Remember second grade when your teacher asked what you wanted to be when you grew up? Maybe you wanted to be a cowboy, or a doctor, or an astronaut, or a supermodel. Or a tap-dancing ballerina fairy princess veterinarian. Sure, why not? Aim high.
But one thing I can guarantee you didn’t say is, “I want to be the world champion at weighing and recording every scrap of food I eat.” If you did say that, please go find another blog, because I don’t have the training to deal with that kind of emotional disorder.
When did you decide it was a good idea to get a scale and start measuring your cottage cheese like a drug dealer cutting heroine?
Maybe it’s when you realized you couldn’t fit in your favorite jeans any more. Sucks, doesn’t it? Or when you got winded climbing a flight of stairs.
Whatever it was, you knew you had to lose some weight, and “everyone knows” that means you need to eat less and exercise. Just like 400 years ago everyone knew the Earth is flat, 100 years ago everyone knew disease is caused by bad humours, and 20 years ago everyone knew nobody needs a portable phone.
Exercise is a great idea, but counting calories? That’s not a bad idea just because it’s hard. It’s focusing on the wrong thing:
It takes extreme skill and dedication to accurately tally your calorie intake every day, if it is even possible. As we saw yesterday, calorie counts at restaurants can be off by over a hundred calories, and packaged foods are legally allowed to be 20% higher than their labels claims. You may have better luck with home cooked meals, but it requires the detailed weighing, researching and recording of every ingredient you use.
And toward what goal?
Very few people have tested their resting metabolic rate (how many calories you burn while doing nothing). To balance your energy expenditure youâ€™d also need to account for your physical activity each day (dream on if you think the machines at the gym, or even your heart rate monitor, are giving you accurate calorie expenditures).
You can count how many seeds there are on the strawberries you eat if you really want to. It won’t matter though, because that’s not what makes a difference toward your weight.
And it really is the same with calories. Sure, 100 calories of beef is less than 200 calories of beef. But is 100 calories of cotton candy better for you than 200 calories of chicken? Does it even make sense to ask that question?