Before we get into out-running McDonald's, let's first examine what a calorie is...
- The thing on the side of a food package?
- I don't know, but cookies have a lot and fruit doesn't.
- A measurement of heat?
But with that said, all calories aren't created equal.
While 100 calories is 100 calories -- there's a big difference between 100 calories from soda and 100 calories from an apple.
So when it comes to losing unwanted body fat, and fueling the body for optimum health and energy, we need to focus on overall calories, but then we also need to focus on the quality of those calories.
Quantity AND quality of foods is important.
It's not enough to cut calories and live off prepackaged dinners and 100 calorie snack packs. Yes, you can lose weight, but since you want it to be permanent and a lifestyle you can lead forever, packaged processed food void of quality nutrients is not the best approach.
Instead, learn to read food labels.
Learn the amount of calories in your favorite foods (PER SERVING, not per bag or per box) ... then make smart decisions.
Is THIS food worth it?
Sometimes that answer is YES...
...but more often than not, it's no, knowing regular consumption of "Food X" won't get you to your goals as quickly.
I do not advocate deprivation by any stretch of the imagination. Rather, I'm an advocate for getting the most nutrition for the least amount of calories.
These 5 strategies will help you do just that.
- Replace 1 major meal each day with a large salad, using spinach as the base.
- Plan ahead so you're not "caught" starving, which means you'll quickly turn to poor choices.
- 90/10 -- 90% of the time, eat clean, 10% of the time loosen up a bit (as long as 10% of the time doesn't become 20%, etc.).
- Replace calorie containing drinks with their non calorie equivalent.
- Get 7+ hours of sleep -- yes, this helps you eat less because very often people eat more when trying to boost their energy levels.
And finally, exercise does give you a little more wiggle room in terms of the quantity or amount of calories you can consume. But, be careful! Just because you had a good 1-hour workout, that doesn't give you a license to gobble down a 1400 calorie Chipotle burrito (if fat loss is one of your goals).
To illustrate how quickly you can "out eat" your exercise, I'd like to share a race between Leigh running on the treadmill, and Gabe consuming 1100 calories at McDonalds. Enjoy the event!
Your friend in fitness,