Counting Calories – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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I spent two months counting calories, and I encountered good, bad and truly ugly aspects. Calorie counting consists of logging everything you eat, usually using a phone app like MyFitnessPal. The app calculates how much you should eat to maintain your current weight. A surplus of calories means that you are eating too much and a deficit means that you are eating at the level required to lose some weight.

At first, calorie counting was right for me. I never realized exactly how many calories I was burning while exercising. I could compare the output to what I’d eaten. It was good to know that my twenty minutes online HIIT training video equaled one scoop of Ben and Jerry’s.

However, bad situations with calorie counting cropped up as well. One day, I got a calzone with my friends, and there was no way to log this meal into the app. I would have liked a way to estimate or count out how much cheese there was, and so on.

Instead of letting it go, I delved into the ugly aspects of counting calories. Instead of spending time with my friends, I spent half an hour estimating exactly how much calzone I could eat without exceeding my calorie limit. My experience was just a small sample of benefits and disadvantages people face when trying to record their caloric intake. Let’s look at some more.

The Good
Calorie counting gives you a realistic view of what you are eating. Remember the days when restaurants didn’t list the calories in foods? I never would have guessed that coffee shakes would be 800 calories. People face the same realizations when they start counting calories. But this is a good thing because then you develop a better understanding of how many calories are in each type of food. Once you understand, you can make better choices to avoid over-eating and lose weight.

Counting calories can also be additional motivation to exercise. When I saw that I had exceeded my calorie limit for the day, I immediately busted out a cardio workout video. As the calories from working out were calculated, I got back on track. Checking the calories, you consume is a great reminder to work out. It also gives you a realistic idea of how much you need to work out to eat what you want.

The Bad

Despite technology’s best efforts to make calorie counting easier, it still sucks up a lot of time. You are always scanning bar codes, estimating what is in your food and tabulating every sauce and condiment. Keeping a food diary uses a lot of time. If you’re already time-stressed, it’s hard to make room to count your calories. Plus, any app glitches can be super frustrating. At 10 pm, you may notice that it had the wrong serving size for your lunch and you went over your calorie limit. Are you going to get out of bed to do a workout to get back on track?

With calorie counting, there is only one variable, calories. They go up and down, but that’s it. Technically, you could “game the system” and stay below your limit by eating celery all day. But isn’t that miserable? The system does not consider dietary needs (like fat and protein). It’s quite easy to drop your number of calories by focusing on low-fat and low-calorie foods, but many of these foods do not have the nutrients our bodies need. Happiness is also not a factor tracked in most apps. Some of us run the risk of oversimplifying our lives by focusing on calories alone. There are so many other factors that contribute to weight loss and enable us to live healthier lives.

The Ugly
You know it’s gotten ugly when your child tugs on your sleeve and you mumble something about counting calories and don’t look up from your phone. Counting calories can distract from social situations (and parenting situations). All that time devoted to counting calories is time away from friends and family. Working on your phone during family time is often perceived as anti-social or rude. Plus, you sometimes miss out on interesting conversations or sweet moments with your kids. 

The key is to avoid becoming neurotic about it. If you can set down your phone and cuddle with your kid for a few minutes before returning to work, you’ll probably be fine. If you can give yourself a break when you are at a restaurant with friends and turn off your phone, you’ll probably be fine. However, if you are the type of person that becomes very anal about goals (I would raise my hand at this point), calorie counting can become so important that you get neurotic about it. It’s not worth missing out on life to count calories, no matter how much you learn.

Conclusion
Cue the Western music. Calorie counting has both good, bad and ugly aspects. While it is a great learning and motivational tool, the time investment and potential for being neurotic are costly. To keep calorie counting firmly in the good category, it’s important to keep in mind that it is just a tool, not a lifestyle. With these limits in mind, you can confidently ride off into the sunset, confident that you will hit your goals.

 

Kara McManus from Home Fitness Life is passionate about helping people meet their fitness goals without having to leave the house. She works from home as a webmaster raising her 4-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter. She hopes her content will make the world a fitter, happier place.

7 Fast and Quick Fitness Tips Everyone Should Know

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Staying fit is vital for our survival. In a world where all of us have to face various health challenges, being vulnerable to any form of sickness would be a big mistake and may prove fatal to one’s life and career. There are a lot of articles like this you may find online right now. Hence, I devised these seven fast and quick fitness tips for everyone who’d like to be fit in no time.

  1. Don’t skip breakfast

Being the most important meal of the day, be sure to fill your gut with healthy grabs in the morning. Breakfast is the best time of the day to replenish what your body is missing all night long. Consider this as important as breathing and stay fit throughout the day. Remember, always pick the right type of diet depending on your body needs.

  1. Utilize total body exercises

While breakfast is something that you should not miss, exercise is just as important. When doing your daily dose of these challenging workouts, be sure to utilize your whole body. This will keep everything balanced, resulting in a holistic physical health. A holistic workout is best recommended for anyone who’d like to keep a healthy physic.

  1. Differ the workout location

One helpful tip to keep you motivated is to be dynamic when it comes to your workout location. You may do it alone at your home, or do it in different gym locations where you see other health-conscious individuals working out like you. This will keep you motivated and will push you, even more, to attain that physically fit body you always wanted.

  1. Supplement if you need to

When talking about fitness, it is crucial to strike a balance between your mind and body. While there are a lot of food supplements you can take to stay physically fit in the market today, try to consider checking out Nootropics review articles. These are supplements that are necessary for giving your mental health a boost.

  1. Take a multi-vitamin

Taking multi-vitamins is a suggestion most expert would give their patients. The reason is simple, why settle for some bottles at home when you can have it all in one take? Before picking your multi-vitamin, consider checking out for user reviews and always seek the advice of your health specialist to avoid any unwanted effects.

  1. Veggies are your friends

The move towards a vegan diet is the trend to a healthy diet right now. A few years back, a documentary about the cholesterol we get from the meat we consume had a lot of truth into it. According to the author, cholesterol is the way animals take their revenge against humans. Most of the deaths around the world could be attributed to bad cholesterol levels. The alternative and solution provided were to go back to the basics. Accordingly, vegetables and fruits are the only food that man is ought to consume. Consider veggies your friends and stay fit and healthy all throughout.

  1. Stay hydrated

This is pretty elementary, but many of us tend to take this for granted. For an average person to stay healthy, staying hydrated is a big and crucial requirement. There are a lot of sources to stay hydrated, not only by means of drinking water although this is the best way. Keep in mind that we all need a minimum of thirty to fifty ounces of water daily to stay fit. Make it a habit of hitting this requirement to stay fit and healthy without a sweat.

 

Anna Brecken is a writer for NootropicNation. She has extensive knowledge of Nootropics. She also writes for several other supplement and brain enhancement websites.

How The Spring Season Change Affects You

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Whether you live on the east coast, west coast, the south or the midwest, spring is coming. Spring is just around the corner, which means daylight savings time and warmer weather for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere.

We’re all ready to shed our layers of clothing and snow blowers. Spring means walking a little slower to get to where you’re going and opting to sit outside at restaurants. But the season change also has effects on the human body.

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Healthy City of the Month: Boston

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Boston ranks seven out of ten in the 2016 American College of Sports Medicine fitness index. The study looks at a series of factors including smoking, cardiovascular disease, public transportation and exercise. Boston’s areas of excellence are lower death rate for diabetes and cardiovascular disease, more park units per capita and higher level of state requirement for Physical Education classes in schools. At the time of the study, 82 percent of Boston inhabitants said they had exercised in the past 30 days.

With a number of parks and farmers’ markets, Boston is high on the list because of a healthy diet. In 2016, 32 percent or Bostonians consumed two or more fruits a day and 16 percent consumed three of more vegetables a day, both nearly meeting the American College of Sports Medicine national goal. Boston surpassed the national goal with 36 percent for farmers’ markets. While Boston does experience cold winter weather, late spring through early fall you can find countless farmers’ market options. 

Healthy Places to Eat:

  1. Clover Food Lab- Their philosophy is all in the simplicity of food. They highlight that they don’t make ketchup or mayonnaise because they want to focus on simple, healthy and quick foods! Clover also capitalizes on not using food unless it’s in season, when it’s at it’s prime and grown locally. They don’t even have freezers! They offer everything from hot drinks to chickpea fritter platters and Vegan BBQ sandwiches.
  2. Jugos- Every health nut loves a good acai bowl or juice once and awhile! Stop at Jugos for a quick fix- there is no seating so it’s perfect for on-the-go. They offer a variety of healthy fixes from matcha lattes to pitaya bowls.
  3. sweetgreen- Sweetgreen’s mission statement is all about promising “a destination for simple, seasonal, healthy food.” One of their core value is “think sustainably” meaning they focus on decisions that will lost longer than you. They source their produce locally from farms in Boston. Their menu ranges from curry chickpea bowls to carrot-turmeric Fresca.

Places to exercise:

  1. Recycle Studio- This chic, modern studio brought indoor cycling into Boston’s spotlight in 2011. One of the most popular classes is the Reboot Ride. The space is clean and intimate, making it easy to meet fellow cyclists. While the class prices are on the pricey side, reviews say it’s worth every penny!
  2. BURN- BURN offers a wide variety of classes including bootcamps, yoga, spin, rowing, kickboxing and tabata! BURN promises members, “our BURN classes are specifically designed to incorporate strength and conditioning, cardiovascular endurance, and flexibility.” It was awarded Best Boutique Gym 2016 by Boston Magazine. 
  3. Yoga Works- One of the best classes offered at Yoga Works is a bit unusual- Black Light Yoga. Instructor Goldie Graham teaches the class for a constant flow under a black light to deep and sexy beats. This studio is hitting the clean club scene happening around the country. Clean club scenes are exercise classes taught to hip-hop or club music. Yoga Works offers classes like Deep Beats & Breathe Hip Hop Yoga and Sweat & Surrender.

Trails and Dog Parks:

  1. Stony Brook Reservation- Stony Brook Reservation sprawls across 475 acres of scenic landscape. Even with the east coast weather, it’s open year-round. Features include twelve miles of hiking and biking trails. Stony Brook also offers a variety of recreational activities like fishing, playgrounds, grilling and a swimming pool.
  2. Charles River Reservation- This reservation is a linear park stretching from Boston Harbor up the river for twenty miles. The park starts near downtown Boston to the Watertown Dam. The reservation offers bike trails, bird watching and skating during the winter season. Other recreational activities include tennis courts, sailing and boat ramps!
  3. Boston Common- Boston Common is America’s oldest park, making it a must-see on your trip to Boston! Founded in 1634, it has seen history being made and still stands as a gathering place for free speech and public assembly. It is located in downtown Boston and offers baseball, art and tennis courts.

What healthy destinations have you visited in Boston?