Tag Archives: calories

Q and A: Calories In Vs. Calories Out

9 Mar
My perfect portion plate.

My perfect portion plate.

“Is eating healthy truly as simple as calories in verses calories out?” No… and a smidgen yes. Sometimes as a health coach, I feel that I’m unintentionally giving a Glomar response to nutritional questions, a “we can neither confirm nor deny” answer. The simple truth is that nothing is black or white, and we tend to ask questions that lead to a response that will either 1) justify our old habits or 2) justify fad habits. However, I also think that these questions are incredibly valid. So, once per month we’re going to dive into the tasty, thick and sometimes heated guacamole waters of nutritional enigmas. Shall we?

 

Calories In Vs. Calories Out

The “smidgen yes” part is easy to answer. If we eat too much in relation to our body’s needs (size, metabolism, etc.) and our activity level, then of course we will gain weight. This line is different for everyone, but your body is a smarty-pants and will tell you whether you’ve eaten too much or too little (or if the ratio of protein to fat to carbohydrates isn’t right). Feel bloated, stuffed, sick or aren’t hungry for the next 5 hours? Too much. Feel hungry or light-headed 30 minutes after eating? Too little.

 

The reason why I like to emphasize visual portion sizes and mind-body awareness over counting calories is because I think counting calories (or measuring food) for life isn’t realistic and can make one neurotic (hmm… does my sudden switch to third person signify that I’m speaking from personal experience?), that listening to our body’s signals develops a much healthier relationship to food and that calories do not differentiate quality of food. Eating 100 calories of almonds compared to a 100-calorie snack pack of mini-chocolate chip cookies is like comparing Stevie Wonder to a beta fish trying to play the banjo. Sure, it’s great at first, but then you realize how freakishly genetically altered it is and that you have a massive headache because of how awful it sounds. Stevie Wonder on the other hand? Never awful, always makes you feel satisfied, energized and wanting the best quality of music… err, food. What are we talking about?

 

Since our nutritional needs are as unique as our body, it makes sense to use our body as a portion tool. A healthy plate of food, generally speaking, will contain your unique palm size portion of protein (whether vegetarian or meat options), 2 fist size portions of vegetables and a thumblength of fat (including the fat in your protein; this one is a bit trickier so to put it in perspective: ¼ to ½ avocado, 6-10 pecans on your roasted Brussels’ Sprouts or 2 tsp of olive oil based dressing on your salad).

 

Put It Into Action

1. Listen to your body and write notes on how you feel (bloated, still hungry, stuffed, etc.) after eating.

2. Start serving your portions in relation to your body (fist and handful). Let’s start with dinner. Include a source of protein, vegetables and fat.

 

3. Leave a comment and let me know how it’s going.

 

To develop more behaviors for the health you deserve, contact me at 402-819-8970 or stephsbell@yahoo.com.

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GratitudiFULL: How To Dish A Big Ole’ Plate of Gratefulness this Thanksgiving

4 Nov
A perfect, healthful Thanksgiving dessert

A perfect, healthful Thanksgiving dessert (photo courtesy of Cooking Light)

Elastic-band wearers unite! It’s time to trade in the drawstrings for some fancy pants on this day of thanks. There are plenty of ways you can enjoy all of your favorites at Thanksgiving and still show your body (and everyone you love) gratitude.

1. Show Your Gratitude. Shout it out loud or jot it in a journal–just state all of the amazing things and people in your life that make you grateful each and every day. You might even get your whole family or your friends involved and state what you are thankful for at dinner every night. Respecting your body through exercise and healthy whole food is one of the best ways to show yourself AND your loved ones gratitude.

2. Save Yourself (not your calories)! The typical Thanksgiving meal is 2,000 calories—an entire day’s worth of calories! Most people decide they will starve themselves and “save” their calories for that one meal. The minute we start fasting, our metabolism slows down because it thinks a famine has hit. You are much better off eating breakfast, snacking every 3-4 hours and being mindful at the actual Thanksgiving meal. Start the day with an egg and veggie scramble and snack on fresh vegetables and almonds.

3. Dish Up Mindfulness. When stacking your plate with all that goodness, ask yourself, “Would I be hungry enough to eat this again in 3 hours?” If the answer is no, put some food back. If the answer is yes–hooray! You could also grab a normal-sized dinner plate and fill it like so…

  • Turkey: 1/3 of plate. Go easy on the gravy train.
  • Vegetables: 1/3-1/2 of your plate. Opt for veggies not covered in cheese or sauces.
  • Favorites: 1/4 to 1/3 of your plate can be reserved for stuffing, mashed potatoes, yams, etc.

Want seconds? Remember dessert is still on the horizon… and Thanksgiving leftovers are oh-so-tasty!

4. Divide and Conquer. Our bodies can only utilize so many calories at once, which means the rest go to fat storage. Spread out all of this good lovin’ by taking a walk or playing yard games between your meal and dessert, waiting at least another hour before eating again. If weather doesn’t permit, engage the whole family in some Wii fitness, Twister, a dance contest or help scrub the dishes.

5. Double Trouble. If you have two (or more) Thanksgiving dinners to attend, alternate your favorites. (This is especially true if you are celebrating Hanukkah which lands on the same day as Thanksgiving this year.) In other words, enjoy Grandma Sally’s stuffing since she makes the best, but skip it at Aunt Edna’s where the pumpkin pie is divine.

6. Re-Invent the Menu. Replace sugar with stevia, coconut palm sugar or honey. Make crustless pumpkin pie in individual ramekins. Add in steamed cauliflower into the mashed potatoes. Keep vegetables sauce and cheese-free. Be creative and have fun!

7. Hydrate. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially if you are partaking in adult beverages or eating salty foods. Water also stimulates digestion and the release of toxins, so set a goal to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water each day—not just on holidays.

8. Get Physical (Olivia Newton-John style). Exercise helps reduce stress and increase energy. Squeeze activity into your day (and every day) as often as possible—rise early to lift weights, clean dishes between meals and suggest a family walk or activity before and after the feast (see #4).

Wishing you a lovely Thanksgiving that warms your tummy and soul!

~Steph