Tag Archives: energy

Why calories should be ignored…

It has been months since I did a lesson on my course. My excuse is that I have been busy, and while that is definitely true, I feel the need to get back into the studying groove.  This morning, I picked up my next Nutrition lesson to discover… it is all about calories.

calories

Reading through the study lesson, it soon became clear that my attitude to calories (I don’t think they tell you the whole story and frankly are nothing more than numbers in a chart)  is absolutely right.  Did you know that the calorie data on the sides of the packets are calculated by either burning the food in a vacuum and measuring the energy output (ummm…. Our bodies are not in a vaccuum… and my body might not use the food like your body does.  Hell, I have conclusive proof that my body doesn’t work like ANYONE else’s body does!), or by estimating the calories on the basis of the weight of protein, carbohydrates and fats in the food.  Hang on.  Estimates?  People are making decisions about how much to eat on the basis of this information.  I want actual figures thank you very much.  And anyway… won’t one sort of carbohydrate burn differently than another type of carbohydrate?  Calories are inherently garbage and should be ignored.  Entirely.

No

So, yes, needless to say I am a little hot under the collar about all this calorie garbage.  I know it is fashionable to use calories to dictate your food intake.  But proper nutrition is about more than the number of calories in and the number of calories you use.  Whilst I agree that there needs to be a deficit of calories in order to lose weight, just ensuring that you get 1700 calories a day is not a sure fire success guide to weight loss.  If it was, I would look very different.

vegetables

No, proper nutrition is about using your noggin, using your own knowledge and working out what works for you.  For example, I know that for me, fat is rarely the issue.  Usually the problem is more likely to be sugar.  Hey, I am pre-diabetic and have been for 2 decades now, so that isn’t too weird.  It is almost to be expected.  So, I take very careful note of the sugar content of low fat foods.  Quite often food manufacturers will take out fat and add in sugar in order to make them taste better.  Sneaky swines that they are.  I also know that my body likes to have fruit and vegetables.  My body objects to having too much bread and yeasty or malty things in there too.  So, in the end, I eat a healthy and nutritious diet because I know what my body likes and what it doesn’t.  It is pretty simple when you get right down to it, isn’t it?

calories meme

But calories?  No.  Calories are a measurement used by scientists and they have no relation to eating properly or not eating properly.

No I have got that off my chest, perhaps I can get on with my lesson and answering the questions properly?  Here’s hoping anyway!

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I am no superwoman!

I love social media.  And I think I might be ever so slightly addicted to Facebook.  I have been on it for 7 or 8 years now, and there is not a day that goes by when I don’t post a status update on my personal account.  I love the interaction I get with my friends and my family in far flung parts of the world, and I often learn a thing or two.  I also love the support and assistance that you get from people when things get tough.  I will never forget the outpouring of love that my family and I received when my Father died suddenly.  Thinking of it now, brings tears to my eyes.

facebook

One thing that I do a lot on my status updates is post about what I want to do get done during the day.  It is rather like having a to do list, that keeps me accountable because other people are reading it.  I often write about everything I want to get done, and sometimes I post the ta da list…all the things I have got done.  One comment which is often made on these occasions is “Wow.  You have done loads.  You must be superwoman.”

 

I find this perplexing.  I am not superwoman.  I am just doing the stuff that needs to be done.  I see a job, I do it.  I see a job, I postpone it tomorrow and then I do it.  I would assume that this is what human beings have been doing every day since we crawled from the primordial ooze.  For as long as history has kept track, people have needed to multi-task, working, growing food, cooking the food, having the babies, raising the babies, making clothes, etc.  I once read a social history of women in the Middle Ages, and the fact that their life looked a lot like mine made me smile and take comfort that if they could do it without the benefits of modern technology, then with all the labour saving devices I have at my disposal, my life is an absolute cake walk!

labour saving tech

But all these comments on my facebook statuses have made me think a little bit.  How do I do all these jobs?  How do I manage to stay on top of everything?  There is a dual process.  I have written before about lists.  I love them.  My lists have lists.  I have master lists and minor lists.  Love them. LOVE them, LOVE THEM!  But it doesn’t stop there.

 

I also spend some time imagining the jobs that I know need to be done, getting done.  So, for example, last night I knew that I was going to have to do an emergency load of laundry after the cats were sick on the counterpane on our bed.  (Thanks Kitties.  Just.  Thanks.) So, I lay in bed, thinking about how I was going to fit it in this morning.  I imagined me going downstairs with an armful of washing and putting it in our lovely washing machine, then going back to the top of stairs to feed the cats.  I also imagined myself doing all the other jobs I had on my to do list.   Guess what?  That is JUST how it worked this morning.  And I have loads of energy left to do the other things that I know need doing and weren’t really on my list for today.  Like writing this blog.  (Sorry… but at least I remembered!! 🙂 )

imagination

So, unless Imagination is classed as a superpower, I am not superwoman.  I am just a human being, doing what needs to be done.

Going back. Again.

Today, I start back at the gym.  I gave up going to the gym back in November when I got ill, with that we think was glandular fever.  I am heading back to the gym, like lots of other people, after the post-Christmas New Year’s Resolution rush to get fit.  My plan is to use the combination of exercise and portion control to get fighting fit in preparation for becoming a Mum via adoption.

50 reasons

On the basis that if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got, I am searching for Motivation to help me when I get the inevitable attack of the CBAs (Can’t be Asked).  Where do I go for short sharp inspiration?  My favourite Pinterest of course!  It came up with the goods.  50 reasons to exercise.  I won’t trail through the whole 50, because otherwise I will spend all my day at the computer, and not go to the gym!  Here, instead, are the edited highlights.

 

Exercise makes you feel happier through the release of endorphins.  It improves your self esteem, because you are achieving something as well as making yourself look better.  If you are studying and want to boost you learning, then get with your books and get on the stationary bike!  Exercise lifts your mood, keeps your brain fit, reduces stress and boosts your immune system.

exercise advice

It also apparently has anti-ageing effects and boosts your creative thinking.  It improves sleeping patterns, helps to control addictions, improves your eating habits and improves your posture.  Exercise can also keep you focussed in life and strengthens your bones.

 

If you exercise regularly, your cholesterol levels improve, you lower your risk of certain cancers, you can lower high blood pressure without resorting to drugs, it reduces your risk of diabetes, can fight the onset of dementia, eases back pain and decreases the risk of osteoporosis.

exercise

Some obvious ones now.  Exercise increases your energy and endurance, improves sport performance, improves pain resistance and lessens fatigue.  Also, aerobic exercise improves oxygen supply to blood cells.

 

Do I think that these reasons will help motivate me?  Well, hopefully.  I also need to keep my eye on the prize;  I want to feel like I have the energy to keep up with a small person (or people) when they come into my life.  I also want to feel better about myself.  But the main thing I have to remember is to break the habit of a lifetime and not do too much, too soon and burn up or burn out.

pool

So, on that note, I am off to try out the exercise bikes (slowly), maybe the treadmills (for some walking) and get in the pool and do some lengths.  After all that, I am going to treat myself to a sit in the steam room!