Friday, May 9, 2014

Still Counting (Calories, That Is)

I thought you might like to know that I am still with My Fitness Pal. Me and my app have been together now for quite some time. Well, two and a half weeks. What can I say? It feels like longer!

I have been consistently logging my foods (all snacks and meals) as well as my exercise (only aerobic exercise as the system does not know how to calculate calories burned during yoga, Pilates, or other non-aerobic pursuits.) I have been staying under my calorie limit almost every day, with one or two exceptions.

And I'm learning a lot about what kinds of foods I may not want to include in my diet right now.

Because I haven't thought about cutting back on calories in a very long time, I have become accustomed to eating MANY very high calorie foods. On the other hand, I have cut out empty calories from sugar, alcohol, juices, grain products (bread, crackers, pasta, bagels, cakes, cookies, etc.) I just never worried about all the high fat foods I was eating since I was always keeping my carbs fairly low.

But now that I'm looking at my overall expenditure of calories, my carbs ARE low, my protein is also lower than I'd like, and my fat is HIGH! Mega-sky-thru-the-roof high! My diet varies from about 45-50% fat. Now if I was BURNING a lot more of that fat, this might not be a problem. But clearly I am retaining too much fat! (I don't need a scale to tell me this.)

Now I am NOT planning to switch over to a low fat diet. You know I am a big fan of the fat. (Obviously.) But I am planning to start tweaking my diet toward a bit more protein and a bit less fat. For women entering menopause or dealing with fluctuating estrogen levels, Dr. Christiane Northrup recommends a diet containing 40% protein. I am currently hovering around 25% protein. So I need to make some changes.

One easy (I hope!) switch is going to be my coffee. I normally drink two cups of coffee per day: one in the morning and one in the early afternoon. My morning coffee usually contains at least 2 tablespoons of heavy cream. Yes. You read that right. Did you just faint? (If my husband is reading this, he's mumbling to himself that it is MORE than 2 tablespoons. That is why I said AT LEAST!) Today I took a look at the number of calories in just one tablespoon of heavy cream. And that number is 50! OMG! (I had been using a generic 55 calorie coffee and cream drink in My Fitness Pal to track my coffee calories, and obviously I was under-reporting the calories!!!) My morning coffee may have actually been closer to 150 calories per cup. For that same number of calories, I can drink a cup of whole milk. With whole milk, I get 8 grams of protein, much less fat, and a few carbs. And if I just add a couple of tablespoons of whole milk to my coffee instead of the heavy cream, I'll cut way back on the total calories. So whole milk look like a better choice for me than the heavy cream. (Are you all saying DUH?)

I was also using sour cream in my borscht and cabbage soup on a regular basis. (Now you know how my diet ends up being 50% fat!) Sour cream is freaking delicious, people!!! But I'm thinking that organic plain whole milk yogurt may be a better choice for now. I'm not going to promise that I'll never eat sour cream again. That would be crazy talk. But during this time of maniacal hormonal changes, it seems that I will need to make a few sacrifices in order to carry around a bit less fat.

I'm not planning to stop eating nuts or avocado or grass fed butter or cheese, but I am ditching the mayo for now. I have substituted mustard or hummus or both. (A yummy combo!)

So, bottom line, I'm not going low fat. I'm going to keep plenty of healthy fats in my diet, but ditch the highest calorie items with the least amount of nutrition. I'm hoping this will result in lost poundage as well as better health. I'll keep you posted!

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