Blogging A-Z: Calories

Someone holding a card that reads calories.

Calories in and calories out. That’s the age old advice of nutritionists. It’s still the advice we’re given in the UK. It seems sensible that since a calorie is a measure of energy that goes into the body, it needs to be equal or less than energy used. But are all calories the same? This is something I’ve started to explore as part of my own weight loss journey.

We’re told to measure calories, keep fat intake low, eat five fruit and vegetable portions a day and eat a reasonable amount of protein. Preferably not hight in fat and not red meat. Carbohydrates – bread, cereal, potatoes, rice and pasta give many calories within our western diet. But these carbohydrates are often processed. Much of my recent reading points to the concept that eating too many of our daily calories through this kind of carbohydrate intake is damaging.

Eating processed food causes an insulin response in the body, and stores any excess as fat. Straight after you feel hungry again, craving more of the same. Next you try to lose weight and restrict calories, making the body think it is being put into a state of starvation. Finally the metabolism slows down to keep those calories around for longer.

This article tells us that fat is not the enemy, processed carbohydrates are. While recent (pandemic related) events have blown me a little of course, I am seeing results. I’m worrying less about fat content and more about the quality of my meat and vegetables. I’ve found that the fewer starchy carbohydrates you eat, the fewer you actually need. The cravings for sugar go away too, once you don’t eat it.

I just need to start to follow my own advice again.

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3 thoughts on “Blogging A-Z: Calories”

  1. When I dropped my weight back in 2017, I did it by counting calories. I didn’t worry overmuch about *what* I ate, because I had excellent self-control about maintaining the calorie number, and since I didn’t want to feel hungry, I ended up just naturally eating things that balanced out my diet.

    While I agree that the types of calories are important, as they all burn differently in your system, I find that – for me – it’s distracting and disheartening to have to do too much of the “Oh, was that too many carbohydrates?” questioning and “Oh dear… I don’t think I ate five servings of veggies today” types of ‘organization’.

    I’m curious to see how many people are going to come out of this pandemic a bit plumper. Calories in should be the same as calories out to *maintain* weight — but most folks are working from home (not me! I’m ‘essential’ so I’m working, but I can’t do my work from home) and/or have lost their access to gyms/parks/places-of-exercise, but are not necessarily consuming less food. Comfort eating is a big thing. So that, combined with the sedentary nature of “stay at home” orders…

    *shrug*

    It’ll be interesting.

    (And those who aren’t eating their calories may well be drinking them!)

    1. It most definitely will be interesting. Exercise has a limited effect on weight as such, but comfort eating and not exercising may well turn into a big issue. I worry as much about the effect on people’s mental health through.

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