Calories – two out of three American adults need to eat fewer. The rest struggle daily not to eat more. A calorie (or kilocalorie) is a measure of energy-producing potential. If we consistently eat more than we need, we gain body fat. If we eat less than we need, we lose fat, and weight loss occurs.
The challenge arises when we fall into the “Calorie Trap.” We are often tricked into our quest for energy balance (caloric intake = caloric expenditure.) People wonder why they wake up and their pants don’t fit. Most frustratingly state they don’t understand why; they haven’t been eating poorly. Other puzzled individuals mutter, “I have been eating very little; how can I possibly gain weight,” or “I eat very well,” or “My clothes shrunk in the laundry.” The “calorie trap” strikes again!
People constantly underestimate the number of calories they take in by not being aware of how calorie dense particular foods really are, or what an appropriate serving size really is. This particular dilemma is leaving America heavier now than it was ten years ago.
Stop thinking about carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, Atkins, or the South Beach Diet, and start becoming aware of the caloric content of the foods you are eating. The key to weight loss and avoiding the “calorie trap” is to educate yourself by reading labels and making intelligent food choices.
Here are a few clear examples of how easily it is to fall into the “Calorie Trap.” With a little education and label reading, you can avoid this trap, and make weight loss much easier.
Which of the following has more calories per serving?
1. Average bowl of Grape Nuts or Frosted Flakes?
2. English muffin with jam or a dry bagel?
3. Five oz. of M&M’s or five oz. of yogurt raisins?
You will be surprised! Give it your best guess.
An average bowl of Grape Nuts has 600 calories vs. an average bowl of Frosted Flakes at 220 calories.
That morning dry bagel has 400 calories to the English muffin and jam’s 170 calories.
The M&M’s have 675 calories, while the yogurt raisins also have 675 calories.
Hopefully this little exercise and article will get you thinking calories and weight loss in the correct way. Pay attention to what you are putting into your mouth, including the portion size. You will see a difference in your waistline! Start counting yourself to weight loss. Begin today!
The most effective way to become aware of your food choices, portion size, and calories you consume is to start a food journal. The food journal will answer all these questions and provide clear insight into your eating habits, and patterns.