Nutrition

How to Count Calories Responsibly


Humans have gotten used to micromanaging every aspect of their lives. So much so that it affects the food they eat, while not always a bad thing, it can be if you focus on the quantity of something rather than the quality of it. Example calories in a plain rice cake can run about 40 calories, has limited nutritional value and doesn’t taste that good. Compared to a banana, at roughly 100 calories depending on the size with several nutritional benefits such as fiber, potassium and some B vitamins.

Rice cake. Source.
Rice cake. Source.

Just because a food has more than 100 calories in it does not make it bad, your body wants calories, it needs calories to function & lose/gain weight properly.

While I love the app MyFitnessPal (MFP), at times I would find myself obsessing over how many calories I already ate. It wouldn’t matter if I was hungry or not, if I was close or over my calories I would go rounds with myself on why or why not I shouldn’t eat something. This is not healthy behavior!

MFP opening screen
MFP opening screen

Don’t get me wrong, MFP is a wonderful tool will a wicked amount of food in it’s database to make logging your meals easy, & it has helped many people lose weight. It also provides you with insight to just how much or little food you are consuming which can shed light on why you are gaining weight or just not losing any.

The problem comes when you zero in on just how many calories you are consuming, regardless of if it is something loaded with necessary nutrients or  not. There are people that end up depriving themselves of valuable nutrients in foods because the food itself may be a high calorie item.  If you are going to monitor you calories, I would recommend taking a week out of a month to track everything you consume, just to give yourself a general idea of how you eat throughout the month. Use it as a way to check up on you nutrition and general diet but don’t get so consumed by the numbers that you start depriving your body of what it needs. Food.

Typical shot from myfitnesspal
Typical shot from myfitnesspal (I did eat breakfast that day, I just didn’t log it )

If you find yourself getting a bit obsessive with the numbers, give yourself permission to step away from MFP, uninstall it if you must (I have) and remember, calories are NOT everything. The quality of food should always outweigh its “caloric number” but that is just my two cents. Remember low calories foods often = low nutritional value & high processing.  Not exactly something you want to shoot for when taking care of yourself.

Link up links!

Diary of a Semi-Health Nut

 

Do you use MFP? Do you find yourself getting cuckoo from the constant monitoring of food or does it help you reach your goals?

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6 thoughts on “How to Count Calories Responsibly”

    1. You’re very welcome! I wasn’t sure if I did that right or not. I was having issues with the widgets. I try to weigh myself weekly and only weekly, I don’t allow myself to do any more than that because that could become problematic too. Moderation truly is key for more than people realize!

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  1. I have done calorie tracking a couple of times for about a week each time and I definitely agree it can be consuming! Plus those calorie recommendations are always so low it’s silly..especially if you are an active person! I agree that taking time away from it can help. Maybe do a check in once a week to see what your nutrient intakes are for one day.

    Thanks for linking up to Did You Know! All you have to do is link back to one of our blogs so you’re all good! 🙂 I’m off to pin and tweet this post!

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  2. I use my fitness pal and I help my clients setup an account on it as well. I personally just use it as a rough guide because for my goals, I want to gain muscle so I know I will be eating more protein than what the program recommends. I think for someone who knows nothing about what macronutrients they need to consume: it is a good program!

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    1. Oh definitely! Using as a rough guide is a very good idea. They have an option in the settings to modify the amounts of say carbs, fats, and proteins. That may give you better numbers.

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