Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Calorie Budget

In a perfect world, I would be able to eat whatever I wanted and if I gained weight at all it would only be in my boobs.  Unfortunately this is not a Disney movie kind of world where you are guaranteed a happy ending.  While you could eat whatever you want whenever you want, that is not a story that is likely to end well.

I have been using MyFitnessPal to keep track of my calories since I started losing weight in September of last year.  The longer I track my calories on MyFitnessPal, the more I have come to think of it like a bank account with "money" that I have to budget carefully lest I overdraw my account.  Thinking of it this way works really well for me.  Some foods "cost" more than others. Example: that cookie is more expensive than a piece of fruit.  Sometimes one "brand" will give you more bang for your buck.  Example: two pieces of turkey bacon "costs" less than one piece of pork bacon.  

You can earn more calories the same way you would earn more money: by putting in work.  If you wanted your bank account to grow what would you do?  You would get a job so that you could earn more money and put it in the bank.  The same is true of your calorie budget.  If you want to "buy" a food that you don't have enough calories to pay for, you will simply have to go out and earn more calories.  There's no such thing as a calorie credit card.  To lose a pound you need to eat 3,500 calories less than your body burns.  On the flip side, if you eat 3,500 calories more than your body burns you will gain a pound.  You can go over your calorie budget if you want to, but just like overdrawing your bank account will result in some unfortunate fees from your bank, overdrawing your calorie bank will result in some unfortunate weight gain on your body.  It really is that simple.   

Most people are pretty careful with their bank accounts.  They are aware of how much money they have left and they try really hard not to overdraw it.  If you want to get healthy and lose weight you are going to have to get conscientious about your calorie budget.  Is eating within your "means" harder than staying on budget?  Yes.  Is it worth it?  It will be when you see the results on the scale and start to feel better on a daily basis.

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