Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thoughts about Weight-Loss 3: Counting Calories is Totally Whack

I've been on the "lose weight" wagon for a few months now and have been writing about it every now and then. I've decided to share some of it here, which scares the shit outta me. Admitting these things is hard and extremely personal, as I don't hold anything back...but I think that writing them down and letting people read them is going to be good for me. Freeing. Motivating, even. Who knows.

Counting calories is totally whack.

I’ve been counting my calories closely for about four weeks now and, slowly but surely, I’m starting to learn how many calories are in certain foods. I’m getting pretty good at guesstimating amounts in meals, too, which makes eating out easier. With a few more weeks of really paying attention, I think I’ll become pretty good at knowing things off the top of my head. It’s nerdily exciting!

I have a friend who told me she lost a ton of weight just counting calories, but soon became obsessed with it. I didn’t understand her at first; how could you become obsessed with counting calories? You just kind’ve know the numbers in certain foods and write it down…not that nuts. This last week, though, I’ve come to fully understand what she means. Calorie counting can take over your life. Once you really understand how everything works with calories going in and calories coming out, you realize just how much your body is like a machine…and it blows your mind!

Example: a large double-double at Tim Hortons is 300 calories. 300! For 300 calories you could eat an English Muffin and Two eggs. Or some salmon and veggies. Or 8 pieces of vegetarian maki. Or three and a half apples. So your morning coffee essentially adds up to an entire meal. Tack a muffin on that and you’re consuming around 700 calories in just one snack. (Needless to say I’ve switched from double-double to regular)

What do I have to do to burn off 700 calories? About 45 minutes of vigorous spinning or 55 minutes of moderate elliptical. About an hour of work to burn off one little snack! Can you imagine how long it would take to burn off a few slices of pizza or a delicious, greasy, oh-so-good Craft Burger?! And if you’re smaller than I am, it’s going to take a hell of a lot more work to burn all that crap off.

Your body really is like a machine – you give it fuel and it burns fuel. If you give it too much fuel, it’ll spill over and make a mess (in this case, a fatty, delicious Craft Burger mess that goes straight to my thighs). Calories in/Calories out. For whatever reason, I never used to think this way. I always knew I needed food to survive, but now I’m starting to look at food as fuel for my body instead of just fun things to eat. To me, it’s a pretty interesting mind-shift.

I once heard some Buddhists talking about how being reincarnated as a human is an amazing blessing, because you’re given the huge gift of having thoughts and love and emotion and kindness. Why would you want to treat this gift like a piece of crap? Who knows if you’ll ever come back as a human again? Treat your body well – it’s the motto of Buddhists, Jews, Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod.

Now that I’ve started to understand calories, it is definitely easier to make healthy choices…and it’s definitely easier to feel guilty about pigging out. I like it, though. I like knowing how much I’m putting in and knowing how much I’m putting out, and hopefully it all adds up to a happier, healthier, burger-less me.

I’m finally staring to put out in a respectable way. Imagine that.

1 comment:

  1. Keep writing about this stuff, dear! I'm loving it...No McDonald's reference intended...gonna go now. Bada-Ba-Ba-BAAA!