You have started the year right — you wake up religiously at six in the morning to go for a jog, you have been prepping your own meals to bring to the office, you have been limiting your late nights to a minimum, yet the numbers on your weighing scale does not bring a smile to your face. Why is this so?
Overlooking Your Calories
This may come as a surprise to some and can be a tough pill to swallow — even the healthiest food contains calories. While you are on the right track in your weight loss quest by being extra conscious of what you eat and opting to consume only nutritious foods for your three main meals, it does not necessarily mean that you can let your appetite run wild and devour infinite amounts of these foods just because they are supposedly good for you and expect yourself to lose weight.
A sumptuous dinner of chargrilled salmon, a bowl of Caesar’s salad with a serving of whole-grain pasta is no doubt healthy, but do not fall into the trap of overlooking the numbers. You would be surprised at the digits once you take a moment to break it down — a regular six-ounce of salmon accompanied by a serving of whole-grain pasta already clocks you in at 700 calories, while that bowl of Caesar’s salad that contains a tablespoon each of vinegar and olive oil brings the overall tally to well over 8oo calories.
Weight loss is essentially a numbers game: your calorie intake versus calorie output. Opting for highly nutritious foods merely makes up for one half of the equation — you need to count those calories along the way and be wary of that fake health halo levitating over those healthy food spreads.
Overcompensating For Exercise
You brought your shoe bag to the office, along with your running attire and an extra bag of makeup pimp yourself up a little prettier after you squeeze in that lunchtime run around the Central Business District area. You slipped into your ravishing office dress with fifteen minutes left of your lunch hour to spare and decided to reward yourself with not only a pat on the back, but with a free pass wild card for eating too. Now, you may want to bring out your dusty Mathematics textbook and do a quick recap of some of the syllabus because that is certainly not how the number game works.
While the fitness magazines or forums that you subscribe to may promise a 500-calorie burn every time you go for a run or sweat it out in spin class, the fact of the matter is that the number varies with every person. Someone of a higher metabolism might be able to burn off 500 calories, whereas an average woman like you and I may only be able to burn 300 calories with the same activity. For the most accurate info, track your calories with an activity monitor be fully aware of your calorie burn throughout the day. And remember, if you still happen to be in a giving mood despite Christmas being long gone and decide to always reward yourself with a free eating pass with a calorie intake equal to the one you have burned earlier, then it is as good as you not having burned any calories at all.
We all love a good meal once in a while, don’t we? Or maybe you always look forward to the weekly sushi session with your girls at your favourite Japanese restaurant where all of you can let your hair down and gossip about the latest weekly happenings in the office. But there seems to be one small problem — you don’t really know the specific ingredients that land in your dish. Well, the restaurants provide us with the nutritional info of the individual dishes on the menu, you may argue. However, we are willing to bet our last marketing dollar that those are merely estimates based on the actual recipes. Besides, if you were ever part of a kitchen crew before, you’d realise that no one on the kitchen floor is weighing and measuring each ingredient precisely before whipping up the dish.
Don’t get us wrong, it is not a blasphemy to dine out with your family and friends. However, if you notice that the number on your weighing scale doesn’t seem to budge even after you make smart food choices while dining out, maybe you should consider cutting it back a little.
It is easy to forget about the little extras, even when you are already cautious about your main food choices. Yes, we feel you — how can you resist the irresistible triple sauce combination of sweet onion, honey mustard and ketchup when placing your order in Subway. But these little bits certainly add up. A tablespoon of ketchup roughly contains about 20 calories, while a tablespoon of mayo clocks in at 90 calories and ten grams of fat.
While these condiments are by no means off-limits, the numbers definitely count, so it would be wise to keep a close eye on what you sip or much on. Ignorance is never bliss when it comes to your macros!