Calories and Weight Loss
The first time I heard about calories was from my Aunt Betty. Aunt Betty was always a lot of fun and took me and my sisters out to movies and other events when we’re young. She was probably in her middle 30’s during this time and I was 8 and my sisters were a few years older.
The conversation was at McDonald’s and started when I asked her why she wasn’t eating. We had stopped in after a movie and my sisters and I were chowing down on our favorites. When I asked her about not eating she said if she was going to take in 600 calories it certainly wasn’t going to be a cheeseburger. My sisters laughed but I didn’t get it.
So I asked her what is a calorie. She then told me that it was a way that you measured how much each food item had in energy and that if you had too many per day, you would gain weight. And I said that my mom was always telling me to eat more at the dinner table so what was the big deal.
She then told me that I was ten and growing, and she was 35 and didn’t want to grow anymore. And said there was food she liked a lot more than McDonald’s that she would rather eat. She said she kept count of all calories she consumed in a day and that was how she kept her weight at the desired amount.
My Aunt was a very attractive gal, even I could see that, but it had never dawned on me that it took any effort. I mentioned this conversation to my Mom later on in the day. She also concurred on this calorie business, the more you eat, the more weight you will gain. Since I was so young, I still couldn’t really understand this whole concept.
Flash ahead 30 years and I really get it now. I was blessed with a high metabolism and could always eat as much of anything I wanted and never had a problem until after I turned 40. Not sure whether it’s the fact that I didn’t exercise as much or I just ate more, the calories started adding up and I started gaining a few pounds.
By the time I caught on, I was a good 20lbs over the weight that I had been for years. I figured I’d just crank up the exercise and that would take care of it. Nope, that didn’t work for any weight loss. I’m sure it helped in other ways to make me more healthy but it really didn’t result in any weight loss.
So then I joined the calorie counting crowd and the weight slowly started to go down. I tried a few of the popular diets but that always ended up the same way. I’d lose a few pounds but then as soon as I went off the regime, back came the weight. It was always a temporary at best solution that didn’t help for the long term.
So I finally figured out that keeping an eye on calorie consumption was now a way of life if I wanted to lose weight and then maintain the weight loss. This was not an off again on again proposition, it needed to be a permanent change that required some ongoing effort.
So I started eating healthy and made choices to eat less of the high-calorie foods and more of the low-calorie items. I didn’t always choose the Bleu Cheese salad dressing, sometimes I got the Balsamic Vinegar one instead. And instead of sour cream and cheese on the baked potato, I chose hummus or salsa. Sounds a little weird but both are pretty good and low in calories. Some people like plain yogurt but I’m not a yogurt kind of guy.
So watching the servings amount (portion control), making healthy choices like broiled rather than fried, and just keeping a loose count of calories each day allowed me to lose weight and keep it off. No stiff rules, no weird ingredients, or denial of favorite foods. I also cut way back on the sugar, and if I have a dessert I usually split it with someone to limit the number of calories.
I’m no nutrition expert or doctor but I’ve found what works for me. Some people might need a diet regime to help get them started, some may need to take other measures due to health issues. But the caloric intake is always a factor in any type of weight loss. Extreme diets usually only produce temporary results.
My best advice is to never give up the weight loss battle. Try and develop reasonable goals based on the basics of portion control and smart healthy choices on items you eat. Keep a running daily count of calories, it doesn’t have to be exact but it will make you aware of your intake. Just take it one step at a time, and before you know it you’ll see some good results.
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