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Podcast: Tracking Calories Pros and Cons

By | Dining, Healthy Eating | No Comments

Hey Health Nuts! Here is the link to listen to our first podcast episode. Give it a listen: Listen on Spotify

For those who prefer reading to listening, here are some of the key takeaways from our recent podcast episode on the Pros and Cons of tracking calories. Enjoy!

Pros

  1. It gives you an idea of how many calories you are consuming in a day. This is the obvious one! By tracking your calories, you can look back and see how much you ate in a day, as well as weekly averages. This is great if you are trying to lose fat or build muscle.
  2. It is a great way to keep track of your eating habits. You can see what foods you consistently eat, if there are certain days you tend to overeat, etc.
  3. Makes you a more mindful eater. By tracking everything you eat, you naturally become more aware of the calories and nutritional value of specific foods in your diet. This is especially valuable if you track before actually eating.
  4. It is easier/simpler than you think. I track all my meals, and it usually takes about 2 minutes before each meal with easy to use apps – more on those later!

Cons

  1. It can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food. Tracking calories is not for everyone, and it might cause you to stress about or overthink every little thing you eat, which can lead to anxiety.
  2. Tracking calories is difficult if you eat out often or don’t make your own meals. If you are at a restaurant, it’s impossible to know what oils, dressings, and sauces are used to prepare your food. It is also difficult to measure portion sizes at a restaurant or if someone else is making your dinner.
  3. If you’re not careful with tracking everything you eat and measuring portions, your calories won’t be accurate. Tracking calories takes diligence and precision. If you are incorrectly measuring portions of forgetting to track sauces, creams, or other small items – it can throw off your numbers.

Tools

  1. Download a calorie tracking app such as  MyFitnessPal or LoseIt on your phone. These apps are very similar, and I have used both. The apps make it simple to track food. There is a huge database of foods, and if what you are eating has a barcode, you can scan it and the nutritional information will automatically upload into the app. *Disclaimer – the apps don’t automatically know the amount of servings you are eating. You can adjust number of servings after picking a food item.
  2. Get a food scale. This is important in order to accurately measure the foods you are eating. You can get them fairly cheap on Amazon or in your local grocery store.

5 Tips for Avoiding Holiday Health Disaster

By | Dining, Food for thought, Health, Healthy Eating | No Comments

The holiday season is officially upon us. And with it comes family time, Christmas music, last minute shopping, and of course the greatest tradition of them all: binge eating and the ensuing guilt.

While the holidays are meant to be a time of relaxation and rejuvenation, they can be stressful for those with specific fitness goals or nutritional routines they’ve been trying to follow with fidelity. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, what better time to share some tips for avoiding the common health pitfalls the holidays bring.

1. Be forgiving with yourself.

“What the heck? Isn’t this supposed to be tips for staying healthy over the holidays?” Before you click out of the article, hear me out. Keeping a focus on your health is important. Avoiding stuffing your face with nutritionally void junk food is important. But enjoying time with your friends and family is important as well. So, the first tip is to understand and be alright with the fact that you might not eat perfectly and maintain your exact workout schedule over the holidays. And that’s alright. Just do your best to be conscious of your choices, and don’t beat yourself up for having a slice of Pumpkin Pie.

2. Plan Ahead

Planning meals and workouts is of the utmost importance for accomplishing health goals. It becomes even more important if your normal routine is thrown off. The holidays usually bring travel and abnormal schedules. Sit down at the start of each week, take a look at what you have planned, and then fill in times to get your workouts in. You will be much more likely to stay consistent over the holidays if you take time to fit it around your events and activities, as opposed to just saying “I will work out when I have some down time”.

 

3. Stay Hydrated!

I am part of the gallon-a-day club. Each morning I fill up my trusty jug, and swig from it on a routine basis until it is gone. Staying hydrated is one of those universal health hacks that you simply can’t afford to ignore. However, it is easy to slip up a bit with this habit during the holidays. Like everything else, it’s easier for the routine to be disrupted when you aren’t in your normal element.

While drinking enough water has an untold amount of health benefits, there is one in particular that helps during feast season – it fills you up! Simply consuming adequate water before a large meal greatly reduces the chances of overeating, as it helps you feel more satiated faster. So make sure eggnog isn’t the only thing you’re chugging this year!

 

4. Plan out your plate

There’s no two ways about it – Thanksgiving food is good. Mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, gravy, and all those deserts! And you want to sample them all, and that’s fine. But the key word is sample. The goal doesn’t need to be avoiding these delectable foods completely, but rather having some degree of moderation.

Start by filling your plate with some healthier, more nutritious items such as vegetables, turkey, and salad. Once you have taken up a decent portion of your plate, sprinkle some of the additional goodies on. That way, you can still enjoy everything, but you will have put emphasis on filling your plate with mostly healthy items to start.

 

5. Don’t forget to sleep

Most people view the holidays as a time to relax and catch up on sleep. No work, no school – time to sleep in. Ironically, we can sometimes get less sleep over the holidays than normal. People tend to stay up later, go out with friends, and put less emphasis on their sleep because they don’t have to be “up and at ‘em” for work. Obviously, enjoy your time off. Have fun with your friends. But sleep! The more quality sleep you get, the more controlled your blood sugar is. This enables you to curb your appetite and avoid over eating.

 

Follow these 5 tips, enjoy your holidays, and always keep an eye out for Shredded Santa busting through a chimney near you December 24.

Shredded Santa using present delivery as a time to grab a quick HIIT workout