I’ve noticed in the past three months, I’m getting a little soft in the middle. My pants are fitting a little tighter and my suit jacket doesn’t fit the way it used to. It appears I’ve put on a few pounds and I’m none too happy about it.
The frustrating thing is that I really am a good eater. I avoid gluten (most of the time), I’m mindful about starchy carbs, I eat most of my meals at home and I make sure I get my veggies in every day. My workouts haven’t changed much, so outside of some major hormonal change which I have no symptoms of, there’s really only one thing I can point to as the reason for this extra pudge.
I’m eating too much.
I think it’s really easy to excuse an excess of calories when the food we’re eating is deemed “healthy”. I’m not talking about an excess of steamed Brussel sprouts, because rarely would anyone be inspired to binge on these. But think about it… if you have a green smoothie and then go on to enjoy a full meal, without realizing it, you’ve just ingested 900 calories and it’s only breakfast.
Bulletproof coffee, a blend of coffee, butter, and MCT oil has become the new trend in brain food and fat loss but let’s not overlook the fact that it’s still about 500 calories which is apparently meant to be part of a fasting protocol. Last time I checked, fasting meant zero calories.
Where we go wrong with calorie consumption
If I’m honest with myself, I know where I’m going wrong. As a consummate high fat, low carb eater (a protocol that works well for me), I can easily overdo portions of nutrient-rich, but calorie dense foods like nuts, nut butter, and healthy oils. As beneficial as these foods may be, they’re very easy to overeat.
I do hear a lot of health experts talk about not worrying so much about calorie control or restriction as long as you’re eating the right foods, but I think that can easily be taken too far. Calories DO matter. Even the good ones add up.
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How to avoid mindlessly overeating
When I find that I’m starting to snack mindlessly, or my clothes are fitting a little too tight, I always come back to a basic practice that tends to get my habits back on track quickly. I track my calories (and I mean every morsel of food that passes my lips) in MyFitnessPal.com. It’s such an easy program to use, and with the app downloaded to my phone, it’s always at the ready to record my meals. At the end of the day, it’s clear where I’m messing up which is typically snacking between meals.
The great thing about this app is that as you constantly input your calories, you start to see them add up. This tends to influence my choice to have any more handfuls of honey roasted peanuts or not.
If you haven’t tried My Fitness Pal or you have in the past, but you’re slacking off, why not commit to tracking your food diligently for the next 3 days. If it doesn’t give you a little jolt back into eating less or at least more mindfully, I’d be really surprised.
If you need help figuring out how many calories you should be eating in a day, and what ratio of carbs, fats, and proteins to focus on, check out this article on counting macros to get you started.
Caren is a certified yoga teacher, fitness instructor and author of The Fit Habit. Here she shares simple, low carb recipes, quick home workout ideas and practical ways to foster mind + body wellness.