Years ago, my little sis was a serious athlete. She ran track for many years and ripped up the hurdles, triple jump, and high jump. She ended up running track for BYU for a few years. Her workouts were intense (and this blogger’s dream): twice a day – 2 hours on the track, 2 hours in the weight room. Five days a week. Saturdays she was expected to workout on her own.
She was in a nutrition class and her professor had all the students track their calories for a day. She was young, had been an athlete for as long as she could remember, and really never thought about how much she was eating a day. She just ate. And ate. And ate. She figured she ate around 2,000 calories. She wrote down every thing she ate and was shocked to discover she was regularly eating 4,000 calories per day! Holy tamole! The only other person who was eating that much in her class was another athlete from the track team. And a male.
|From October 2009|
She just had a baby four weeks ago! Isn’t she a beauty?
Granted, she was a top level athlete, working out to the extreme, and her body was a finely tuned calorie burning machine at that point. My point of writing this is to point out that her perception of what she thought she was consuming was soooo very different from reality.
On a lesser scale, that often happens with us. We ball-park-it and think we are eating roughly under let’s say 2,000 calories, but perhaps reality is that we are a few hundred over that. And then guess what? We gain weight.
**Eating just 150 calories beyond what you are expending each day can lead to a weight gain of 5 lbs. in six months. That’s like a piece of whole wheat bread and a small apple. Does that stink or what? Slowly but surely, the little things add up.
Since I’m in weight loss mode, I’m a countin’ the calories again (sung to the tune of “Back in the Saddle Again”). I do not do this long term, but when I’m in LOSE IT mode – it is the first thing do.
I keep a food journal and write down everything – every raisin, every walnut, every lettuce leaf– that passes my lips. No lying allowed. No cutting corners. Sounds monotonous? YES. IT. IS. I do that for a least a week, if not longer (especially weekends!) to get me back on track.
Then I run screaming like a crazy lady off the nearest cliff. What I mean is, after I’ve re-learned exactly what my calorie count should look like in terms of real food, I stick with that basic menu for quite some time, until I’m out of LOSE IT LAND.
I’m not saying that you should count every calorie from now until you take your last breath. No, that is over the top, even for me. BUT, if you are trying to lose weight, you really should do it for a solid week as a benchmark to know where you are and where you can reduce your calories.
What you learn will really surprise you.
In a previous post (click here), I mentioned three excellent tools to help you count your calories. It is much easier than it used to be. Use this free technology to your advantage!