Part THREE- The Sweet Facts

For this week’s post, I’m going to post in two parts because the original is so long. Also, I’m going to stray a bit from the Stress Eater Diet book that has been our primary focus. While the book doesn’t extensively cover this topic, it does discuss “empty” calories (pgs. 76-77) and sugar facts (pgs. 180-183) to some degree (which I will go over momentarily). So let’s begin….

Sugars (hidden and obvious):

When we start talking about hidden and obvious sugars, we also need to start thinking about total daily caloric intake. All foods, processed and/or whole, provide the body with calories in the form of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. I’m going to take a minute to get a little technical here because each of these three macronutrients delivers a different amount of calories per gram.

There are four (4) calories for every gram of carbohydrates and each gram of protein. While there are nine (9) calories for every gram of fat (also called lipids). You’ll find though that food manufacturers aren’t the best at math, so when you look at the Nutrition Label you can do a quick check of their math. For example, the knock-off brand of peanut butter I have in the cupboard says a serving size is two (2) tablespoons and that there are 200 calories per serving. For Carbs, we have 6g x 4= 24. For Fats, 16g x 9= 144. For Proteins, 9g x 4= 36. (24+144+36= 204) But wait! The label said 200 calories, didn’t it? It sure did. See here’s the thing with the way the FDA manages the law regarding the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (which passed in 1966), manufacturers can round up or down. It’s their choice. In the Nutrition class I took a few semesters ago, our teacher provided a more startling example where the calorie total was off by nearly twenty. I don’t recall the exact numbers and I’ve misplaced my notebook from that class, but basically the manufacturer decided since the calorie amount was closer to an even 200 (or something) as opposed to 250 they’d call it 200 instead of the 230 that it really was. That’s just one example of hidden calories. Though, not the kind I originally had in mind when I started writing this. Lol. There’s tangent one!

NOW….

Have you ever stopped to consider the amount of sugar(s) you ingest in a single day? You might be surprised. The many forms that sugar and sweeteners take can make it difficult to gauge just how much is consumed. Any ingredient ending in -ose is also some form of sugar, so don’t just be on the lookout for the usual suspects. Start reading food and drink labels, the results may shock you.

Sugar Shock

Furthermore, you may actually be addicted to the sugary things you’re consuming. But if you are dissatisfied with your weight or with your lack of success with weight-loss, you may get an additional jolt to know that those foods and drinks may be what’s standing in your way of achieving success and a balanced weight. And switching to a low-fat diet is NOT the answer! (More on this in Part Four’s post.)

What I mean by a balanced weight is this: We usually define our weight in terms of the number which appears on our scale every time we step on it, but weight is so much more complex. Our body’s bone structure, height, and muscle tone do more to helping figure out a good weight for ourselves than the number on the scale alone ever could.

Home Scale

I actually believe the scale is just a tool to measure progress in a quantifiable way, not as the end all, be all to weight-loss. Our bodies are amazing things. So much goes on to regulate and balance things that we don’t even have to think about for it to happen! Homeostasis is the perfect balance which the human body continually strives for, but most of us don’t consume an adequately nutrient-dense diet to feed our body’s cells what’s needed to achieve its goal. BUT when we start eating a balanced diet, free of excess sugars, processing, and synthetic additives, our bodies can more efficiently manage the resources we send via the foods we eat. {Also, and most people don’t know or think about this, the body’s pH level is highly important to helping your body reach homeostasis. Because of a diet lacking in proper nutrients and sitting around letting the digesting food to ferment in our bodies, many people are highly acidic. Diabetics frequently become so acidic that they have what is called acidosis. Though, some people can go the other direction and be so alkaline that they have what is called alkalosis. Neither condition is healthy for the body in long-term (chronic) settings. There is so much information on this that I will do a blog in the future on it.}

Caloric BalanceA caloric balance maintains weight, but a shift either way will result in change. More intake with less output (or at least not an increase as well) will lead to weight gain. While more output with less intake (or at least not an increase as well) will lead to weight loss. The following pic is based on a 2,500 Calorie Diet:

Weightloss Made Simple

Having a set eating time frame of say 7am-7pm for 5-7 days a week is one way to help level out weight issues. Though, if you work the night shift that may prove problematic. So instead it might be easier to remember to eat within 1/2 – 1 hour from the time you get up and have your last meal/ snack 2-3 hours prior to going to sleep. Another thing is to cut out “diet” products such as diet soda because all that those products do is temporarily trick your brain into thinking you’ve sent in some good energy supplying substance and once your body has processed the item it gets a serious let down and demands more of you because you didn’t give it what it needed. This leads to over eating at meals, extra snacking (usually on junk foods), and more empty calories which just feed the cycle. You feel stressed, sluggish, just blah, and watch as the pounds pack on over the course of days, weeks, months, and years. (I know, I fell into that trap since starting college. I put on 40 Lbs. in my first 2 1/2 years of school! It was my snacking and late evening meals that did it, and lack of adequate physical activity. But I am working to get back to a balanced weight. So far, I’ve lost 10 Lbs. and that’s with better dietary choices/ modifications and some light to moderate exercise 2-5 times a week. If I step it up, I should start seeing more results.) Tangent two. Lol. I couldn’t resist sharing these good tips! 😀

What exactly are “empty” calories?

A.K.A. Junk foods! Basically, any food that’s serving size is high in calories, but low in hunger satisfaction.

So, please Stop the insanity! Diet foods and drinks are not the answer! A balanced diet of fresh and cooked foods IS, plus a regular dose of moderate exercise (the kind that gets your heart rate up a bit; it’s good for you) will go a long way to bringing your body to a balanced state of well-being. Your body will find its own natural weight zone. AND you’ll know when you’ve gotten there because not only will you like what you see in the mirror, you will have more energy and feel freer! (Yes, I am speaking from experience. I stopped the insanity at 170 lbs., though no one ever could guess/believe that’s how much I weighed because my body likes to semi-evenly distribute the “wealth” of excess calories that have been stored.)

{To be continued on Thursday.}

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