The Calorie Count or “Hell yes to that lasagna!”

Do you do this? Counting calories always seemed to be the sort of thing that only athletes and obsessively skinny people did, but every so often these days I do stop to take a quick check of what I’m putting into my body.

According to my height and weight, I think I’m supposed to eat about 1800 calories a day, and I usually aim for under that because I figure there’s no point adding muscle if it’s just sat under fat so no one can tell how much firmer I am. This sounds a bit silly as I type it though, because adding muscle burns calories and the more muscle you have the more it burns so one theory might be to eat more food but exercise way more to burn it off and thereby have more of an effect than just starving yourself. (Although you run the risk of eating more then slacking off when you’re meant to work it off.)

Of course, I would never tell someone to starve themselves anyway. It’s just not healthy and when your body thinks it’s being deprived of food it actively stockpiles fat (genius!) But within a few weeks of reducing your portion size by a tiny amount each meal, your body will be accustomed to the new size of dinner and should not need any more. In your mind you might want some pudding but actually your body is done eating. So keep doing this until you feel your intake is creating the size body you want. And if your stomach starts grumbling around 10:30 and you start blaming that single slice of toast and egg you had for breakfast, eat an apple- 66 calories only. Or a banana, because I personally find the acidity of apples makes me hungrier, but that’s 100 calories. Still very low though, and all fruit is good for you. Actually I’m sure someone’s told me you’re now meant to have 10 portions of fruit or veg a day. I’m not sure how you’d fit that into a balanced meal (especially as my breakfasts are usually almost pure fibre) but even if each portion was 100 calories, which it wouldn’t be, you’re only halfway through a 2000 calorie a day intake, which is fine for an adult, especially for a man. So munch away at that fruit and give yourself a smaller lunch because of it.

I definitely eat bigger lunches than I used to because I would make a box of salad for lunch with a little protein in it like ham or tuna and that was it. But now I get hot meals provided free and I’m all “Hell yes to that lasagna!” So I felt that I should do a quick calorie check to make sure that I’m not ruining all my hard work at the gym by getting my body accustomed to a far higher level of calorie intake than it should be. The way I do this is to think of some example food/meals that I’ve been eating and simply google the calorie content. Naturally, this is just a rough estimate because one person’s lasagna is very different to someone else’s and what is a ‘portion’ anyway? (In my head it’s the whole lasagna dish and a fork)

So here’s an example:

Breakfast: 1 weetabix- 140 calories- and about 100g oaty fruit mix (so technical, also the weight is a total guess) Total maybe about 400 calories

Lunch: Lasagna and salad, then a banana, total about 600 calories

Dinner: Fishcakes, ragu and tartare sauce, total about 600 calories

Boom, coming in under target. Now I can feel good about myself because I’m doing about right. There’s even wiggle room in there for a yogurt for pudding. My point is, by checking occasionally, I find that it motivates me to continue feeling good about myself, when I’m eating tasty food and thinking “oh no, I dun messed up.”

Lasagna.

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