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Calories

Food Over Exercise

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Food Over Exercise

Exercise is so, so, so important!  Please do not misconstrue what you’re about to read, as any sort of knock on exercise.  Exercising is incredibly beneficial to our health and well being, whether you want to lose or maintain weight.

That being said, exercise is not a get out of jail free card when it comes to food.   Ever notice that ironically, or strategically, there are often bakeries, fast food chains, etc. “conveniently” located next to gyms and fitness studios?  There is a serious fallacy that exists today about calories in vs. calories out.  You can spend endless hours in the gym, but poor nutrition will always thwart your weight loss efforts.

If you haven’t seen the documentary ‘Fed Up,’ I highly recommend it.   This film poignantly highlights that today, more and more Americans are exercising, and yet obesity rates still continue to rise.

So is eating less more important than exercising more?  I don't think it’s eating less so much as eating well.  Exercising can increase your metabolism and thus fuel your appetite.  That’s a good thing!  But how you satiate your hunger will make all the difference.  It is important to stick to whole, unprocessed foods. 

In order to not derail all of your hard work in the gym, it is important to eat clean in the kitchen.  No workout can compensate for a diet lacking in lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables.

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Counting Calories

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Counting Calories

I recently saw a feature on the Today Show about Calorie Counting.  With the availability and accessibility of apps like My Fitness Pal and Lose It! calorie counting is becoming an increasingly popular way to lose weight.

I’m just going to come out and say it, I HATE calorie counting.  I know it works for some people, and that’s great.  If you’ve lost weight by calorie counting than keep up the good work!  Especially in the field of fitness and nutrition, it’s so important to acknowledge that what works for one person may not work for another person, and that’s ok!  

My issue with calorie counting, in addition to it feeling very tedious to me, is that it can easily give people the wrong impression about food and the calories they're consuming.  Simply put, all calories are NOT created equal.  Your body responds differently to different foods.

Equal calorie consumption of cookies or kale will not have equal results.  Just looking at quantity alone, you get way more bang for your buck with the kale.  One small chocolate chip cookie is 132 calories.  Not terrible, but 132 calories of kale is 4 cups.  That’s a lot of kale.  I don’t think I’ve ever eaten 4 full cups of kale in one sitting and I LOVE kale.

Additionally, refined carbohydrates, like those found in cookies, will cause your blood sugar level to spike, signaling your body that it needs to store fat cells.  Kale, however, is quite the contrary.  It is full of fiber and as such aids in digestion.  Kale is filled with so many nutrients, vitamins, folate and magnesium.  Per calorie, kale even has more iron than meat and more calcium than milk.  Cookies?  Not so much.

Don't get me wrong; I’m not saying that if you’re craving a cookie, kale will suffice.  That’s a joke right?  But instead of painstakingly tracking every calorie, I recommend focusing on GOOD calories and portion size. 

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