As you may know, I am one of those people who count calories on everything I eat. However, it’s not just the calories I am concerned with. It’s the entire nutritional value of foods in combination to the calories. Don’t assume that being under your caloric intake for the day is the only thing you need to concern yourself with.
Beyond the Simple Calories
Most of what you eat will have a measure of calories. Even multi-vitamins may have at least five or more per serving. If you use apps like MyFitnessPal, you can get a handle on how many of these you’re consuming as well as the nutritional benefits of the food itself.
It’s Not Just How Much You Eat
Yesterday, I was more than 300 calories in the green by the time I went to sleep. This is based on a 1700 calorie diet to lose weight. Of course this gets adjusted with the amount of physical activity I do. Although I met my goal for calories, I consumed 346 grams over my limit for sodium. This was due to the few slices of pizza I had.
Balance is the Key
You can eat a box of cupcakes throughout the day and stay under your caloric goal. Unfortunately, the other bad things in the food would put you way over your limits. Sugars, fats, cholesterol, carbs and other processed components could quickly begin to make you feel terrible. You need to find a good balance if you want to contribute to good fitness.
Today, I had an AM California Crunch Wrap from Taco Bell. Even though it gave me 90% of my vitamin C for the day, it’ll also cost me 1400mg of sodium – 58% of my limit. It’s also running me 630 calories. If I want to drop my blood pressure, which is in hypertension most of the time, I need to be mindful of how much sodium I eat. This means I’ll be looking at lighter foods tonight – if I want to meet my daily goals. On a side note, I think the California breakfast wraps are not all that bad. Then again, I have an affinity for Taco Bell.
Keeping An Eye On Nutrition
I am a firm believer in being able to lose weight while still enjoying the foods you love. I’ve done it, and I will do it again. The trick is to make sure you’re paying attention to the other components in the foods you eat. This is why I record everything in MyFitnessPal.
Don’t Cheat Yourself
When recording food in an app, include everything you eat. You may not want to see the results of your actions, but you’re only cheating yourself if you don’t put in what you’ve consumed. It may be motivational for you to see how many calories in the red you are or how much sodium you actually consume in a day. I know it did for me. I see those numbers go red and start freaking out. One day, I walked for a few miles just so I could burn of the pizza I ate.
Don’t simply count calories when deciding what you’re going to eat today. Take into consideration the health-value of foods and adjust your plan accordingly. It takes a bit of time to find that perfect combination of beneficial foods, but I believe everyone can do it.