Many many times throughout my past articles I have discussed what causes weight loss, or weight gain for that matter. That is not the purpose of today's article, but for those of you who might have missed those previous articles I will paraphrase…
To lose weight you must burn more calories throughout the day than you ingest.
To gain weight you do the opposite, you ingest more calories throughout the day than you burn.
Simple in theory, but not so simple in practice! But again, this idea is not the main talking point of today’s article. Today I want to focus on the countless people i’ve heard over the years saying, “I only eat 1000 calories per day and I STILL can’t lose weight!” I call bologna, and today I will show everyone some examples on how you, and most everyone else, consume way more calories each day than they think.
The only TRUE way to know exactly how many calories you are consuming each day is to measure, weigh, and track every single food item you eat every day… and that is a huge pain the ass so I am not surprised when people do not want to do it! However, I believe that everyone should go through this process at least once in their life for about a month to get a true sense of what foods contain what amount of calories and macronutrients. Once you have have done this for a while you will have a much better sense of calorie count, and may be surprised about some of the foods you were eating and/or your total daily caloric intake and macronutrient percentages!
Today I am going to focus on some foods that people often have regularly, and sometimes multiple times per day and I will be highlighting their caloric and macronutrient content. First on the list is a guilty pleasure of THOUSANDS of people daily (sometimes twice daily)... coffee!
Way back in the day I wrote an article about coffee (which I recommend going back and reading on the blog, and you can check out HERE!) where I described how coffee itself is not at all a bad thing, and can actually beneficial in many ways. Rather, it's what you ADD to the coffee that makes it unhealthy for you! Lets look at a local favorite coffee joint and one of their many different signature drinks… Dunkin Donuts Large Caramel Swirl Frozen Coffee with Cream. Would you believe me if I told you this drink had OVER ONE-THOUSAND CALORIES?! It does, and you can check all of their nutrition information on drinks/donuts/sandwiches HERE! Yes, I chose one of the drinks with the highest caloric contents on the whole list, but I did so to prove a point. I don’t think anyone in their right mind would have assumed that one drink could be over 1000 calories! (Now think back to the person who says they only consume 1000 calories in a day, but also drinks something like this every morning… starting to make sense how people can consume far more calories than they think?)
Let's look at another very common “health” food that many people take advantage of, super smoothies! Smoothies can indeed be very healthy, but if you’re not careful they can pack a ton of calories and a ton of sugar! Let's say you make a smoothie with a banana, ½ cup blueberries, ½ cup strawberries, 1/2 cup 2% milk, and 1 chobani greek yogurt for added protein. All very healthy foods indeed, but let's take a closer look at the nutrition when all of the ingredients are added into myfitnesspal. This smoothie has a respectable 400 calories (which is high for someone trying to lose weight unless they use this as a meal replacement, rather than just a snack). But the real kicker here is that it is made up of 70% carbohydrates, and a WHOPPING 51 GRAMS of sugar :(. I don’t care if its sugar from fruit, 51 grams is still a TON of sugar (comparable to a can of Coke).
A lot of times I’ll ask people what they had for a snack today and one of the most common responses is, “a handful of almonds” (or nuts). Well, how big is your hand?! I know some people with pretty big hands! Believe it or not, 1 serving size of almonds is only about 28 almonds… and I don’t know about you but my handful can hold way more than 28 almonds! While nutritious and healthy, almonds are super high in calories and fat (contrary to popular belief that they have a ton of protein, which they do have a little but its only 14% protein and 72% fat!). One serving is 160 calories, but on average i’d say that people have closer to 2 servings… so 320 calories and 28g of fat! Some people might even have more than 2 servings because we all know how easy it is to keep eating those addicting little things without truly being aware of how many we’ve had already.
Let’s say for example John Dough (spelt this way because he unknowingly eats too many calories per day!) wakes up and makes that “healthy” smoothie for breakfast. Then on his way to work a couple hours later he grabs a flavored coffee and a sausage egg and cheese from Dunkin Donuts (because his earlier smoothie didn’t have enough protein to keep him satiated; aka full). Then later in the day he has his 300-400 calories worth of almonds for an afternoon snack. John has now consumed OVER 1700 calories WITHOUT considering lunch, dinner, and late night snacks. (I assumed an average of 500 calories for coffee, 500 for breakfast sandwich, 400 for smoothie, and 300 for almond snack). Add in lunch and dinner… and well, you get the point! Do you now see how people constantly assume they are consuming less calories than they really are?
You can easily swap out these examples for other favorites and still find that the average person consumes way more calories than they think. If they weren’t, they’d be losing weight! Simple as that!
I can’t stress the importance of weighing/measuring/tracking your foods enough! At least do it for a period of time to get a better understanding of the caloric content of your foods along with the macronutrient percentages. As far as understanding of certain topics for losing weight, this knowledge is a MUST HAVE for you to be successful in losing weight and keeping it off!
I hope this article sheds a little light on the subject for everyone. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out to me! We do also offer nutrition counseling at Fitness Fusion if anyone is interested.
Keep up the awesome work at the gym, and count those calories :)
See you soon to GET FUSED!