Health Tips/ Nutrition Tips/ Weight loss

Is What You Eat As Important As How Many Calories You Consume?

Last night I had the honour of sharing some of my knowledge about living healthy with friends who will be working together to lose weight. It was a fantastic night, and it was great to see the ladies working together. It was my first motivational speaking engagement ever!! but I really enjoyed it. Apparently talking about something you’re passionate and knowledgeable about is easier than I thought nd a lot of fun!

For my “talk”, I brought 7 different kinds of chopped vegetables, measuring cups and baggies for them. Together we discussed a standard serving size and how many fruits and vegetables that you should be eating each day (as recommended by the Canada Food Guide). I then asked each lady to measure out a serving size of each vegetable and gave it to them to take home. Their job today is to eat their 7 servings of vegetables.

Twinkies for lunch?

I did this because I wanted the ladies to start thinking about the nutritional value of the foods they’re eating and to consider eating a variety of fruits and vegetables… not the same ones each day. Often when we embark on a plan to lose weight we fall into the whole calories in vs calories out thing. Theoretically it’s supposed to be that simple: eat less calories than you burn, and you ‘ll lose weight. In fact, a nutritionist (Mark Haub) in the States is embarking on his own personal study of this. (See article “Losing Weight in the Twinkie of an Eye“). He’s eating Little Debbie cakes, Hostess Twinkies etc. to meet his caloric requirements, while meeting his nutritional requirements with supplements. He ‘s lost 10 lbs so far. Calories in vs Calories out. It’s important to note that he is meeting his nutritional requirements via supplements.

I think it would be very interesting to take his personal anecdotal study further ie:

* Men vs Women on the same diet.
* The same junk food diet without supplements.
* The long-term effects of the junk food diet… does your body adapt? Will weight gain occur? Will lean body mass become fat mass?

When you think of those 100 calorie snack packs are they really “bad” for you? Or are they ok as a treat?

One of the ladies asked: “Is white rice “bad” for you? What does she mean by bad… will it kill you? No of course not. Should you eat it 3 times/day every day? No because it doesn’t offer enough nutritional value to be eaten that often. And neither do the 100 calorie snack packs, or the Little Debbie cakes. This is why Mark is supplementing.

Truthfully my opinion of all of this is that it’s all good in moderation. Eat less calories overall, while eating high nutritional value foods, while occasionally treating yourself. Want some chips? Go ahead and eat them… just don ‘t eat an entire bag in one sitting every single day! Eat “healthy” 80% of the time by eating your fruits, veggies, protein etc. and allow yourself the occasional treat – you’ll be much more successful and not binge eat if you aren ‘t depriving yourself and you ‘ll also be meeting the nutritional requirements your body needs. You can be sure of whether you’re meeting your nutritional needs, how many calories you take in, and how many you spend each day by keeping a food journal.

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  • Shelley
    September 18, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    LOVE IT! Amazing though how 200 healthy calories satisfy so much longer than 200 junk calories… think there’s a reason for that LOL! Keep it up. Enjoy your blog.

    • Janice - The Fitness Cheerleader
      September 19, 2010 at 4:58 pm

      Good point! Must be either the protein or fiber content of healthy foods that keep us feeling full.

  • STEENA
    September 19, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    Great post, important info here! I’m lucky to have gotten good at calories in vs. calories out and knowing which ones are better for me. I’m a huge fan of the 100 calorie snack packs. They’re a great treat, and if it helps people from consuming too many cookies, then all the better.

    • Janice - The Fitness Cheerleader
      September 19, 2010 at 10:30 pm

      True – I typically try to stay away from them. One snack pack tends to leave me unfulfilled, so then I eat 2-3 more packs…

  • Jen
    September 30, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    Interesting. If I ate that much sugar I would be so physically hungry it would be painful…

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