“THAT’S A LOT OF CALORIES!”, how many times have you found yourself freaking out internally as you read the nutrition label of one of your favorite indulging foods (ahem, cocoa swirl cookies butter from Trader Joe’s :P). Four years ago, I first started to become really conscious of what I eat after the freshmen 15, or more like 25, hit me hard in my very beginning year of college. People always told me I could eat whatever I want, but it took me a while to realize the truth is not flatly that easy and that there’s a lot more to look into when it comes to your daily diet habit besides just your calories consumption. Many of you are probably no stranger to that calories counting, suppressing, dieting then binge eating cycle. It is so depressing and dangerous. If I had learned anything from my journey of changing my health and life, it is that you must not starve or leave your body quenched. Your body is a power house that you must maintain, nurture and become one with.
The science behind calories counting is not complex, basically the belief is that the less calories you consume, the skinnier you will be. However, that is not completely true. Our body is so smart and protective of our survival ability that it has evolved to adapt in order to survive. The more you starve and cut out your nutrition, the more your metabolism rate will drop and, in a way, you are slowly training your body to store more fat to endure this stress, a false sense of “we are in danger and about to be starved, we must store as much energy in the form of fat as possible”. It works the same way in extreme cardio. I’m an avid runner and I believe in the magic of incorporating cardio into your work out, but if you repeat the same routine everyday. Your body, with its smart nature, quickly adapted its way into the routine. The result? You may work on that elliptical the same one hour everyday and slowly burn less and less calories per workout as your body becomes more efficient with that kind of heavy work. That’s why it is important to switch up your exercise routine and to do train your body to increase the pace and rate.
Similarly, eating a wholesome and well balanced diet will help your body to increase its metabolism and allows you to burn more calories and use more energy. The whole concept of calories is very intriguing and conceptual to me. After all, the measure itself is an average standard, it is never completely true or exact. How much calories you really absorb can vary vastly according to the way that very ingredients were processed and prepared. For instance, eating raw plant based food has more benefits due the fact that the strong cell walls of these veggies are not damaged from the heat of cooking, which allows more “calories” to pass through your digestive system while remain intact/unabsorbed. Yes, I’m trying to trick you into eating more vegetables 🙂 <3. This very same rule applies to not only veggies, fruits but also other groups such as nuts, which are often being considered as high in fat. However, raw almond consumption gives you a very different calories/fat intake than, let’s say, processed & roasted+ baked in salt and seasonings.
(Image via: Tablefortwo. If you must have sweets, try to consume in small portions and incorporate healthy fruits with it)
So all in all, what’s I’m trying to say is calories should not be the cruel dictator that rule and govern your life. The more you are stressing about eating the right amount of calories for your height/weight, the more easy it is for you to fall back into the bad eating trap. Instead, dividing your food intake into many meals and eat them throughout the day will give you a better energy level, more opportunities to burn calories with more digestion works and less cravings. As always, eat wholesome and eat well my friends.
Until next time XOXO