Calories In versus Calories Out?

The fact remains, to gain weight (muscle, if you please– thank you) we need to increase the intake of our most important calories; we must eat more calories than we burn. To lose weight (goodbye, fat) we need to decrease the intake of our least important calories; we must eat less calories than we burn. Cutting edge stuff. ~Dave Draper

Calories in versus calories out . . . if I did a squat every time I heard that, I could kick start a tugboat. While this image isn’t without merit, the advice is. Take it from Draper, the original Bomber (the blonde one, not the bald one) and be smart about your calories. 2,500 calories a day of ice cream, cakes, and sugar infused junk won’t bode well with any amount of exercise you pour into your day. It doesn’t matter if those 2,500 calories are the result of a 500 calorie reduction, calories in versus calories out is not how we work.

Maybe if our founding fathers had had the presence of mind to write into the Constitution, not all calories are created equal . . . you know, on second thought, maybe it’s better that they didn’t. Maybe this knowledge is better when we find it ourselves. If they had written such a noble truth into our constitution, we’d be plagued with teems of lawyers debating the constitutionality of sugary and processed foods every time an obesity epidemic broke out, and overly-intellectual hipsters would be crying about the irrelevancy of 200+ year old wisdom.

Instead, let’s turn our focus away from the courts of public opinion and direct ourselves to the realm of common sense. Calories seem to be the most important aspect of the equation, so our natural tendency is to focus on what’s most important, calories. (Ain’t circular logic grand?) In our case, we do better to shift emphasis to the modifier of our subject, most important calories, or, least important calories.

In normal speak, what you eat is much more important than the caloric makeup of your food. The most important calories we can consume are foods dense in nutrients, such as vegetables, fruits, lean meats, etc. The least important calories we can consume are foods that serve no function beyond mere flavor, such as cookies, cakes, ice cream . . . you know, junk food.

What started with Dave Draper will now end with Jack LaLanne:

If man makes it, don’t eat it. 

That might be a little hardcore for some, impossible for most, but instead of taking it literally, use it to judge the quality of your food. Count the ingredients. If it’s easy to lose count because there are more ingredients than you have fingers, the food is probably full of least important calories. If the sole ingredient is also the name of the food, you’re in the presence of most important calories. As with any advice, there’s always wiggle room, so don’t beat yourself up over this stuff, just set your goals and go for them.

You’re worth every sacrifice.




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