Remember when calories mattered? When they were all the rage? Then it was sugar and everything became sugar free. Then we eliminated fat, but had to add sugar so the cardboard was palatable. Soon after carbs became the enemy. The truth is we need all of that, okay, maybe less sugar, but we need good fats, and vegetables and fruits ARE carbs. And after all calories still matter. They’re just not very glamorous.
The science hasn’t changed, these diet shenanigans were mostly marketing tools used to keep us from getting bored with the same old stuff. Pulling our dollars in this way and that. And it made us fat and unhealthy. It confused our metabolism and messed with our heads.
Let’s take a trip back to simpler times and revisit the calorie.
Before you yawn and turn to something shinier, would it interest you to know that in other countries calories are called energy units?
We are going to combine two boring things you thought you would never use again and make it fun. Calories and math.
Back in the day we would look at a chart that had our age and weight and say, okay, I should be consuming 2,000 calories a day. Good start, but it’s a little more complex than that.
Food is fuel to be used as energy. We expend energy during the day, and even when we sleep.
Ergo: Energy Units Consumed (food/calories) minus Energy Expended (breathing/moving) = Energy Burned or Energy Stored. If you take in more energy than you expend in a day what is left over becomes either stored energy or excess weight in the body.
If you use more fuel than energy units taken in you will either be depleted or lose weight.
But what I really love is this connection to food. By calling them calories we make them something unrelatable to our workaday lives. Knowing we need energy to perform tasks and well, live, we now can also see that food is the fuel that gives us said energy.
It simplifies everything. Obviously some energy units are more packed with nutrients than others. But the math still stands.
So as I start playing with my food this week I will look at my food as an energy source, not just something to satisfy my physical or emotional appetite. If I can recognize that my appetite is driven by emotions, I must also realize that eating to pacify those emotions will actually fuel them instead, leading me to eat more of the ‘bad’ stuff.
Or, I can just figure out how much energy I need to burn to make those sweet little chocolates disappear.