Thursday, October 30, 2008

Calories In Calories Out

The New York Times recently ran an article regarding new regulations for restaurant chains in NYC that requires menus to display calories.

Needless to say many people were surprised.

The number of calories in food shocked most New Yorkers, according to a September survey by the health department. A Starbucks blueberry scone delivers 480 calories. A Quiznos regular tuna melt is 1,270 calories. Wraps, the refuge for low-carb sandwich lovers, can top 800 calories. Bagels pack more calories than doughnuts. A large bucket of buttered movie popcorn has more than half the calories anyone should eat in a day.

Even people for whom nutrition is a way of life had no idea how many calories they were eating. Kate Adamick, a consultant who helps corporations and school districts improve their food, took a hard look at her Starbucks habit, which included bran muffins and chocolate cookies.

“Just because I work in the food world, I am not immune from this human tendency to self-delude,” she said. “I can look at a cookie that is the size of a man’s hand and think it’s only twice as big as a regular cookie, but it actually has the caloric content of four or five cookies.”

For the majority of people it really is simple. If you are having trouble losing weight then you are eating too much. And if you eat out often chances are what you are eating has too much saturated fat and starchy carbohydrates - a feature of most restaurant food, and guaranteed to pack on layers of flab. Tasty sauces, pasta, and breads are culprits here.

The first step is to figure out how many calories you are using each day. To do that use a resting metabolic rate calculator.

Now figure out how many calories you are taking in. Write down everything you eat for three days only, then use a calorie calculator to assess your average intake.

And be honest with yourself. Most people are experts at deluding themselves, myself included. You have to ask yourself if you really want to feel and look better.

Now if your caloric intake is too great then eat smaller portions and increase your activity level. Get control of your eating habits and subsequently your life.

For more resources I highly recommend TNT Nutrition. I've seen many people get great results and literally change their lives by learning to eat better and exercise smarter.

So the next time you are about to eat something think about if that momentary pleasure will help you reach your goal or carry you further from it.


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