you are getting great flavor while adding healthy herbs to your system (anti-inflammatories and other). Rarely do you need salts, msg, and other ingredients!
We are not really talking about carrots. However, do keep in mind it is hard to count what is in a carrot. The density and size very largely. The same can be said for any fruit or vegetable. This is why they are measured in cups and not by quantity (a cup is 8 ounces, in case you were thinking of just filling a cup).
Along with calorie counting, keeping the eye on the ball, we need to keep to portion sizes. While most fruits and
vegetables are not going to make you gain a lot of weight, they can if you eat too much. This is just simply a law of intake. I hear friends say all the time you can eat as much as you want. My stance on this and I always put it at the end of their statement is within reason.
Don't believe the hype, all food, has calories and all food counts towards your daily allowance. Of course eating fruits and vegetables is far healthier for you then taking in empty carbs and calorie producing fats. Additionally, it might take a lot of fruits and vegetables to hit your daily target of calories. However, keep in mind our body does need some fats as well and varying your intake on these is necessary. Eating leaner meats over highly saturated ones is a best practice.
Does this mean you need to eliminate all high-fat foods? Not at all, in fact, there is a benefit to eating meat. Our bodies require 10 times the amount of fruits and vegetables to equal the same vitamins and nutrients that we get from meats.
"Our bodies require 10 times the amount of fruits and vegetables to equal the same vitamins and nutrients that we get from meats."
Why is that? Well, the animal has already processed the food to a point where the body can readily absorb the nutrients (not conversion necessary). Simple right? In theory, but, there is a lot more that happens. For argument's sake lets keep it simple. So one 4 oz steak has the vitamins and minerals of an entire bag of carrots if we have to break it down and digest it into usable nutrients.
Additionally, meats have a ton or retinoids (already converted from plants and ready for introduction into your system), which is a precursor to collagen ( http://www.ocregister.com/2008/06/24/researchers-guide-to-retinoids-for-young-looking-skin/ ) . Collagen is what give your skin the (largest organ in your body) elasticity. It is also what gives us the ability to fight off harmful elements, allowing us to look youthful.
Retinoid is something to keep in mind. There is a downside to fatty meats, which is saturated fat (like we haven't heard that before). You should cut as much fat away as possible as most of that fat is not the good fats. An alternative to beef and the bad fats is fish. They tend to have far and away pound for pound good fats. Such as omega fat acids (more from Web MD http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/features/low-cholesterol-diet-fatty-fish#1 ) and far less saturated fats (be careful as some are not as good as others) which have essential building blocks that your body needs to thrive.
To ensure proper diet it does not really take a lot, just find your simple calcs. A little calc I use (and it's free) is; http://www.calculator.net/calorie-calculator.html, it calcs my age, gender, height, and weight. This little app then tells me the number of calories I need to maintain my weight, loose or gain. This allows me to know my target. If you employ hyper-calorie counting, it will ensure that you stay on target. If you are endeavoring to gain weight, you could do the opposite to ensure you eat enough.
Dieting can be as easy as you want it to be or could be very complex. However, if you have a firm base to accomplish your goals, you are more than half way there. I am sure you have heard that planning is 70 percent of a project. Well, health can be viewed the same way and if your diet properly, you can find yourself at an optimal weight which leads to overall health.