I have been on the calorie “watching” train again (WOO WOO!) and doing really, really well. 2 pounds down, I feel lighter, find my exercises much easier, clothes fitting better. Amazing what 2 little pounds off your gut will do for ya when you are only a measly 5 feet tall! In the grand scheme of the world, do those 2 pounds matter for anything? Absolutely not! It came off because I started watching my calories again, being a little bit more aware of what I put in my mouth, making better choices and not going overboard, which for my size, is SO incredibly easy to do and I am sure, something I will do again.
But, one interesting thing I noticed from my calories yesterday, I am still eating way too many carbs. Why are carbs so bad? In and of themselves, they aren’t – they give you the energy you need to move your body and work out but too many of them, more than your body needs and those bad little guys just turn into fat. Protein is what turns fat into muscle as you work out and without those building blocks, no matter how much you work out, you won’t see the results you want. More muscle means you burn more calories doing the same amount of exercise than with less muscle. So for all of you cardio fiends out there, you MUST throw in some weight or Crossfit exercises, if you are looking to lower your body fat, unless you plan to become some kind of marathon runner and have your knees give out by the time you are 30 (or 40 or whatever the case may be – can you tell I HATE running??).
The ideal calorie breakdown is 40% carbs, 30% fat and 30% protein. Good fats, people – not fried chicken and french fries but olive oil, nuts, avocados, even peanut butter, in moderation. My boot camp training to shoot for 40%, 20%, 40%, which I think is pretty much impossible. I have been working my ass off, just trying to get close to the 30% protein for a long time now and falling woefully short. Yesterday was a prime example:
I apologize for how tiny the picture is so you will have to click on it to see the details. Then, just use the back button on your browser to get back to this entry. As you can see, my calorie breakdown yesterday was a whopping 51% carbs, 29% fat and only 20% protein. Obviously I stayed away from the high fat foods but where did all those carbs come from?
First up, breakfast cereal. I eat non-GMO, high fiber Kashi cereal 3 days a week, which has extra vitamins and protein added, as most cereals do but the carbs – 18 carbs in a measly little 1/2 a cup serving. Ouch. Hence why I changed to eating egg whites 2 out of the 5 work days a week.
Next, my daily fiber/protein bar for a mid morning snack – only 5 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein but 16g of carbs in only 130 calories. WAY too much!
And it goes on and on – Evol Street Tacos for lunch – only 220 calories but 36g of carbs compared to only 7 of protein. My entire dinner was only 450 calories but contained 47g of carbs from 1 piece of bread and a container of yogurt (though the yogurt did have 15 grams of protein).
Long story short, I need to find more high protein, lower carb snacks and meals to balance out my calories a little better. Every wonder where those little rolls come from around your waist, legs, arms or back? Carbs. I am definitely NOT advocating no carbs – sorry, South Beach and Atkins diet fans. I think any diet that restrictive is not good for you in the long run and impossible to keep up. Again, just closer to the 40/30/30 breakdown I mentioned above. It is just SO hard though because carbs are hidden in even the healthiest of sounding food. If you are going to eat carbs, they really should be more whole foods like fruits rather than cereal and protein bars. I know this and have known this for a long time, just very tough to put into theory, for some reason.
So, there is my struggle, dear readers – as I am sure it is for you too. As I start to find more higher protein/lower carbs easy snacks and meals I love, I will try and share with you, if case you would like to try and make some changes too. I have already changed so much in my lifestyle, my eating habits, sometimes it feels like you are giving up too much and just not living, you know? I think this last step has been the toughest for that very reason but one that will be well worth it, in the long run. Let’s see how it goes!