Do you or anyone you know count calories? It’s been used by many dieters and health “gurus” out there, but is it really necessary? Are we all wasting our time counting the glorious calorie when we could be spending more of our time doing something interesting? Although before we go too much further, if you are trying to lose weight, struggling to do so and have been known for overeating in the past, calorie counting can be beneficial just to keep your portion sizes within the normal range.
For instance, I saw this man in a service station once when I was paying for my fuel. I never eat food from these places as it just doesn’t interest me, but what this man ordered, nearly made me sick. Not to mention how sick he must have felt after it. He was severely obese and obviously had some issues, but from memory, he ordered a hot dog, a serve of some pasta dish and a plate of something that looked like beef stroganoff. Now all of these three meals would have filled up a normal person, but he took all 3 and sat down by himself to eat it. Someone like this could definitely benefit from counting calories.
Most of us athletes don’t struggle with our weight, apart from keeping it on, but even people who have struggled in the past to hold a healthy weight can maintain their weight without this mundane practice. I like to prioritize quality of foods over quantity and unless you are similar to the gentleman mentioned above, it is very hard to overeat when you are consuming high quality, nutrient dense foods. Let me explain…
Take your average breakfast cereal or usual two slices of toast for breakfast. Both these foods due to the highly processed nature of them, are high in carbohydrate, but quite depleted in any other nutrient. They are digested rapidly, hit the blood stream quickly sending you blood sugar soaring, your body reacts by sending out insulin to stabilize the sugar levels (much of it gets stored as fat if your glycogen levels are already up), you get a sugar crash as the insulin does too good a job, leaving you craving that donut (or other high carb snack) when you get to work. Repeat this process a number of times a day and you can see why excess weight gain is an issue for so many (even many runners). Not to mention the other health implications it causes down the track.
Compare that to a meal that contains a good ratio of carbs, fat and protein, you may end up eating more calories in that meal than the breakfast cereal or toast, but the result is far different. This meal is digested far slower, meaning there is no major insulin response, you stay fuller for longer as fat and protein take far longer to digest than carbs meaning that donut doesn’t look so tempting at morning snack time. In fact, done right, sometimes you won’t even be hungry until lunch time.
The fact is that when people eat a diet containing a good ratio of carbs, fats and proteins, at the end of the day, their caloric intake tends to be lower than the high carb dieters. This is the main reason, along with all the studies coming out debunking the myths that fat causes all sorts of illnesses, that I eat a diet high in fats, proteins and lower glycemic vegetables. It tends to be far higher in vitamins and minerals too. Leave the high carb foods for recovery meals after your training sessions when you actually need it.
If you need advice on losing weight while training, or tips on just improving your diet for that extra performance, feel free to email me with your questions. I would be more than happy to help out.