Calorie Counting is Back in Fashion

Fashions change, we all know that – just look at old photos and have a laugh at the clothes and hairstyles. Well, food fashions change too. Maybe after all the chaos of recent times with the credit crunch we feel like a return to what we know.
Whatever, it means that calorie counting is back in fashion again. And now it’s a whole lot easier than before. Most foods have their calorie content on the wrapper, that’s the law. And with the Internet, you’re only a click away from finding out how many calories are in everything from anchovies (fresh 131 kcal per 100g, canned 210 kcal per 100g) to zucchini (about 30 kcal each).
We’ve tried the Points system (can anyone fathom that one out?) and food combining. We’ve tried not combining foods and only eating carbs before 6.00pm – or only after 6.00pm. Perhaps some of us braver souls have even tried diets based on lemon juice or cabbage soup, and given up in disgust. Or no carb diets, or no fat diets, or… well, you get the picture.
The thing none of these regimes tell us is that at the heart of them lies good old calorie counting.
Because the key thing about calories is that if we eat less of them than we need, we lose weight. That’s calories from any source. It’s a basic equation, I’m not talking about nutrition, this is just the maths. (Though nutrition is extremely important too.)
Think of calories as the power our bodies needs to keep running for a day. If we keep pouring in calories, that’s like plugging a radio into the mains. But if we pull the plug, the power for the radio has to come from the batteries. Our batteries are our fat cells.
Adults can have an amazing 100,000 calories stored as fat. That’s a big battery.
So, we need to eat fewer calories to lose weight. No excuses, no short cuts, no crash diets. Steady weight loss of one or two pounds a week will give us lasting results without much self deprivation. And to achieve that we just need to know how many calories in human fat.
Fortunately, that’s easy. Every pound of ordinary human white fat (usually only babies have brown fat) has 3,500 calories.
Saving 500 calories per day adds up to – 500 x 7 = 3500 – one pound, bingo!
And 500 calories may sound a lot, but just swapping a large latte coffee for an Americano with skinny milk saves 170 calories. Trading a blueberry muffins for a handful of fresh blueberries could easily save more than the other 330 calories.
Taking a walk to the coffee shop rather than stopping by in the car will save even more calories, as well as giving us a quick hit of endorphins – the good feeling we get from exercises.
Don’t try to lose more than two pounds per week, because the weight will only come back later. It’s like the parable of the hare and the tortoise – slow and steady wins the race. But the sooner we start…