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calories

Rachel Stopped Counting Calories and Started Eating Intuitively

Rachel Stopped Counting Calories and Started Eating Intuitively

Calorie counting used to consume Rachel's life. After five months of carefully tracking every single meal, Rachel decided that enough was enough.  "After I reached my goal weight, I simply couldn't find motivation to eat healthy," she revealed. "I was mentally tired. When I was counting calories, my life was full of ups and downs and I was tired of living this way. I asked myself - 'Is this how I have to live my whole life?'" While using PumpUp, Rachel began to eat intuitively. Gradually, she thought less and less about how many calories were in her meals and focused more on the quality of food that she was eating. Over the course of two years, Rachel lost 52 pounds.

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Share your favourite holiday memory for #tbt! Do you wanna build a snowman (like PumpUp member @bangerz10?) It burns an average of 285 calories per hour. Neat, huh?

Understanding the importance of a calorie

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This is a post by fashion and fitness blogger Jodi-Kay Edwards. Follow her on PumpUp @jodikayedwards and on her blog, lifestylefinesse.com.

Cal-o-ries {noun}: Tiny creatures that live in your closet and sew your clothes a little bit tighter every-night.

We have all heard the term counting calories right? While it is important to know the nutritional value of what you are eating, counting calories should not be your main concern when trying to get healthy or lose weight. My previous post on Metabolism, Anabolism and Catabolism explained that the body harbors many biochemical reactions. Today we are going to continue talking about what is happening on the inside so we can eventually get a better idea of how to make changes to the outside.

Previously on my blog I wrote about the set point for homeostasis, the point where you body tries to maintain a constant internal environment no matter the external environment. Another set point created by environmental factors is known as the metabolic set point. The body aims to maintain a set base rate of metabolism which becomes your basal metabolic rate. Research for weight loss shows that we can change our metabolic set point by how we vary our physical and dietary needs. This set point is controlled by not only our genetics, but environmental factors as well.

Metabolic set point: The average rate at which your metabolism runs

People with a slow metabolism tend to store fat more easily, while we all know at least one person who can eat pizza and ice-cream for days upon days and never gain an ounce of fat. I like to call those people the chosen one. No but really, take a moment to release your anger towards them. *Quiet moment*

Our metabolic set point is easily influenced by our external environment, nutrition, exercise climate etc. This is why it is better to eat several small meals a day instead of just our basic three. A good way to boost your metabolism is actually to eat more in smaller portions so our body does not go into starvation mode. Studies show that those who go on low calorie diets actually decrease their metabolic set point as the body is trying to conserve energy, in turn the body starts to reset itself to burn fewer calories. While the opposite is true exercise increases our metabolic rate.

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The type of food that we eat also influences our metabolism. We hear the term burning calories all the time, well what does that mean? It means that all foods release heat when they are burned, this heat is measured in a kilocalorie.

Calorie: A unit of heat (A verrrrrrry small unit)

Next time you reach for something think twice about what you will be getting back from it. Eat to live don’t live to eat. When we look at calories from protein we  know that those calories are being used for repairing and growth of new tissue and organs. Calories from carbs are used for energy, and calories from fat are generally stored as just that since they have the same molecular structure as body fat. Understanding calories will help you to understand how to set up your own meal plan, only counting calories will set you up for failure. Know how your body will consume calories and make good food choices!

Next time you lift your fork, think about what you are putting into your body, not all calories are bad, however the bad ones will be those little creatures that come in and sew your clothes a little bit tighter every-night.

Is counting calories helpful?

Guest post by Siya Natseva. Follow Siya on her blog, PumpUp (@cinnamonontop), and Instagram/Tumblr cinnamonontop8.

To almost any woman, counting calories is second nature. It’s what we do. Checking and double-checking, calculating away. And wincing throughout the process, as if the mere thought of Ben & Jerry’s instantaneously added a few inches around our waists! For the other half of the species – and, yes, every rule has an exception - the business of counting calories isn’t a matter of life and death. If you questioned the average female on this, though, she’d tell you that: ‘What do men know about food and calories?! Is this a legitimate enquiry?’

But, as has repeatedly been demonstrated, much of our health knowledge is incorrect. In fact, is counting calories really helping us? Or is it a scam, something we’ve conveniently been tricked into swearing by? And, no, this article is not purely intended for Venuses.

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(Image c/o Rebloggy)

Obsessive? Navigate away from calorie-counting

Subjectively, as someone who has struggled with her weight over her teenage years, I’m palpably against counting calories. Past struggles notwithstanding, it’s in my character to obsess over insignificant issues like the total sum of calories I consume on any given day. It’s an easy trap I fall into and avoiding it at all costs is crucial for my peace of mind. Eating healthy, maintaining an active lifestyle and embracing a positive mind-set is where my focus is. If you worry too much about digits and tend to turn health into a Math class, you’re better off without a calorie calculator nearby.

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(Source: Tumblr)

Calories aren’t nutrients

Calories are units of energy. We eat a meal and, in exchange, we receive energy to support the body functions and get on with our errands. But for health enthusiasts, it’s clear that calories aren’t the only paramount piece of information on a label and, even if they were, quantity doesn’t ensure ‘quality’. Yes, quality of calories is a thing! This is an article of its own, but ‘calories’ aren’t synonymous with ‘nutrients’. A 52 g Snickers bar will provide you with, I don’t know, 245 units of energy, but what else? Apart from the instant energy and refined sugar, there’s not much in the way of nutrition in a Snickers bar. Simply ‘collecting’ calories doesn’t reflect a healthy lifestyle. The aim should be to eat a varied and nutritious diet, without a particular concern for calories.

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(Image c/o wifflegif)

It’s a waste of valuable time

Counting calories is a lengthy and dreary activity. You could spend said time either working towards your fitness goals or another venture, or even indulging in a favourite pastime. Once we immerse ourselves in the world of calories, it’s a mental exercise of enormous effort to find our road back out. Humans are wrapped up in the hype of calorie restriction and the bad effects of carbs. Before you know it, your whole existence is defined by logging every single food you eat. Ultimately, a healthy lifestyle shouldn’t be a chore. It shouldn’t be a task of monumental importance, but entirely devoid of pleasure. Where’s the fun in that?!

Yet, there are circumstances in which one can benefit from keeping track of their calorie consumption. Depending on the nature and stage of your journey, your personality and the projected outcomes, you might find it useful. If you aspire to shed a few pounds, acknowledging what and how much you eat can be a good solution. If you don’t suffer from obsessive tendencies and aren’t in danger of losing the plot, a food diary may not be as detrimental. Finally, if you have a very specific objective, linked to an exclusive meal plan, recording your calorie intake will surely assist you.

ABOUT SIYA

Howdy, PumpUps!

My name is Siya. I’m 27 years young, with a passion for a healthy lifestyle, including a love for nutritious food and an active routine. Having struggled with my weight for years, it would be incredibly rewarding to me to support others and inspire them to prioritise their health instead of their appearance. I’m currently working out at home and can relate to those on a tight budget. An aspiring blogger and writer, I’ve recently started a blog where I share simple recipes and exercises, and promote a positive body image. I welcome advice from like-minded fitness enthusiasts, for I believe one can never know enough. Hit me up and let’s ace this! 

Fuel Up with Nike's Fuel Band

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Here at PumpUp we love fitness technology. There’s been a lot of recent buzz around fitness tracking bands, like the Jawbone Up, Nike Fuel Band, and FitBit Flex, so our Director of Health & Fitness, Jonny, decided to give the Fuel Band a try!

Overview

For those hearing about Nike’s Fuel Band for the first time, it’s a fitness tracking band that has a built in accelerometer so it can measure your calories burned, steps taken, and of course, it tells you the time! A cool bonus is that you get Fuel Points for being active while wearing the Fuel Band. I like the Fuel Band and have definitely become more active since I started wearing it at the beginning of April.

Details

It’s been just over a month since I started wearing the Fuel Band. I set my goal to be 3000 Fuel Points a day. According to Nike, 3000 points is what you need to be considered an active person. I found that this really motivated me when the clock struck 6pm and I’d only reached 1000 of my 3000 points. On good days, I found that I reached my 3000 point goal very quickly, so I challenged myself to get as many fuel points as possible. So far, my best day is 5520 points!

While my experience was mostly positive, there are some downfalls with Nike’s Fuel Band. First and foremost, the price tag of $150 is fairly high. Second, I found that when I used leg machines at the gym or went on a long bike ride, I got 0 fuel points but burned tons of calories.

Overall

Overall, the Nike Fuel Band is a great tool to keep you motivated. It even comes with a sleek iPhone app lets you compete against your friends and receive achievements after completing certain goals.

You’re probably thinking: should I get one?

Well, here’s my opinion: this product isn’t for people who are looking for a way to count calories or even as a pedometer — you can find much cheaper step counters. However, if you are a person looking to get a little more active, or you’re interested in adding a little technology to your fitness regiment (that you built with PumpUp), the Fuel Band is perfect for you!

Ps. Try wearing your Fuel Band during your PumpUp workout to rack up more Fuel Points.