I am not happy that calorie counting matters, but it really does. Like many of my peers, I could stand to lose a few pounds. In my teens and twenties, it was fairly easy to lose weight – just increase my physical activity and, presto, the weight would come off without any diet modification.
Sad to say, those days are over. Even with 4 to 5 rigorous, 90 minute workouts a week, those excess pounds are very slow to come off.
Nutrition experts as well as physicians with whom I have discussed this are fairly blunt – you have to count calories.
What does this mean, in a practical sense? In my case, I need about 2,750 calories a day to maintain my weight. A vigorous workout burns around 800 calories, so I can consume around 3,500 calories a day and not gain any weight. A pound is equal to 3,500 calories. Assuming that 2 days a week, I consume 3,500 calories, I need to limit myself to 2800 calories a day for 5 days a week to drop a pound a week.
I can’t eat too few – or my body will go into starvation mode.
Recently, I started counting calories. I made some surprising discoveries.
- I enjoy popcorn and I use a Whirley-pop 6 quart popper that uses 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels and 3 to 4 tbsp of oil – 6 quarts = 1,536 calories
- I enjoy French bread and butter or Smart Balance – my portion costs me between 1,200 and 1,500 calories
- Pizza – 3 slices of cheese pizza – 500 calories
- chicken breast (8 oz.) – 450 calories
- rice (flavored) – my portion around 800 calories
In my case, portion size is the problem, as is speed of eating. I am using the About.com Calorie Count online service to track what I eat – we’ll see how it goes.