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Life Speak from VA Website

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Please note this is a transcription of what the expert says in this module. It includes all words and is not edited to correct grammar or other errors.

What’s the Deal with Calorie Counting?

Many people like to use calorie counting as a way to maintain their weight or monitor their weight either to lose or gain. Now the thing is with calories is a calorie isn’t just a calorie particularly when you're talking about calories in. Let’s say you're doing a 1200 or 1500 calorie diet, it doesn’t mean that you can just eat anything and be under or at 1200 calories. Because how those calories are used in your body is going to make a huge difference on your health on the toxicity of the food that you're eating on how your energy levels will be and if you’re overall successful in losing or maintaining weight.

If you're looking at a chocolate bar verses an avocado they might be the same calorie count but trust me, how they're used in the body is incredibly different. The high sugar content of the chocolate bar will raise your insulin levels and probably make you higher or more hungry later. Whereas the avocado even though it’s really high in fat that fat will get used in your body properly. And you should never be afraid of the calories in an avocado because it’s like when you drink water and the water goes into your cells same thing with avocado it goes into the cells and is used by the body in a way that’s more efficient.

So you try not to set yourself up with this calorie counting all the time because if you look at your meals, 75% should be live it should be things that are fruits and vegetables, meats and; and fishes and things like this. And then you've got the added grains in there and all that is healthier food. When you start looking at calories you tend to use foods that have it on the box or on the package and if they're in a box or a package then chances are it’s not live.

So you have to be careful with that. You have to be careful with gravitating towards any kind of meals or foods that actually give you all that nutrient value because it’s usually packaged and probably doesn’t have all the nutrients that you could get if you actually get fresh produce.

Now let’s talk a little bit about calories out. You know on the machines when you're doing cardio for example and even if you're looking up calorie expenditure for certain activities they’re really general estimates. Because they don’t take into account your height your weight your BMI what your makeup is. How much body mass you have, muscle mass verses fat and all these factors are really key.

So let’s say you go on the treadmill for an hour and you only burn let’s say 200 calories because you were walking let’s say. And you think oh I did all that time and I did all that work how come I didn’t burn all these calories? Well again, it’s; it’s a rough estimate and it probably doesn’t co-relate to what it’s actually doing in your body. Because any exercise and anything you do is going to burn calories.

And keep in mind, when you have more muscle mass on your body you're generally going to burn more calories at rest. But listen it’s not that much so don’t count on it either. Just because you're exercising doesn’t mean you just go crazy and eat what you want, when you want necessarily because you may be sabotaging.

For example, one pound of muscle burns about 5 to 10 calories and this is a new study that came out. Because there was a study maybe 10 years ago that said you – it was much more like one pound of muscle burns 50 calories. And since then it’s been disputed so keep that in mind whereas one pound of fat at rest burns maybe 2 to 4 calories. So you see there’s not a lot of difference which is why you can’t count on exercise alone being the way that you, you know maintain or lose or gain weight. You have to be very careful of that.

So the takeaway to this is when you eat nutritionally dense foods you shouldn’t have to count calories you should just be eating healthy foods all the time and staying away from packaged foods or foods that aren’t live as much as you possible can. Because that way, you probably won’t be hungry you probably will be getting all that you need within what you're taking in.

Vice versa with calories out don’t worry about how many calories you burn just worry about exercising in general. Just give yourself a pat on the back for getting out there and doing something and becoming active and becoming healthier rather than worrying about numbers all the time.

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