I was riding a bike at work this morning and as I was trying to figure out what I was going to do for lunch I saw a commercial for Kellogg’s 100 calorie packs. I will admit while riding the bike I started feel a little peckish and the thought of eating some potato chips seemed pretty awesome compared to a quick protein shake. Then they showed their little 100 calorie cookies, “What are these cookies for ants?” So to keep me from firing down a dozen 100 calorie packs of chips and cookies I decided I would write about it instead, while sipping on my protein shake with phytoberries (FYI: tastes like chocolate covered cherries).
There is a misnomer in the world that calorie counting is king. This is simply not the case, I’m sure I’ve written about this before but it’s worth reiterating. If people were to solely focus on how many calories they consume life would be easier, but it wouldn’t be healthier. Let’s use a car analogy, if I need to put 60 litres of gasoline in my car to keep it running for a week I can’t simply replace it with any fluid. Imagine a world where people sit there with 30 2-Litre bottles of Pepsi, Pepsi MAX for sports cars, filling up. In many ways your body is no different. Proper fuel is important.
I think I’d like to flex my intellectual muscle a bit first and explain what a calorie is. It is simply a unit of energy, yes that’s right you can convert calories into Watts, BTUs really any other unit of energy. Crazy right? So that’s important to remember all calories are the energy needed to do work. Fun fact there are 7594 calories of energy in a litre of gasoline. Don’t Drink Gasoline!
Now we have established that a calorie is no more impressive than a BBQ propane tank, we need to figure out where we get that fuel, obviously carrying around a propane tank for your lunch would be dumb. For the sake of this we’re going to discuss macronutrients, Carbohydrates, Protein and Fat. I’m not going to go into great detail about each of them because that would get very sciency and I’m still trying to keep my geekness quiet. Let’s just leave it as each have an important role and you should strive to have a proper balance. Enter the next paragraph.
What’s the proper balance? There’s a lot of literature out there and sifting through it can be daunting. The Coles notes of it is something like this between 40-60% of calories from Carbohydrates, 20-30% of calories from Protein and 20-30% from Fat. There are a lot of other ways to calculate actual values, things like 9g per kg of lean body mass etc, but that’s a lot of math. In fact that does seem like a lot of math, there must be an easier way.
When we do meal plans for clients we strive to keep it simple, if it’s simple you’re going to do it. If I gave you a huge list of different things you had to do, you would jump ship pretty quick. I’ve had people in my office talking about their diet they paid $100’s of dollars for and it has these weird stipulations. Things like every time you have protein take a squeeze of lemon and cayenne pepper. I don’t know I don’t get it. So here’s our secret, 2 palms and a thumb. Pretty easy stuff. Look at your palm, find a piece of protein that size, now find a serving of vegetables or fruit about the same size. Now move your focus to your thumb, find a fat about the same size. Arrange nicely on plate, (if you’re not a hipster skip this next step) take a picture apply various instragram filters and post to the social web. Consume this meal. After completion of the meal take a look at your thumb, close your fist and extend your thumb as high as you can. Recognize that you just gave yourself a thumbs up for eating healthy. Do this between 4 to 5 times a day and you’ll be eating healthy. Don’t believe me… try it, give this model two weeks if you don’t feel better, sorry for wasting two weeks of your life. If you do feel better, spread the word at how easy it can be to eat healthy.
Thanks for listening while I rambled on, all triggered by tiny cookies.