“How many calories should I eat a day?” I get this question on a regular basis. The answer is – it depends. Recently, the almighty calorie has been elevated to primo status as people begin to realize that it’s not about carbs, fat, or protein, but about the combination of all three (+ alcohol) — that balances the ledger book of energy intake and expenditure. For those with the due diligence to count every morsel of food and drink consumed – if you are in the “green” with less calories in versus out, than weight loss will ensue over the course of time (~ 1 lb week, if it’s 500 calories less taken eaten everyday versus expended) or the opposite end of the spectrum, you are in the “red” with more calories in versus out, than a gain will creep up…about 1 lb/week with an additional 500 calories per day.
Let’s face it, calories are essential for life — of every living thing. However, it is the QUALITY of the calories that fend off cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc.; help us live longer lives and keep us looking and feeling younger! I could put someone on a 1,500 calorie a day meal plan, but it would be remiss (and unethical) if I didn’t mention the importance of fiber, omega-3 fats, and plant-based foods — instead of allowing that person to flounder on a diet of Twinkies, burgers and fries (as long as it equalled 1,500 calories!) The quality counts, respecting how many calories you take in (there is a vast body of research supporting calorie restriction for disease prevention and longevity) and understanding that you do not have to be ‘orthorexic’ – or self-righteous about eating only “healthy” foods, to maintain a calorie balance that allows you to be your best today!
So revel in the fact that choice still reigns supreme. I dare you to elevate the meaning of calories in your head. You have a choice: a 500-calorie muffin or 500-calorie jog? You might choose both – then today is a wash, which is better than most….
How many calories did you eat today? Send your food log to me and I’ll let you know what I think – expert advice only, of course. :-