Calories DO Count!

Posted: November 5, 2014 in Fitness, Nutrition
Tags: , ,

I had a conversation with an individual just the other day.  We were discussing nutrition and fat loss.  I asked her how many calories per day she was eating.  She had no idea.  Her answer was “Well, I’m really good.  I eat really healthy and I’ve just started gluten-free” (Insert head smack here).  My response was “Ok, but how MUCH food do you eat?  Do you have a general idea of how many calories you’re taking in?”.  *Crickets*  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had this same conversation.

My point here is not to make fun of any particular dieting scheme.  I have nothing against gluten-free, dairy-free, Paleo, etc. etc. etc.  My personal philosophy is to not adhere to one particular “diet plan”.  I don’t believe there is a need to cut anything out unless you have an intolerance or sensitivity to it.  Putting that aside, my point is CALORIES DO COUNT!

I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but even if you eat too much healthy food, you are going to gain weight.  I used to be an incessant calorie counter – weighing, measuring, etc. down to the last gram.  It can certainly be a tedious task, but I do recommend it to people that have no idea about portion size.  I’m not saying that you need to do it forever, but at least for a few weeks until you get the hang of “eye-balling” proper portion size.  If you enjoy counting calories or tracking macros, go for it!  It certainly does work and it’s something I’ll do when I’m in contest prep mode.

Now, for the other side of things…how the heck do you know how much you’re burning while exercising?  You can’t go by the calorie count on machines when doing cardio because I have found that more often than not, they OVERestimate your calorie burn.  There are several formulas that you can look up to get an estimate but remember, it is just an estimate.  As for weight-training, calories burned of course are going to depend on your intensity, duration of workout, whether or not you’re doing circuit training, and several other factors.  Again, you can get an estimate by searching online.  Here’s what I do:  I’ve invested in a heart rate monitor (one with a chest strap for continuous monitoring).  This will be a bit more accurate for cardio exercise versus resistance training but I find that it works VERY well.  The chest strap can take a little getting used to but I think it’s worth it.  I know there are newer technologies out there that don’t require a chest strap, but I haven’t gotten the chance to test any of those out.

If you don’t have or want to use a heart rate monitor, you can get an estimate of your total calorie burn including exercise using this calculator: http://scoobysworkshop.com/calorie-calculator/    Follow the plan for a few weeks and assess…losing weight?  Great!  Keep going…  Not losing weight?  That’s ok, you may need to re-adjust your calories, pay closer attention to your portion sizes, etc.

This post is just a reminder…when in doubt, go back to the basics.  Calories in, calories out!  It does matter!  This may need to be another post but…don’t forget, you need to make sure you’re eating enough to support the amount of exercise you’re doing…sometimes the problem is the opposite, not eating enough!

Comments
  1. Tammy says:

    Always great info Kris! Thanks. I’ve been thinking about getting a heart rate monitor for myself for Christmas this year. Not sure about the chest strap. I get a little claustrophobic just thinking about it… LOL I will be looking into the website you recommended in the mean time. Thanks!

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