I have been noticing something lately, calorie count is posted every where. The whole theory being, hey this is only 200 calories eat it. I also realized it when I began tracking calories for the first time a few months ago. I love the My Fitness Pal application for my iPhone. But, yes there is a big but and I want to talk about it and hear your thoughts as well.
Not every calorie is created equal.
The problem is, there are junk calories and quality calories. I think sometimes people get so wrapped up in tracking calories, that they are not paying attention to the nutritional value of those calories. For example, one of the biggest offenders of this is anything with a 100 calorie claim. Thole little prepackaged snacks drive me nuts. First of all, it is 100 calories of junk food usually and I find it just leaves you hungry within 30 minutes.
Now if you eat 100 calories of lean protein, vegetables or fruit, you will be fuller for much longer. The other change will be in how your weight comes off. I always find that I am able to lose weight 3x quicker when I am eating clean wholesome foods and tracking those calories. I know it might not be easy at first but it really will make a difference over the long term. Transition yourself over time and the change will not be as drastic, it will just be a gradual lifestyle change.
Then you walk into a Panera Bread, and see a sandwich with a 400 something calorie content. You get a small sandwich and end up being hungry an hour or 2 later. This is the decieving part about all those calories being posted: that is all they post. You have no idea how many grams of fat are in that item, how much saturated fat there is, and carbohydrate content, just to name a few. When you are looking at nutrition it is so much more than a single calorie number. There are so many other factors that play into nutrition and weight loss.
My final point about eating out all the time is it is an unknown. I say unknown because, yes your resturaunt might post the calorie context on their menu or it even may be in your My Fitness Pal app, however that is only an estimate.
Think about how inconsistent a simple cup of coffee can be. One associate may put 3 tablespoons of sugar in a regular, another may put up to 4 or 5. The chef in the kitchen may use more oil than the recipe calls for. There are so many variables in calorie content when you are eating out. This is why I prefer to eat at home when I prepate my own food. I know sometimes it is impossible to avoid though, so I say just be aware of the inbalance and make sure you compensate for it.
For example I always over estimate calories when I eat out and I make sure I am under my calorie goal if I feel like I have filled up my day with non wholesome foods. I know it is impossible not to eat outside of your house but make sure you are smart about it when you do it. I always order my dressings on the side, I put my own sweetner in my coffee, things like that. By having little tricks it can really make a big difference at the end of the week.
Do you agree that not all calories are created equal?