Part III: All Calories Were NOT Created Equal

Weight Loss Unmasked: A five part series looking deeper at why we struggle with losing weight

Photo c/o: dailyfood

By Briana Boehmer

We’ve all heard it, a calorie is a calorie is a calorie. I spent nearly 2 years researching and working on energy metabolism post college and sure enough, fundamentally a calorie no matter how you cut it is a calorie. A calorie is a measure of energy derived from food. However, it’s important to look at the big picture…it’s just not that simple! When it comes to weight loss and how your body processes energy in relation to your daily needs the SOURCE of your calories can make a difference.

There is still a lot of research to be done on low-carb, low-fat, and every other form of diet combination out there. Researchers are working hard daily to unravel the mysteries around how we gain and lose weight. Yet let’s not forget a very important concept: Too much of ANYTHING can have serious health implications (yes, there can be too much of a good thing). Your body needs each of the three macronutrients – carbohydrates, fat and protein for a reason. Hence you need to carefully consider your PERSONAL needs for each when looking at your daily nutrition.

It is my contention that we are certainly not undernourished in this country, but we are MALNOURISHED. Simply put, we don’t get all of the essential nutrients we need to truly fuel our body to optimal health. Think of it this way, if you ate chocolate all day and made sure it was just the “right” amount to meet your needs would that be healthy? Of course not, you would be missing so much nutrition from your diet…so in this case a calorie is not a calorie in that they are not all created equal!

Ok, so now you’re asking how do I find and eat the BEST calories and lose weight? That is the million dollar question. You have your own unique needs, so again make sure you focus on your body. However, when starting to change your diet for the better determine how well you are supplying your body with the following:

  • Fiber: Instrumental in digestive health, fiber is not able to be completely digested by your body and hence has shown positive results in relation to weight loss. Fiber tends to have a satiating effect and helps regulate blood sugar levels.
  • Protein: Beyond the obvious nutritional value of protein for your body, it also is the most satiating of the three macronutrients.
  • Fruits and Veggies: When I have my clients log their food I am always shocked at how low fruit and veggie consumption tends to be. I have had many people say they are getting in “plenty” of these two vital food groups, yet when the rubber hits the road they are severely lacking. Start simple and journal your fruit and veggie consumption…I bet you’ll be surprised at what you find.

I have one final task for you – Take the time to journal your food in 411Fit.com for TWO weekdays and ONE weekend.  In my next blog I will have you assign nutritional “values” to the food you consumed so that you can see first-hand the impact of the calories you are eating!

Want to know more? Check out the first two parts of this blog series, Part I: You Have To EAT To Lose Weight and Part 2:Food Journaling Matters A LOT.

Finding Community Contributes to Achieving Weight Loss Goals

By: Guest Blogger Laura Kinart

Hello everyone!!!!  Who is Laura Kinart?  Great question, sometimes I still don’t know  =)

I am a 32 year old mom of two and wife to one.  I was an athlete growing up; I danced, played soccer and also played softball.  I was always pretty thin and healthy at a weight of 125-135 throughout my high school years.  Then I went to college, and decided I didn’t want to play sports anymore and I stopped taking dance classes as well.  But I still wanted to be thin, so instead of eating healthy and going to the free gym that UW-Parkside had right there in my dorm, I started to follow some unhealthy diets.  My junior year in college I began the year being pretty much anorexic, I lost a lot of weight and went from a size 8 to a size 4 because I basically didn’t eat.  I didn’t want to “work” at losing weight so I just decided not to intake any calories.  At my sisters college graduation my mom took me aside and told me I was too thin (because while a size 4 might look great on some women, it made me look sick).  From that point on I knew I needed to eat.

But instead of adapting to a healthy lifestyle yet again, I just thought I needed to eat.  I was terrified to look sick again, so I ate, and ate…and ate.  In the period of about 3 years I went from 140lbs to 230lbs.  Then from 2007-2009 I had two babies and went up to my highest weight of 264, wearing a size 20 that was really too tight because I just wouldn’t buy a size 22.  I lived at that weight and size for about a year.

Then in 2010, I saw a picture of myself.  I was sitting there at 264lbs and felt horrible!  So I started working out and I was doing interval classes 2-3 times a week for about six months, but only lost 5lbs during that time.  That is when I realized that my problem was not burning the calories off….but bringing them in.  I wasn’t realizing how many calories I was really eating and why.

In August of 2010, I started working with a Personal Trainer and he had me doing some amazing workouts and watching what I was eating.  And then while I was running up a hill, I rolled my ankle and re-tore a ligament in it. I had lost 25lbs in two months and after I was injured, I gained 5lbs back.

In December 2010, I realized that if I didn’t figure out why I was the weight I was, I was going to die before I turned 60.  I wouldn’t be a grandma, or a great-grandma, heck I might even miss my kids’ weddings or college graduations. That was NOT okay with me. 

So I sat down and talked it out with myself, my husband and my sister.  I was completely honest with not only my family, but more importantly….myself.   That is when I realized that I have an addiction to food.  I love it too much!  I rely on it to help me when I am having a bad day…or a good day.  I use it in my life in so many more ways than just nutrition and that is when I decided I needed to tackle my addiction.  Watching shows on TV about drug addiction, I realized that the way I felt about food was the same way those people felt about cocaine or heroin; and it honestly scared me.

So I knew I needed to do something, and the only thing that I could think of was Weight Watchers.  I didn’t want a plan or diet that gave me the food to eat, because that wasn’t going to teach me a darn thing.  And on 1/11/11, with my sister as my partner, I started weight watchers to help me focus on the food and it has taught me so many things! I started 2011 in a XXL and finished in a medium!  I started 2011 at 244lbs (after losing 20lbs) and am now 189lbs!

I realized that this is going to take some time, I still have 50lbs I would like to lose this year, and that I need to be happy with each station in the process.  Am I at goal yet?  NO, but I am at a size I haven’t been in since 2004!!!!  I have to realize that the process will work if I am honest with myself, and that it isn’t a week to week process, it is much more than that.  And if I have a bad week, or even two in a row, if my average is still a loss, then I am still moving in the right direction. What I learned is that I need to forgive myself if I do indulge in something!  Because I cannot and will not be perfect 100% of the time, and that is okay!!!

This is a struggle, and it is a lifetime process.  But instead of looking at it as a burden, I’ve started looking at it as a blessing, because now I can help people who are in a similar place to where I was just last year.  And that is why I came to 411Fit.  I know I can be a part of a community of people working toward the same goals.  I am here to share my journey with you and hopefully you will share your journey with me.  Just like all the amazing tools within 411Fit to help you track and hold you accountable to your personal goals and progress, I can be a tool to help motivate you to keep it up!

Ready to start your journey with 411Fit? Register today!