Crushing The Calorie Factor (In The Nicest Possible Way)

Get The Goods On Calorie Crunching

Do you love to eat? I do. I love food, I love bread, I love trying everything interesting on the potluck table, and then going back to graze after the meal.

Though this type of behavior makes my taste buds happy, it’s a really good way to put on weight in a hurry, even if you make a point of working out on a regular basis like we do at Yoga Boot Camp.

Exercise is crucial for your health, of course. I know you know that. But while being strong and fit effects how many calories you burn, the other side of the coin is looking at how many calories you’re taking in.

These three tips can help you get a handle on your calorie consumption in a way that doesn’t stress you out or make you feel deprived of the joy of food.

Tip 1) Count ’em, but don’t obsess.

Track your calories. Write them down, or, better yet, have someone else track them for you. LoseIt.com is one of many sites that help people figure out their calorie intake. Give it a shot and see if it makes a difference in how you eat and the progress you make when it comes to your personal weight goals.

If you don’t know how many calories you’re eating, it’s harder to make choices that set you up for weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight. If you’re aware of the calorie count of your food, then you’re in control.

At the same time, you don’t want to obsess over calories. That’s never fun. Instead, make them count. Eat foods that are both nutritionally sound and deliciously satisfying. Then track what you’re eating so there’s no need to wonder – you already know.

Tip 2) Hydration is your friend.

Often we think we’re hungry when our bodies are actually asking for water. Your metabolism – the way calories are turned into energy – functions well when hydrated, and terribly when you’re drinking enough water. Same with every other system in your body. If you don’t have enough pure water each day to stay well hydrated, your health suffers and any weight loss goals will be far harder to acheive.

Try this: pour yourself a litre of water. I drink out of glass mason jars, but most water bottles hold a litre. Make a deal with yourself shortly after each meal that you won’t have your next meal before you drink that litre of water.

Now, you don’t want to chug the water after eating – it’s hard for your stomach to digest food well if it’s mixed in with a bunch of liquid (unless we’re talking about a shake, which is different.) So give that solid food some time to digest, only taking little sips of water as you need them.

But as you start to feel a little hungry, then start drinking more water at a time until you’ve had what you poured yourself over the course of a couple of hours. If you wait longer in between meals and tend to snack less, drink more water.

Tip 3) Super shakes to the rescue!

Why do shakes rock? Because they can satisfy your hunger, provide important nutrients, and – if you find the good ones and use recipes – taste frickin’ amazing!

Having a protein shake after you work out is an excellent way to get easily absorbable nutrients into your blood stream and muscles right away, but shakes can go beyond that, and can be something you actually look forward to having.

Personally, I replace two of my meals with shakes. This works really well for me because it ensures I get enough protein, keeps my blood sugar levels healthy, and gives me a tasty treat with super low calories. Given my tendency to eat frequently, shakes help me keep my calorie count under control.

The shake mix I use is part of a 90 day challenge that is nutritionally awesome and logistically brilliant.

Why? Well, the shakes themselves are formulated to enhance your health and make your taste buds happy, while the 90 day program keeps you motivated and helps you stick to a plan so you can achieve your personal goals.

Want to know more? Check out the 90 Day Challenge.

So how do shakes come to the rescue?

Let’s look at two of my favorite shakes and compare them to similar tasting foods.

Shake number 1: Chocolate Banana.

This shake tastes like chocolate ice cream. For real. I use a frozen banana with a scoop of Amazing Grass Chocolate Green Superfood powder (no, it’s not like the greens powder that you have to hold your nose to get down – this is really tasty stuff). When people try this one their eyes light up because it tastes like chocolate ice cream.

However, if you actually ate a cup of chocolate ice cream, you’d be looking at about 300 calories, 14 grams of fat, 2 grams fiber, and 6 grams of protein. That’s only 1 cup. Can you eat just one cup of ice cream and stop? Personally, I’d be lucky to stop halfway through a pint. And I probably wouldn’t feel all that great afterwards either, while this shake actually gives me a healthy energy boost.

How does my Chocolate Banana shake measure up?

Banana: 105 cal, 0 fat, 3 g fiber, 1 g protein
Chocolate Superfood: 30 cal, 1 g fat, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein
Visalus Shake: 90 cal, 1 g fat, 5 g fiber, 12 g protein
Total: 225 cal, 2 g fat, 10 g fiber, 15 g protein

Shake number 2: Apple Pie.

Yep, it tastes like apple pie WITH ice cream. All you do is add unsweetened apple sauce and a bit of cinnamon to the shake, and you get your apple pie fix without the heavy tummy. One slice of apple pie is approximately 411 calories and 19 grams of fat, with no fiber and only 4 grams of protein. And that’s without the ice cream!

And how does the Apple Pie shake look when you break it down?

Only 120 cal, 1 g fat, 6 g fiber, and 12 g protein.

And yes, it really does taste like apple pie a la mode.

Bonus Tip – Find different ways to use some of your favorite foods that don’t include a huge calorie guilt factor.

For example, I love the local salsa from Fresh is Best, but 12 of their chips is 200 calories!

There’s very little likelihood of me limiting myself to 12 chips, and even if I did, 200 cal seems a bit much for barely a snack considering I can have a super tasty shake that satisfies my hunger for less than that.

But I don’t want to give up the salsa! What do I do?

Put it on a veggie burger, salad, eggs, rice and beans or any number of other meals.

And if I’m out at a potluck and the chips and salsa are there, maybe I’ll actually count to 12 and then STOP eating chips (this would be a good promise to make with myself before I start into them). Maybe there’s some cucumber on the potluck table I can use to get the salsa into my mouth once I’ve had my 12 chips. ☺

Bottom Line: When you get creative and cultivate awareness, counting calories doesn’t have to be akin to torture. Instead, it can be a way for you to create a more respectful relationship with food.

Because you’re aware of how your choices add up, you can choose each meal and snack to give you health and happiness, and to appease both your body and your taste buds.

Do you have tips that help you make friends with calories? Please leave a comment and share!

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Posted in Weight Loss by Katrina Ariel | 2 Comments

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