5 thoughts BEFORE you make your goals and resolutions

5 thoughts BEFORE you make your goals and resolutions

pad and pen ready to write down goals image Microsoft clipart

This post is a follow-up to my 8-point primer on goals and resolutions earlier in the month..

1.) Your goal isn't fun. (at least, not in the beginning)

Nobody sets a goal of playing more X-box or eating more donuts. We set goals that will make us happier in the long-term, but that require giving up something fun (like X-box or donuts) or inducing discomfort (like working out or focusing on writing a novel) in the short term.

Understand and embrace this trade-off. The short term pleasure is a drug; the long term benefits of your goal - whether physical, financial, emotional, social, or spiritual - will far outweigh whatever it is you're giving up.

2.) Goals involve change.

Understand that your goal will require you to change what you do and how you spend your time. Obviously, right? Because if you were already doing your goal you wouldn't need to set a goal for it.

Change can be uncomfortable. Change requires motivation, energy, and dedication. Change can cause friction. All good things - if you were happy with the way things were, you wouldn't have set this goal!

3.) Goals can be a grind.

The first time you workout, or meditate, or block out time to read, or write a few pages - it feels exhilirating, like you're controlling your own destiny. The second and third time will feel cool, too, but not quite as powerful as that first time.

But pretty soon you'll hit your first dip, where you aren't seeing the results you expected as quickly as you expected. You're tired, you're frustrated, and you can think of plenty of other things you'd rather be doing instead. It's critical to push through this first dip and continue on your new path.

You'll have more dips along the way - setbacks, illness, family obligations, projects at work - but they'll be easier to push through than that first one. And push through you must!

4.) Success breeds success.

Once you see results, it gets easier to buy into why you're making the effort you are. Maybe you've been able to:

  • Run a mile without stopping.
  • Drop a few pounds off the scale.
  • Meditate deeply for 15 minutes.
  • Finish reading a book.
  • Develop characters and a plot in your own book.

Whatever it is you're working on, seeing your own success makes it easier to continue making those short-term sacrifices and pushing through the dips. In fact, most people turn up the intensity once they start seeing results.

In addition to being more successful in that particular goal, seeing success also gives you the confidence to start thinking about the next goal you want to tackle!

5.) I want it BAD.

Knowing everything you're going to give up in exchange for your goal (sleep, TV, video games, fast food, facebook, sweets), and how hard you're going to work at it (sweat, sore muscles, hunger pains, cravings) - you better want this goal badly. You need to be able to elevate it above everything else in your world:

  • Being skinny is more important than eating the snacks in the break room at work.
  • Exercising is more important than that last 20 minutes of sleep.
  • The kids will be OK while I do my thing for a few minutes.
  • Finding peace and tranquility is more important than seeing pictures of other people's kids online.
  • All that stuff.

It's going to be hard. It's going to be uncomfortable. It's going to be a grind.

It's going to be successful - IF you want it more than you want your short-term drugs.

Here's to your success in 2013!

-Chris Butterworth


my car won't start - the yin and yang of emotions

my car won't start - the yin and yang of emotions

This morning my car didn't start.

my Toyota 4Runner

It was early - 5:15 am. It was dark. It was cold. And my first two reactions were anger and frustration. I rattled off some cus words. I banged my hand on the steering wheel. Then I changed my mind.

I realized there wasn't any reaction on my part that was going to have a positive effect on the outcome of the situation. Instead, I spent a minute contemplating my options and the potential outcomes on my day. I came up with a game plan, and then I executed:

  • The door lights and audio chimes worked, and the clock had the correct time, so it probably wasn't the battery. Maybe it was the starter?
  • The engine made no sound whatsoever when I turned the key. Strange, if it was the starter, I should hear the car trying to start..
  • I was definitely going to be behind schedule today. Could I get to work on time? Not if I needed to be towed and wait around for a mechanic's shop to open.
  • The mechanic I trust is near my office, but that's too far away for a free tow. How much would it cost to get my car over there? Would it be better to find an authorized repair shop near my house?
  • OK - let's get to it.
  • First, I have to try to jump start it. If that doesn't work, I'm not out anything. But if it does work and I didn't try it, I'm an idiot.
  • Then I'll call my road side assistance, and I'll have to adjust depending on what happens from there.

I pulled opened the garage, backed out my wife's car, hooked up the cables, and Voila! My car started easily.

Sometimes we make a bigger deal out of something than it really is. We overreact. We give too much power to things we have no control over.

Better to focus our energy on the things we can control. Be proactive. Be ahead of the curve. Be prepared for uncertainty. And be ready to choose your reaction to things you can't control.

It reminds me of a Chinese proverb I read about awhile ago:
Once upon a time there lived a farmer in the three kingdoms of China.
This farmer had a son who worked the farm with the help of a horse.
The horse ran away one day.
The local farmers came and said, "How unlucky, your horse ran away."
The farmer said, "Perhaps."
The next day, the horse came back, but was followed by a whole herd.
When the local farmers found out, they said, "You have great luck."
Again, the farmer said, "Perhaps."
Another day passes, and the farmer's son broke his leg while riding some of the new horses.
The local farmers again came, and this time they said, "What bad luck, your son broke his leg."
The farmer repeated, "Perhaps."
On the fourth day, the emperor's army were recruiting for the army and because of the son's broken leg, did not recruit him.
The local farmers this time said, "What great luck, your son did not get recruited."
The farmer again, repeated, "Perhaps."

In health, fitness, goal achievement, and life in general: Do your best. Try your hardest. Control what you can control. But there will be setbacks. How we react to the setbacks can be the difference between winning and losing.

-Chris Butterworth


catching up to your goal - the tortoise or the hare?

catching up to your goal - the tortoise or the hare?

Yesterday I met someone for lunch at Chili's (first mistake). I ordered a couple appetizers instead of an actual lunch (second mistake), thinking I could share them and wouldn't eat as much - plus they both sounded awesome and I couldn't decide on one thing to order! Boneless Buffalo Wings and Southwestern Eggrolls - mmmm good.

Chili's boneless wings and southwestern eggrolls

As it turned out, my colleague only ate a couple wings, leaving me to finish both plates (third mistake). And for some reason I just couldn't muster up the willpower to stop eating. Then, when I got back to my office, I looked up the Chilli's nutritional guide to see how many calories I had just stuffed down my cake hole (fourth mistake!) - let's just say it rounds to about 1,800. For lunch. On one day. Ouch.

A smarter person would have looked up the menu & nutritional guide before going to lunch, and already have known what to order before even leaving his office!

Doing the Math

So how does that big lunch fit into my overall calorie budget? This is the time when a little math, and a little rationalization, go a long way...

First of all, I stopped the bleeding by eating a very small dinner - a couple hundred calories at the most. Unfortunately the damage had been done; breakfast, snacks, dinner, and those gigantic appetizers put me at about 2,800 for the day.

Next I took a step back and thought about the big picture. I know I'm not going to be perfect every day. It's easier to hit my mark as a weekly total than it is to hit my daily mark 7 days in a row, so I want to see what my week looks like.

For this example, let's assume my daily calorie budget is 1,900. (I'm in maintenance mode, rather than weight loss mode. - side note, on that calorie budget calculator, always use sedentary for the activity level.)

1,900 calories per day * 7 days in a week = 13,300 calories per week.

So, if I've been on target lately, and I was 900 calories over budget today, I need to be 900 calories under budget over the course of the next 6 days.

The Tortoise or the Hare

The Hare would attack those 900 calories, possibly going so far as to quasi-fast on 1,000 calories the next day and get back to budget-even. (This is the old "rip the band-aide off" method.)

The Tortoise, on the other hand, would take his time, adjusting his daily budget from 1,900 down to 1,750 for the next 6 days. (The "pull the band-aide off slowly" method.)

Which is Better?

Neither option is better, per se, since both animals will get to the finish line. (and both methods result in the band-aide being removed.) The trick is matching your personality to the right animal.

Frustration and failure set in when you choose the wrong method. If the tortoise's method of "just a little bit of pain each day" sounds better, but then you don't have the patience to stick to it for all 6 days, you won't be successful. On the other hand, if the rabbit's "get it over with" plan sounds better, but then you find yourself not able to get through that ultra low calorie day, you'll be over cal-budget and disappointed with yourself.

Personally, I usually start off by planning like the tortoise, but then I get impatient and accelerate the schedule, finishing up like the hare!

Bottom Line

Yesterday's story has a few takeaways:

1.) There will always be failures along the way.

2.) Planning ahead can make a huge difference. No need to play catch up if you never get behind in the first place.

3.) Accept that there will be failures along the way, but try to minimize the damage as it's happening. If I had had the waitress take the plates away while there was still some food on them, I could have had a 500 calorie problem to recover from, which would have been much easier.

4.) Consistency Counts - as long as I stack together enough successful days in a row, I can easily overcome an occasional failure. It's not about one day; it's about the week, and then the month, and then the year. Little successes, day after day, for months at a time - they add up to greatness.

-Chris Butterworth


salt, sugar, and child obesity - more from the no duh dept

salt, sugar, and child obesity - more from the no duh dept

From a new study that will appear in the January issue of Pediatrics, titled "Dietary Salt Intake, Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption, and Obesity Risk":

The study found that in addition to drinking sugar-sweetened beverages, dietary salt intake, was also associated with a risk of obesity. Children in the study who eat more salt also drank more fluids, and therefore got more calories if they were drinking sugar-sweetened drinks.
This study offers another good reason for our kids to limit juice and other sugary drinks with calories, avoid foods high in salt, and to not add a lot of extra salt to their foods.

No. Duh.

Let's follow the bouncing ball on this one..

salty and sweet snacksmicrosoft clipart

Salty snacks are most likely to be pre-packaged snacks.

Pre-packaged snacks were created using processes and chemicals which will trick your body into not feeling as full as it should, given the number of calories being consumed.

Therefore, salty snacks are more likely to have you consume extra calories. But there's more...

Salty snacks make you thirsty.

Sweet tastes really good with salty.

Therefore, you're likely to crave a sweet drink after eating a salty snack. And...

Sweet drinks have lots of calories. (see "Big Gulp - the most expensive product in history?")

So, to tie it all together...

Salty snacks will have you eat extra calories, then crave a sweet drink which also has extra calories.

The results of this study shouldn't be a surprise. In fact, I wrote a post a few months ago called "5 steps to reducing your caloric intake", and Step 1 is to ditch the prepackaged snacks.

What would be better is to stop wasting money on moronic studies proving things we already know, and instead spending that money on educating people about basic calorie counts - how many calories are needed to maintain weight and how many calories are in everyday items people eat..

-Chris Butterworth


making your own trail mix

making your own trail mix

make your own trail mix

I'm big on trail mix as a healthy snack. In fact, it's become my go-to snack over the years, as it hits on just about every point:

  • Portion Control - eat as much as you need, depending on your needs and how many calories you can afford that day.
  • Portability - no cooking, no cutting, no silverware, no refrigeration.. Just put some in a baggie or tupperware container and you're good to go.
  • Yummy - enough said!
  • Customizable - you select the nuts and the fruit, so you can vary the flavors each time you make it.
  • Calorie Dense - at approximately 150 calories per 1/4 cup (depending on your specific mix), a little goes a long way. Eat just a little bit to take the edge off your hunger and give you an energy boost, then wait awhile before digging back in. If you wait, you probably won't need to dig back in.
  • Nutrition Dense - you'll get a good blend of carbs, protein, and fat, which will give your body fuel to burn for the next couple hours. Plus you'll get the benefit of those unsaturated fatty acids (nuts) and antioxidants (fruit), which I've heard are good for you..
  • Inexpensive - if you break it down to a calories per dollar calculation, you'll have a hard time finding less expensive snacks with this much to offer. Maybe fresh fruit (no protein or fat, and not as portable and doesn't stay fresh as long) or a can of tuna fish (no carbs, not as sweet, not as portable), but I doubt it. Certainly not protein bars or any other pre-packaged snacks..

How to make your own Trail Mix

I make my own trail mix from the bulk bins at the local health food market. (Sprouts, in my neighborhood.) I go to the builk aisles and choose 6 ingredients - 3 nuts and 3 fruit, and take one gigantic scoopful of each. Actually, I take an over-flowing scoopful of the nuts, and an under-flowing scoopful of the fruit, so my mix is a little more nutty than fruity. You can mix and match any number of flavors - I try to keep a good blend of some that are the least expensive with some that have a great flavor.

Here's an example:

  1. Almonds. Choices include whole, sliced, or diced, and raw, roasted, salted, unsalted, etc. I typically use the sliced almonds, just because it's easier for my kids to chew and it makes the mix more "mixey".
  2. Cashews. Whole or pieces. Salted or unsalted. Raw or honey roasted. Again, lots of choices, and like the almonds I generally use pieces instead of whole nuts.
  3. Peanuts. The least expensive of the nuts, with the most variations in choices. Just take a scoop of whatever looks good.
    1. With all the nuts, I want to make a blend of salted with unsalted, and raw with roasted (or honey roasted.) I'm not afraid of a little salt or honey-sweetened, but I don't want too much of either.
    2. I've also tried Walnuts, Macadamia nuts, Pecans, Sunflower seeds, and Pistachio meats, but I keep coming back to my first three options.
  4. Raisins. The least expensive fruit, so I include it almost every time.
  5. Pineapple. Everyone in my family loves the dried pineapple, so this has become a pretty common ingredient in my trail mix.
  6. Cherries or Cranberries. Depending on which one is on sale (the cherries can be particularly expensive sometimes). This gives our mix a little "pop" of flavor.
    1. I've also used blueberries, bananas, mangos, and papaya.
At home, combine the contents of all six bags into a big container, shake well, and you'll have yourself about 3 pounds of trail mix for about $12 - $15.

Regarding chocolate: My oldest son can't eat milk chocolate due to digestion issues, and I don't care for dark chocolate, so chocolate never makes it into our mix. This is actually the reason I started making my own several years ago. I suppose you could add a scoop of chocolate to your mix if you wanted to sweeten the pot, so to speak.

How about you? Are you a trail mix eater? Have you tried something similar? Let me know in the comments below.

-Chris Butterworth


run down and Christmas'd out

Last week was all sugar plumbs and candy canes. We were Christmas organized, ahead of schedule, and under budget. We had holiday events lined up, and were somehow managing to keep up with working out and eating well.

This week? Not so much.

A stomach-bug-thingy went through our house, knocking each of us down like dominos. The kids each missed a day or two of school and/or weekend activities. My wife and I weren't lucky enough to stay home and sleep all day, so we trudged through. We had to miss one of the holiday events we look forward to every year, and another event wasn't very fun.

Bedtime, when we should have been going to sleep early, was pushed late into the night by holiday cards, online photo galleries, and other family sharing stuff. We were tired from not getting enough sleep, run down from illness (and not being able to eat), and barely getting through the days. Suddenly, somehow, we're disorganized, behind schedule, and over budget - yikes! (And I haven't written or worked out most of the week!)

I'm not sure if the holidays or being under the weather for a few days has a bigger impact on my workouts. But having them both together was killer. Luckily I feel better today - I'll squeeze in a couple miles either at lunch or after work. 11 days 'till Christmas? Bring 'em on!

How are your Holidays coming along? Are you eating well and keeping up with your workouts while still enjoying the season?

-Chris Butterworth

dumb article - "social media may be a weapon against obesity, experts say"

dumb article - "social media may be a weapon against obesity, experts say"

One of the dumbest articles I've read. From boston.com (emphasis mine):

In a new scientific statement published in the journal Circulation, the group calls for more research into how to incorporate social media into programs fighting childhood obesity. However, the AHA acknowledges that current research on social media intervention has been mixed and that social media is also linked with a few drawbacks. "Teenagers are texting and using Facebook and other social media as their primary communication with their peers, and we need to find out what factors can be incorporated into social media that will increase the effectiveness of these interventions to initiate and maintain weight loss in kids and adolescents," says Jennifer S. Li, lead author, in an AHA press release.
Yet while the statement notes that children are drawn to social media, preferring texting over paper journals, Li and her team note that social media also plays a role in cyber bullying, sexting, and privacy issues. "Doctors need to understand digital technology better so that they can offer guidance to patients and their families on avoiding such issues, and will be aware of any such problems that occur," she says. The report was published December 3 online and will appear in the January 15 issue of the journal Circulation. 

So many things wrong with this article, I'm not sure where to start..

  1. Who are these "experts"?
  2. Scientific study? And their results are: kids use social media, so we should try to figure out how to use that to make them exercise more? Really? How is that different from any other company in the world saying "Our customers use Facebook, so we should get a Facebook page"? Basically, they're publishing a study saying they have no idea what to do.
  3. Regardless of how they spin this, social media rarely makes you eat less and exercise more. My guess is the more you're using social media, the less you're outside, and the more likely it is that you have a bag of Cheetos and a Mountain Dew sitting next to you.

Don't tell me social media "may be a weapon", but you're not sure how to use it. You know what else "may be a weapon" against obesity? A shrink ray. But I'm not sure how to build one.

-Chris Butterworth


choosing the right workout partner

choosing the right workout partner

1.) I have one workout parnter who's a really good guy - reliable, hard-working, ethical, generous, funny.. I can count on him to always be there on time, and to do what we set out to do. But that's not always enough.

His internal compass and strength of character keep him steadfast in his workout, unwilling to be goaded into a faster pace or heavier weight just by peer pressure, and unwilling to push me further as well. My workouts with him are enjoyable, and I'm better off for having to be accountable to somebody, but that's about it. The quality of my workout will depend on me.

2.) I have another workout partner who's also a really good guy, when you have his attention. He's flaky, sometimes unreliable, shows obvious signs of having adult ADD, and 2-parts crazy. But he's an awesome workout partner!

He'll do whatever I challenge him to do - faster, heavier, more - and he'll call me out for not pushing myself hard enough as well. Our workouts last 50% longer than we expect them to, with about a half dozen "last set"s before we call it quits. I'll be dead the rest of the day, and sore for the next 3, but I'll feel great.

Choosing the right workout partner can be the difference between success and failure. When I'm in maintenance mode, not training for anything specific or wanting to lose weight, having a reliable partner is perfect, since I'm less likely to skip a workout. When I'm in hardcore training mode getting ready for a race, I do better with a workout partner who will push me to my absolute limits.

At the very least, even if you don't have a workout partner, having somebody to talk with about working out can be a partner in absentia, since you'll need to do a workout in order to talk about your workout..

-Chris Butterworth


goals and resolutions - an 8-point primer

goals and resolutions - an 8-point primer

It's about that time of the year - we're winding down this year and New Year's Resolutions for next year are just around the corner. (We all know how crowded the gym gets in January, right?) I've succeeded, and failed, at scores of goals over the years, and here are some of the key points I've learned:

man running stairs
(microsoft clipart)

1.) Not too many! Pick 1 goal, maybe 2, that you can give your full attention to, and win on that goal. Over time you'll be able to modify that goal and add additional goals.

2.) Envision your Goal; Act on your Subgoals. Losing 40 pounds will be great - envision the skinny you as hard as you can. But your daily actions will include the subgoals of eating less and exercising more.

3.) Consistency Counts. 50 push-ups a day doesn't sound like a lot; you could do a few in the morning, some more throughout the day, and then a few at bedtime. Do this every day next year and you will have done 18,250 push-ups! Small actions, done consistently over time, become great achievements.

4.) Achievement Goals. Running a marathon, writing a book, learning to play guitar. Achievement goals require massive amounts of focus and energy, but once they're done, they're done. You will always have that achievement in your life-resume. Dream big on achievement goals.

5.) Habit Goals. Regular exercise, reading more frequently, writing a blog, social commitments. Habit goals take an enormous amount of time and energy, and their time commitments add up cumulatively. Start with very modest habit goals; you can always add to them later.

6.) Quitting Goals. Smoking, drinking, sweets, soda, watching TV, aimless internet surfing.While quitting something doesn't take time or money, and often gives you time and/or money back, they require a great deal of emotional and mental energy. I think they're the most difficult type of goal, because you'll have multiple opportunities to fail every single day.

7.) Time-Free Goals. Saving money, eating healthier, being friendlier to strangers. These goals require the same dedication and consistency as the others, but they are essentially free - they don't take you away from your other time commitments.

8.) Why this goal? Dig deep to understand why you're working on this goal. Losing 40 pounds sounds good, but why are you doing it? To look better for others? To look better for yourself? To be healthier - to stop taking blood pressure medication? To be around for your grandchildren? To be able to do more "stuff" without getting winded? Goals driven by internal factors are more likely to be successful; goals with an external focus are harder to define and harder to achieve.

This should give you something to think about as you start working on your goals and resolutions for next year. Let's make next year the most successful year yet!

-Chris Butterworth


the curse of open eyes - seeing calories everywhere you look

the curse of open eyes - seeing calories everywhere you look

Once you start paying attention to calories - how many calories your body needs to maintain weight, and how many calories are in the foods you're eating - you start to see food as numbers. It's no longer "Jr. Double Cheeseburger"; it's now "600-calories before I even eat a french fry!"

Sonic Jr Double Cheeseburger
 clipped from sonicdrivein.com

There's a Sonic burger joint across the street from my office. I like their food, but I don't eat there much anymore.

The problem is that a kids' cheeseburger (410 cal) and small tots (220 cal) make up a reasonable lunch on my weight-maintenance plan. And although that would taste great, once I start looking at the menu, it's no longer what I want..

Sonic meal - bacon double cheeseburger with tots and slushy

Instead, I imagine how great a Double Bacon Cheeseburger might taste, along side a large order of tater tots and washed down with a strawberry slushy..

But then I see the numbers in my mind's eye: Double Bacon Double Cheeseburger (1,280 cal),  large order of Tots (580 cal),and Strawberry Creamslush (1,150 cal) - for a lunchtime total of 3,010 calories!

Once that flashes through my mind I get repulsed by the whole thought of eating there. I also quickly understand the obesity epidemic, and wish more people would order smaller lunches. If they only knew...

Too bad my advertising budget can't be as big as the fast food guys'; I'll have to settle for writing one post at a time, and hoping millions of people read it and change their habits. :)

-Chris Butterworth


how to build a calorie-counted menu

how to build a calorie-counted menu

Variety may be the spice of life, but it'll also be the spice that drives you crazy when you're trying to build a low-calorie menu!

variety and food groups
Microsoft clipart

The fact is, counting calories is the simplest, plainest, most straightforward way to diet. There are no strings attached, hidden agendas, or proprietary purchases required. But figuring out how many calories is in each piece of food that gets into your mouth is a lot of work - especially in the beginning. (Check out my post titled 6 tips for counting calories if you want ideas for putting a successful plan into place.)

Here's the fastest and easiest way to build a calorie-counted menu:

1.) Divide your day.

Figure out how many eating opportunities you're going to have throughout the day, and divide your calories accordingly. I eat 5 or 6 times on a normal day:

  • Breakfast
  • Mid-morning snack
  • Lunch
  • Mid-afternoon snack
  • Dinner
  • Dessert (I'll skip this if I over-ate during the day or if I'm going to workout at night.)

2.) Look up Every Bite.

It doesn't matter whether you're snacking on a handful of almonds or gorging on a double-double from In n Out, it's critical to know exactly how many calories you're eating.

My favorite site lately has been LoseIt, a website which syncs perfectly with my android phone. I can research calories by prepared meals, raw ingredients, and by dishes served at popular restaurants.

CalorieKing is another site with an extensive database, recommended by reader success story Dan B.

3.) Track Everything!

I don't care where or how you track it, but you have to track it. Word or Excel, Google docs, Evernote, paper and pen - whatever. If you're not writing down every calorie you eat, you're much less likely to be successful.

LoseIt, the app I mentioned above, is another option for tracking your foods. Once you look something up, you can add it as a "meal", and LoseIt not only tracks the calories you've eaten, but also which foods you've added as meals. Then, the next time you eat that same food, you can look up and/or track its calories with just a click or two.

4.) Build Variety Slowly.

Look at my meal plan above - 6 different snacks/meals every day. If I wanted to eat something new and different for every meal, I would need to research the calorie content of every ingredient 6 different times each day! Yuck. You're signing up for losing weight, not a full-time job as a research analyst, right?

Here's a way to build a decent menu fairly quickly:

  • Day 1 - all six meals are new. This day is the hardest day on the plan, and will require lots of research.
  • Day 2 - repeat snacks from Day 1, but build new meals.
  • Day 3 - repeat breakfast from Day 1 and dinner from Day 2; add new meals for everything else.
    • Now, after 3 days, you have 2 breakfasts, 2 snacks, 3 lunches, and 2 dinners to choose from.
  • Begin adding 1 new meal per day, while repeating something you've already researched for the others.
  • Most people settle into about 3 different breakfast options and focus their energy on building variety for lunches and dinners.
  • Within a couple weeks you'll have rounded out a decent menu, which means you won't have to spend any more time researching calories. Of course, you're welcome to continue to add new meals to your rotation.
5.) More Real, Less Processed

Don't worry too much about what types of foods you eat, or about getting a perfect mix of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. The truth is, there is no perfect mix; your body is designed to consume, convert, store, recall, and use whatever energy you give it. This normal body functioning is good enough to do or achieve 99% of whatever it is you want to do. (high-level athletes, body builders, and ultra-marathoners need special modifications that the rest of us don't..)

That being said, processed foods with synthetic ingredients - packaged foods made in a lab rather than a kitchen - have two downside risks to be careful of:

  1. Long-term health. Your body was designed to store and burn calories. Your body was not designed to process chemicals and additives like benzoic acid, sodium benzoate, monosodium glutamate (msg), partially-hydrogenated oils, etc. etc. Different chemicals and additives affect different people differently, but they have been linked in various forms with weight gain, headaches, upset stomach, and even cancer.
  2. Tricking your body. Remember the old Pringles ad - "Betcha can't eat just one"? Snack manufacturers "build" foods which are designed to make you crave more and feel less full. This causes you to eat more. (and therefore to purchase more, which increases profits.) However, even though you feel less full, you're still consuming calories, and a calorie is a calorie. If you can eat 100 calories of Cheetos for a snack, and then be done - great. But most people can't.

6.) Be Patient, and Be Dedicated!

Building a low-calorie menu isn't easy. Looking everything up can be difficult, confusing, and frustrating. Keep in mind that you're working towards a long-term goal, and that each week gets easier.

The first week sucks - you're hungry, stressed out, and spend the whole week thinking about and looking up foods. The second week isn't much better. But it doesn't take long before you've built out a nice variety of foods you can eat without thinking or researching. And about that same time you'll probably notice your clothes fit a little looser.

Don't give up - put your goal up on a pedestal and work everything else towards achieving that goal, and you will.

-Chris Butterworth


Happy Thanksgiving - my mental, physical, and emotional approach

Happy Thanksgiving - my mental, physical, and emotional approach

This will be the only post I write this week; I'm going to savor the holiday weekend with my family. Hopefully you're able to do the same. And we'll be back to business as usual next week.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Microsoft clipart

There's no escaping the fact - this is Thanksgiving Week. A gigantic meal, which also serves as the kick-off to a Holiday Season filled with sweets, snacks, and more gigantic meals.

I'm sure the web will be dripping with tips and tricks for being successful, so I'm not going to write too much about that on this one. But I will share some of my personal thoughts on the holiday..

Mental Preparation

I like to take a look at how I've been doing lately before the day even starts, and game-plan accordingly:

  • If I've been relatively successful, I might not mind a set-back day - especially if I'm confident I'll be able to get myself back on track.
  • If I've been struggling lately, Turkey Day might not only be a major setback, it might also serve as the gateway drug to a failed season, and I'll wake up on January 1st with big regrets, big goals, and a big waistline.
  • Exercise - I understand that a Thanksgiving-day workout is great, but even a 500 calorie workout will pale in comparison to how many calories I might eat that day if I'm not careful.

Physical Execution

Once you have a game-plan in place, it's all about execution:

  • I definitely want to get a workout in on Thursday morning. Even if I don't burn off everything I'm going to eat, I know I'll feel better about myself. Last year I ran a 10-mile turkey trot (not fun!); this year I'll take my family on a hike in the local mountain preserve.
  • What gets on my plate - Option 1: small variety. One option is to limit what I eat. Turkey, potatoes, stuffing, a little gravy, carrots-corn-peas-beans, and a reasonable helping of a dessert.
  • What gets on my plate - Option 2: small serving sizes. Another options is to have a little bit of everything, emphasis on the little. That way I get all the basics, but I can also try the casseroles, salads, breads and biscuits, and a bite or two of several different desserts.
  • Watch the liquid calories. Beer, wine, sparkling ciders, soda (with or without bourbon)... I could put down 1,000 liquid calories easily. Gotta keep my eye on this one.
  • Get away from the table. Those long, drawn out meals, where everyone just sits at the table and gabs away - I find myself eating just because there's still food on the table. Better to get out - grab a few of the kids and the dogs and go for a walk. Or take a football outside and play catch. It's not that I'm after exercise at this point; I just have to physically leave the table to stop eating!

Emotional Thanks-giving

What are you thankful for?

I spent the first 18-19 years of my life not knowing how good I had it, so the whole concept of "what are you thankful for?" was lost on me. I spent the next 18-19 years of my life focused pretty heavily on the stuff - house, toys, job, investing for the future.. So while I was happy with what I had, and with those people in my life, I was never satisfied. "What are you thankful for" became more a part of going through the motion than it was an actual question - I was happy, but I wasn't thankful.

The last few years have been different, very different. The Great Recession took its toll on me and my family, pounding us financially and emotionally. We've also lost a couple close members of our family. This year, I'll look around the table, and be legitimately thankful - more so than I can remember being at any other time in my life.

  • Thankful for my family - that we've had the strength to stick with each other through some difficult times.
  • For my extended family, and the support and love they offer.
  • That we have a roof over our heads, and a stable environment to call home. (something I've taken for granted my whole life, but which I've learned isn't a given.)
  • For being able to put food on the table, and my kids never having to worry about being hungry.
  • That my oldest son, who has autism, is one of the greatest kids on the planet. If every kid had his heart, friendliness, and compassion, the world would be a far better place.
    • I'm also thankful that he's surrounded by an amazing support team. (extra thanks on this one to my wife, most of all, who spent years assembling that awesome team.)
  • That my younger son, though I haven't always stacked the deck in his favor, has grown and thrived - time after time, in situation after situation.
  • For our health. As trite as it sounds, there are plenty of people who have more to deal with than the basic aches and pains of being in your 40's.
  • For the light at the end of the tunnel, which is burning bright and is easy to see.
  • For those who read this blog, and the digital age we live in. Never could I have imagined being able to learn so much from so many people, as well as having a place to share my opinions with others - from all across the world. All while sitting at my desk. Absolutely amazing.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

-Chris Butterworth


Pepsi Special: fat-blocking soda released in Japan

Pepsi Special: fat-blocking soda released in Japan

In the footsteps of the Weight Loss Pill, get ready for the next wave of ridiculousness - drinking soda to lose weight.

pepsi special weight loss soda

It sounds so simple - add Dextrin to the ingredient list, drink boatloads of yumma soda, and watch your fat get "flushed" away.

I'll hold final judgement until I read more about it, but my gut feeling is to call shenanigans - no way this actually makes you healthier. Generally, consuming man-made ingredients is NOT a step in the direction towards health. (in addition to however many calories are in a bottle of Pepsi Special.)

Look for an update or a follow-up post in the months ahead...

More Information

cnet.com: Fat-blocking Pepsi a slimming soda in Japan

Time Magazine: Pepsi's Fat-Fighting Soda: Too Good to Be True?

Global Healing Center: Benefits of Dextrin

LiveStrong.com: What is Wheat Dextrin

Fortunately it's only available in Japan at this time. So while the rest of the world is waiting to drink their way to soda-slim, let's stick with the old stand-by advice of eating moderate portions of foods with as few man-made ingredients as possible, and trying not to drink our calories.

-Chris Butterworth


Body Fat Percentage - images by the number

Body Fat Percentage - images by the number

I like using Body Fat Percentage better than BMI as a measure of overall health-fitness-lifestyle.

BMI is an impersonal formula, and doesn't account for bone size/density, nor for muscle vs fat; it treats all people weighing the same weight as the same. In reality this is true, since it was created for (and named for) measuring "body mass", and not "body fat." But it's still disheartening for someone in good shape to hear they're overweight or obese..

Body fat, on the other hand, is just that - how much pure fat is your body storing, as a percentage of your entire body? People in good shape have a smaller percentage of body fat. People trying to lose weight are actually trying to lose fat, which reduces their body fat percentage. (and for 99 out of 100 people, their BMI as well.)

Unfortunately, measuring body fat percentage is a little tricky. There are several methods for doing so, with varying degrees of accuracy, price, and simplicity. And it's not something most of us can do at home.


Marc Perry put together a photo collage of men and women with varying percentages of body fat in his post "Body Fat Percentage Pictures of Men and Women." (click through for more images and detailed descriptions.)

Body Fat Images of Men

body fat images of men

Body Fat Images of Women

body fat images of women

These are perfect - now you can estimate, with your own eyes, what your approximate body fat percentage is. And it might even help you with setting and adjusting your goals as you move forward.

More info on body fat percentage and BMI, from Wikipedia.

-Chris Butterworth


6 tips for counting calories

6 tips for counting calories

The only sure-fire, guaranteed way to lose weight is to eat fewer calories than you burn. There are plenty of gimmicks, tricks, and fad diets that say otherwise, but they're either masking the math, or they're not helping you learn to be successful for the long term.

Count Von Count
Who would be better at counting calories than Count Von Count, from Sesame Street?

Counting calories works, plain and simple. But counting calories is hard - it can be time consuming, tedious, and frustrating. (which is why there are so many fads saying you don't need to do this... for a price. Ahem..)

Knowing what to expect, and having a plan of attack before you start, can be the difference between success and frustration/failure. So, with that in mind, here are some things to consider before you start counting calories:

1.) Know Your Number

How many calories does your body need to maintain its weight, assuming little to no exercise?

Each person will have a different number, and that number will change over time, especially if you're losing weight.

Here is a Calorie Calculator which will give you a rough estimate. (Note - use the drop-down arrow to change the Activity Level to "Sedentary", otherwise your results will be off.) Notice how much it can vary based on your individual situation:

  • 25 year old male, 6' 2", 240 lbs: Burns 2,572 calories per day without exercise
  • 40 year old female, 5' 3", 175 lbs: Burns 1,719 calories per day
  • Look at that difference. If they partnered up together and ate 2,000 calories per day, he would lose a pound per week while she gained almost a pound per month!

Next, once you know your number, decide how many calories below that number you're willing to let yourself eat. This is a trade-off between the amount of hunger you're willing to endure and the speed of weight loss..

  • 500 calorie daily deficit equals losing 1 pound per week.
  • 250 calories per day will let you lose 1/2 pound per week, or about 2 pounds per month.
    • This is my personal favorite. I think it's the sweet spot between losing weight fast enough to be noticeable and eating at a pace that's easier to achieve. Getting down near 1,200 calories per day, every day, is tough. Those extra 250 calories can go a long way towards getting through the day.
  • 125 calories per day and you'll lose about 1 pound per month.

If you're going to put this much effort into something, you better know your number!

2.) Know what you're eating

There are plenty of helpful apps and websites available to help you research how many calories are in whatever you might be eating, so there's no excuse for guessing. When your goal is to be negative by a couple hundred calories a day, miscalculating and ball-park guessing could easily be the difference between success and failure.

  • Lose It - Web, Android, and IOS. Look everything up. Save your searches. Track your calories. Sync between your computer and your smartphone.
  • CalorieKing.com - Website with an extensive list of packaged foods, prepared foods, and raw ingredients.
  • NutritionData.Self.Com - Website from Self Magazine. It's a little busy, but it also has a large database of foods.

3.) Track Everything!

I don't care what method you use - food journal, smartphone app, spreadsheet, Evernote, spiral ring notebook, whatever. If it goes into your mouth, you need to write down what it was, how much, how many calories, and when you ate it. Period.

This practice serves multiple purposes:

A) Motivation. The act of seeing it in writing will make you think twice about eating it. Really. A common thread among personal trainers is "the clients who keep journals succeed; the others don't."

B) Trouble shooting. If you're not doing as well as you expected, it's not because of the math - it's because of the values input into the equation. A look back through your journal can help you find where you might be sabotaging yourself - maybe an extra snack in the afternoon, or you wrote down the wrong number from the calorie website. Whatever the cause, the journal takes any guesswork out of finding the problem, and allows you to fix your error and get back to losing weight!

4.) Simplify.

Every new meal means extra time researching calories. This gets really tiring, really fast. It's better to repeat meals more frequently than you're used to, than to get frustrated by having to look things up 6 or 7 times a day. Get started with a good rotation of a few meals and snacks, then add more, slowly over time.

5.) Exercise.

Your weight loss will come from counting calories, but adding moderate exercise will help in a number of ways.

  • Burn more calories, which speeds up results! Jog 1 mile; burn about 120 calories. Run 1 mile fast; burn about 200 calories (maybe more, maybe less - depending on lots of variables). Fit-20 Workouts can burn a few hundred calories!
  • Helps shape and tone your body. Sure you want to lose weight. But you want to look all sculpted / curvy once you do, right?
  • Gives you a mental surge of energy, knowing you're helping to reach your own goals.

6.) Desire!

  • Counting calories won't be easy, especially the first couple weeks. You have to want this BAD, and you have to be willing to give it 30-45 days. But it gets easier:
    • After the first week, you'll have some go-to items on your menu, so you won't have to spend as much time researching every little piece of food.
    • By the end of the 2nd week, you'll see some results. Even if it hasn't hit the scale yet, you'll notice your clothes fitting a little differently. And that's all it takes - once you see it working, and there are rewards for all that effort, you'll want to push yourself even harder!
    • Efficient Fat Burning - it takes your body more effort to convert fat to fuel than it does to convert carbs, so initially your body is going to send you messages to eat more carbs (you'll notice these messages as cravings and hunger pains.) Over time, though, your body gets used to burning fat, and these cravings will subside.

Never Forget - each pound of fat stored in your body can be used to generate 3,500 calories' worth of energy.

Remember that 40-year old woman in the calorie example above? She was 5' 3" tall, weighed 175 lbs, and needed 1,719 calories to get through a day without any weight change. One pound of body fat can last her for 2 whole days, even if she doesn't eat anything at all.

Let's ball-park that she's about 40% body fat. 40% of 175 equals 70 pounds of fat inside her body. 70 pounds; 245,000 calories of stored energy, just waiting to be used! She could go months without eating a bite of food and be ok.

Put this example back into your own shoes. Will you be hungry throughout the day once you start limiting your calories? Heck yes, especially in the first couple weeks. Will you starve? No chance. Hunger means your body is releasing some of those 245,000 stored calories for energy. Embrace it!

-Chris Butterworth



20 Minute Fitness Workouts - designed for anyone, to do anywhere, at anytime, to stay healthy and fit over the long term.

Time Commitment

Most Fit-20 workouts will take approximately 20 minutes to complete. You may find that as you get stronger and your endurance gets better, you can complete them in shorter amounts of time.

Fit-20 workouts are high intensity, full body workouts, with little or no rest between exercises. This means you will sweat. If you’re trying to squeeze a workout in during your lunch hour, you’ll probably need to account for shower time too.

You also shouldn’t need to “power up” with energy foods for a 20 minute workout, which makes these workouts easier to plan around, and which helps you not have to ingest extra calories just for the workout.

Workout Schedule

Minimum amount. There isn’t really a minimum – even once a week is better than nothing. However, if you’re really trying to lose weight or to get into shape, I’d recommend 3-5 days per week. You can customize your schedule based on your own body – how hard do you push yourself (harder may require more rest in-between workouts), how fast does your body recover, and how aggressive do you want to be to attain your goals?

Maximum amount. There isn’t a maximum, either, with a caveat:  You’re body needs time to heal. Working out can cause your muscles to rip and tear; it’s the healing of these muscles which actually makes your muscles bigger and stronger. Your body needs time to repair the damage you’ve caused to your muscles. One way to do this is to mix in more cardio workouts, especially at lower intensity &/or impact, where you can still burn calories but without putting more stress on your muscles. One of my favorite “recovery” workouts is to ride the stationary bike, using a low resistance level and a high pedal cadence count – my legs don’t get a muscle workout, but my lungs burn and my shirt gets covered with sweat!

Equipment Required

You won't need a full gym to do these workouts.  You won't even need a large collection of weights.  Most of these exercises can be done without weights.  However, these are designed to be full body workouts, and some areas of the body are difficult to train without some sort of equipment.  Some of the exercises will assume you have access to a couple of basic, inexpensive pieces of equipment:

  • Pull-up bar.  Pull-ups and chin-ups are very powerful full-body exercises, and will be featured regularly in the Fit-20 routines.  (They're also easy to adjust the strength required, because you can put a step or chair under the bar, and use your legs to help lift yourself.)  Pull-up bars can be found just about anywhere these days, including Target and Walmart, and run about $20.
  • Dumbbells.  These aren't required for any exercises, but you'll find yourself getting more out of the workouts over time if you add weight, particularly on a few of the exercises.  Ideally you would have access to light and heavy weights - maybe 2.5 - 5 lbs and 10 - 15 lbs for women, and 5 - 10 lbs and 15 - 30 lbs for men.  (you can adjust according to your own strength.)
  • Kettlebell.  Probably my favorite piece of equipment, and there will be a few Fit-20 routines dedicated solely to Kettlebell work; others will have a Kettlebell routine or two mixed in with the rest of the workout.  Kettlebells usually cost about $1 - $2 per pound, so they aren't cheap.  But you only need one, and they're an awesome, simple, powerful tool for overall fitness.
  • Box / Step.  Some of the Fit-20 workouts will feature box jumps, where you're jumping up onto a box and back down again.  You could substitute stairs, or a bench, or a step-wall in the garden - anything safe and sturdy will do.  The height can vary according to your abilities - somewhere between 6 and 20 inches will do. As a bonus, the step can help out as your “spotter” for pull-ups until you’re strong enough to do pull-ups without any help!

Equipment Note.  As far as equipment goes, I don't want you to have to run out and spend $100 before you start the program.  There are plenty of exercises you can do without any equipment at all, which should give you a couple-few weeks to decide if you like the program enough to spend money on equipment. In addition, you can substitute exercises for which you have the right equipment available.

Fit-20 Highlights

  • Short – 20 minute workouts you can fit into your already too busy lifestyle, without having to rearrange your schedule.
  • Flexible – most workouts can be done just about anywhere.
  • Full Body – you’ll tone your whole body to look and feel better.
  • Customize – easy to make the workouts more challenging as you get fitter.
  • Compliments a healthy diet. (I’ll have a section dedicated to diet & nutrition, coming soon.)

Fitness in General

  • Being active makes you a happier, healthier you.
  • Fitness is a great compliment to a healthy diet.
  • Fitness can be done anywhere.
  • Fitness doesn’t need to take over your life with long workouts and expensive equipment. A moderate amount of exercise, say 20 minutes at a time, can have a profound effect on your life.
  • You’re only in shape for whatever it is you’re in shape for. Huh?! Want to run a marathon? Train for it. Want to run a triathlon? Train for that. Want to kick box or fight mixed martial arts? How about fitness boot camps? Or ride the Tour de Your City/State/Country? Whatever it is you want to do will require its own type of training. You can be in awesome marathon shape but not be able to do a 1-hour fitness boot camp. And most MMA fighters, while in fantastic shape, couldn’t run a marathon. You have to figure out what your goals are, and set up a training regimen to match. Fit-20 is a great place to start getting into overall shape – healthier, fitter, trimmer, and happier.

What Fit-20 Won’t Do

  • Want to lose 30 pounds in the next month or two? You’ll need a much more intense workout regimen, along with a carefully crafted diet. Fit-20 is designed to compliment a healthy diet, with a goal to achieve health & fitness over the long term, using regular food & workout routines you can do as part of your life, for the rest of your life. Losing 30 pounds (or a lot more) isn’t too hard, but this program will require more than a month or two.
  • Training to run a marathon? You’ll need to train a lot longer than what this program can do for you. Fit-20 is for long-term, overall health & fitness, but it won’t help you train for a marathon (or any other ultra endurance event.)
  • Be the biggest guy on the beach? You’ll need a few more hours in the gym, and some heavier weight, than what this program can get you. Fit-20 will help you shape your body – legs, butt, arms, chest, back, shoulders – but the goal is health and fitness, not Mr. Olympian.

Fit-20 and Weight Loss

2 thoughts about losing weight.

  • Your diet is far more important to weight loss than your fitness regimen. (see Daily Diet.) You can lose weight without a fitness program. (yes, fitness helps accelerate your weight loss, and it helps shape your body, and it’s good for your heart and overall fitness, but you can lose weight without working out.) On the other hand, unless your fitness routine includes multiple hours per day of working out, you won’t lose weight without adjusting your diet.
  • Sustainable changes. There are lots of options out there – crash diets, eliminating certain food groups diets, hard core boot camp style fitness routines.. They all work, to a certain extent. The downfall to these programs is their sustainability; you probably aren’t going to be able to eat like that, or workout like that, for the rest of your life. So what happens when you stop and things go back to normal? My Fit-20 workouts and Daily Diet (coming soon) are designed to fit into your already too busy lifestyle, which will allow you to use these principles for the rest of your life. Losing 30 pounds in 30 days may not be part of this plan, but losing 25-30 pounds per year, for as many years as you’d like, and keeping it off indefinitely, is. You can make small changes, which are easy to keep, and then let small changes add up to big changes over time.

Questions? Comments? Success Stories? I’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below or shoot me a private email.

-Chris Butterworth

weekend motivation - triathlon video

weekend motivation - triathlon video

Looking for a little motivation to get out there and make it happen this weekend?

Here's a video showing highlights from the Ironman World Championship (Triathlon) in Hawaii:

Here's the link, as videos don't always come through in feed readers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgVr6xgyaCI

Awesome stuff - when I watch this video my adrenaline starts pumping and I'm ready to take on any workout!

swimming in hawaii
image clipped from video

Have a healthy weekend!

-Chris Butterworth


calorie deficit is the real way to lose weight

calorie deficit is the real way to lose weight

I've said it a hundred times on this blog, but today let's hear it from somebody else - somebody who's really smart (an MD who specializes in nutrition.)

From David Katz on the eat + run blog in a post titled "Exercise: of Math and Myth"

"Of course exercise burns body fat.
 If you are like most of us, you once knew this was true, intuitively, and perhaps from first-hand experience. But that was before you knew it was false, because you were talked out of believing the obvious.
You may have been talked out of it by a personal trainer, fitness instructor, or author advancing a pet theory. You may have been told that aerobic exercise is passé, and it's all about resistance training now. Or that exercise increases appetite, and so invariably causes you to replace whatever calories you burn."

calorie deficit is the real way to lose weight
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He summarizes the article with this one liner:

"I would like to approach all of this with scholarly erudition. So here I go: It's BS!"

Then he gives 3 simple elements to the argument that exercise does, indeed, burn body fat, and that it can cause weight loss (provided you replace fewer calories than you burn):

1. Logic
Olympic swimmers are lean and muscular. So are Olympic gymnasts. I have never seen a truly competitive marathon runner or top ballerina who shops in the husky section. Logically, and observationally, there is an association between high levels of physical exertion and low levels of body fat. We see it all the time. Logic and observation converge to say: High levels of physical activity, be they on the ground, in the water, or leaping through the air, burn fat. Period.
2. Laws of Physics
There is as well the simple fact that exercise is work, and work burns fuel of some kind. Newton either said this, or meant to. Let's move on.
3. Limb Loppers
I have lived it many times, most recently this week—courtesy of a massive oak tree Hurricane Sandy brought down across my parents' driveway. I spent just about all of the daylight hours last Sunday working with my father and my son to cut up and haul away the unholy mess that magnificent tree had become (crashing through a couple of other lesser trees on its way down), and clear the driveway. We did it.
In my case, that meant working without a break for hours, using every muscle in my body to the limits of its tolerance. By day's end, I couldn't lift my hands to my head to wash my hair without the muscles in my arms going into spasm.

He goes on to say he ate the biggest dinner of his life, probably 4,000 calories, and still didn't replace all the calories he burned that day. This is similar to what I wrote a few months ago - do really long, intense workouts like Michael Phelps, and you'll be able to eat whatever you want!

After a few more paragraphs about the science behind calories and metabolic rate, he closes with:

Modern living has completely obscured the levels of exertion native to our bodies, and the quantity of calories required to fuel them. Even those of us who exercise daily are relatively sedentary by historical standards. Consider, for instance, early pioneers who spent day after day clearing trees from fields using only hand tools and beasts of burden.
When we don't like the energy-balance math of modern living, we invent myths to replace it. But all such tales simply obscure the basic truth.
Of course exercise burns body fat—or can. But most of us, most of the time simply don't exercise enough to outrun our calories, and readily out-eat our workouts.

manual labor burns calories
microsoft clipart

That's a great article. (and not just because he's got my back!)

Get your body moving - active and passive exercise during the day. Eat fewer calories. Turn up the intensity. And if you have the time and inclination - push your limits for a little longer.

-Chris Butterworth


snack-time - calories vs nutrition

snack-time - calories vs nutrition

I found this on the 9gag.com blog.

snack-time - calories vs nutrition

A couple of thoughts on calories and nutrition:
  • Paying attention to calories will get you 90% of where you want to go.
  • Calories are simply energy, and your body was made to process, store, and then burn (use) energy, regardless of what form it was in when it entered your body.
  • Some calories (sugars and simple carbs) require less processing than others (fat and protein), but the end result is the same.
  • Some foods are more calorie-dense than others, meaning you will feel more full from the same amount of calories. For example, that plate of fruit in the picture above would be a filling snack. Yet 280 calories of Cheetos would barely take the edge off your hunger. (in the picture above, a Snickers bar is 280 calories, which must be the same as 1090kj.)
  • Nutrition plays a role in that last 10%. You can lose weight by counting calories, even if you eat crap. But eventually a lack of nutrition will cause other problems for your body. Eating a variety of less-processed foods helps you capture more vitamins and nutrients.

What are you snacking on today?

-Chris Butterworth