Low Calories

As I sit here licking my lips from the peanut butter and jelly sandwich I just devoured (hey, even fitness studs like me — NOT!!! — have breakdowns every now and then), I’m going to pick on an e-mail I received today from my favorite coffeehouse.  They shall remain nameless simply because I’m going to pick on them.

Just a little.  And playfully.  Citing their e-mail only as an example.

First of all, the PB and J… yummy.

I was starving.

Well, probably not literally.  But my little (?) tummy was growling and I felt the need to torture the cats by eating something they don’t like.  I spied the loaf of Natural Ovens Bakery Hunger Filler bread (100% whole grain, 4 g of fiber, 2 g of sugar, 4 g of protein per slice), and the worst thing you can be is anything edible when I’m hungry.  Two slices toasted, slathered with natural peanut butter and Smucker’s grape jam (yes, it’s true… high fructose corn syrup; even I’m not perfect), and the leftover cup of green tea, reheated for, like, the fourth time.

A tasty little snack that satisfied the hunger pangs.

So here’s the takeaways:

  1. Strength training means never having to say you’re full.  Well, that’s not exactly true, but it sure makes it seem that way.  I never feel full (except at Thanksgiving and on Christmas Day).  The point is, burn a lot of calories, build some muscle, and it requires more calories to fill you up.
  2. Nobody’s perfect.  If you eat an occasional non-supportive meal, the world will not end.  The sun will rise in the morning (even if obscured by clouds).  You will have another opportunity to get it right tomorrow.  And the sandwich wasn’t that “non-supportive.”  Well, except for the high fructose corn syrup.  That’s why it’s best not to even have it in the house; it got in between me and my empty stomach.
  3. If you’re hungry and you know you’re hungry, eat!  I’m not an expert on emotional eating, but I know I’ve done it and will probably do it again.  But after you get in the habit of eating supportive meals on most days of the week and spacing your calories throughout the day, you get in touch with your body’s needs and you know when your body is craving calories and you’re not using food as an “outlet.”

Now back to the e-mail…

This particular coffee establishment was advertising various breakfast and beverage items.  The title of their e-mail:

“Resolving to be healthier? (We) can help.”

How can they help?  Their advertised items are low in calories.

Is that a good thing?

We’re not going to get into your body’s metabolic needs in this post.  Suffice it to say, we have to consume enough calories — quality calories — so our body can function appropriately, so we don’t slow our metabolism.

Our body cannot differentiate between “cutting calories to lose weight” and starving.  If we don’t adequately fuel our body, our body will respond accordingly.

The e-mail got me thinking about the menu boards at restaurants like Panera Bread and McDonald’s, etc. that now indicate the number of calories contained in each food item.

That’s a nice start.

But it’s incomplete information.

For instance, in the coffeehouse e-mail, is the Small Lite Latte (under 200 calories) healthier than the under 300 calories Classic Oatmeal?

Seems obvious, right?

Maybe not to the calorie counter desperately trying to lose ten pounds.

How much fat?  Is it saturated?  How much sugar?  Any protein?

At every meal, try to eat a lean protein, a whole grain starchy carbohydrate, and a fibrous carbohydrate.  And try to limit empty calories from beverages (we’re not talking about meal-replacement smoothies here).

So, kudos to the coffeehouse.  They’re trying to be responsible citizens while trying to sell product at the same time.  Unfortunately, in their attempt to help, they’re adding to the confusion.

The focus should not be so much on the calories as on the nutrients: the fat, carbohydrates, and protein.  And the quality of those nutrients.

All that being said, if you’re hungry and you know it’s really hunger…

EAT.

 

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