“To lose weight, stick to 1,200 calories a day”
“avoid sabudana khichdi, it has 600 calories”
“another gulab jamun!! That has 300 calories!!”….blah blah blah…
I guarantee you have heard at least one of the above (or something similar) whenever you tried to jump in on food during your dieting phase… Trying to lose weight without counting calories is like enjoying rains without garma garam bhajiyas (which has 350 calories, by the way, just saying ;)). It always goes hand-in-hand.
It’s time to move your focus on to a more important thing than calories – Nutrients.
A nutrient is a component in foods that we use to survive and grow. Macronutrients like carbohydrates, proteins and fat provide bulk energy, while micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) provide the necessary cofactors for metabolism to be carried out.
Most of the times we end up consuming only the calories and miss out on getting the required nutrients.
If you have an upcoming festival or a wedding where you have no option but to relish the mithais, laddoos, pastries, what do you do? Announce that you are on a diet and deprive yourself of these sinful savories because these are super high in calories? Or starve days in advance because you are likely to overeat during these days?
No… that’s too boring and will lead to more weight gain.
Starving before such occasions means you are fooling your body to believe that you will not be eating… and then you cheat on it by overloading your mouth and stomach last minute. It will take revenge by storing all the food as fat.
1 pound body weight = 3,500 calories.
Unfortunately, in reality, our bodies don’t run on maths. So don’t create a war between your stomach and the calculator and waste your energy to calculate everything that goes into your mouth.
It’s very important to know your body, interact with it and train it. And the key to this is mastering your metabolism.
My article ‘metabolism matters’ gives some exciting ways you can increase it.
If you have a high metabolic rate, your body will work to keep you in a set weight range by regulating your appetite and burning more fat. And if you eat too much one day, your body would burn more fat to compensate.
If you starve yourself, your body slows down your metabolism and burns muscle rather than fat. When you start eating normally after a crash diet (crash diets lower your metabolism), you will gain more weight because you have a tired metabolism that has forgotten to do its job.
The more you count, the less attention you will pay to the food in front of you. All calories are NOT created equal, and you wont lose weight simply by counting them. Cutting them will likely leave you hungry, irritable and not any lighter than you were when you started
Some interesting facts about calories and nutrients:
– Labels can lie. Labeling laws allow a 20% margin of error on the nutrition facts panel.
– Rava (semolina) and rice have the same amount of calories. Which means a rava idli is no better than your regular rice idli for losing weight.
– Brown rice has slightly higher calories than white rice. However, its preferred over white because of its nutrient and fibre content.
– Leftover food retains very little nutrition the following day.
– Children are more active than adults as they require and consume more calories and nutrients as compared to adults