In a general statement, calories are the units by which we measure our food intake. Scientifically, calories are a measure of energy. Both statements are vital for individuals who count calories. Knowing how many calories are present and how our bodies use the calories we consume can make the difference in a successful nutritional lifestyle and “yo-yo” dieting. One of the most common issues with counting calories is not consuming enough calories to provide the body with enough energy for the day or a specific activity.
Truth: the body needs calories
Truth: you’re supposed get hungry
Understanding the above truths create a firm foundation for counting calories. With those truths let’s approach the following statement:
“When I eat, I get hungry just an hour later.”
Consider this: Two things we deduct from that statement, 1) You didn’t eat enough calories 2) Your calories weren’t nutrient dense.
Nutrient dense food naturally has more calories, but the usefulness of the calories does not take away from the body’s function. To the contrary, useful calories add to the body’s function. Calories from protein, complex carbs, and good fats, are more sustainable than calories from pure sugar. Foods that are nutrient dense generally sound “unhealthy” to people who count calories because they come with more calories. “Health” fads that include 100 calorie packs or variations of poorly nutritious foods like cookies and snacks in smaller portions, leave individuals hungry, sluggish, and tired shortly after consumption because of the uselessness of the consumed calories.
Now consider: When consuming nutrient dense food, energy and hunger should be sustained for 2.5-3hrs. Becoming hungry shortly after consuming a meal of nutritious calories, simply means, you didn’t eat enough.
If you are used to counting calories then consuming nutritious calories to sustain energy and body function for everyday activity will more than likely increase your daily calorie intake. That is fine. The body needs food to survive. It’s counter-productive to starve the body and expect it to work to it’s fullest capability.
When counting calories, remember, the source of the calories is just as important as the number of calories. Increasing calories for nutrition and sustainability is better than cutting calories with junk.