The Quality of Your Calories Trumps the Quantity of your Calories Every Time

I just came back from a five-day holiday in Hong Kong and it was a fun trip. It was a departure from my usual trip where I race or do a cycle tour. But it wasn’t a typical Hong Kong shopping and eating trip. I managed to go on a city trail hike one morning and played at the beach one afternoon. Other than that, it was more like the typical eating and shopping trip.

My breakfasts consisted of the usual Hong Kong dim sum with a spread of high-carb goodies like char siew pao, congee, etc. There was also food like the Hong Kong cafe meal of a ham omelette with toast that I washed down with Hong Kong milk tea.

For lunch I feasted on roast goose rice. I ate lots of it to soak up the wonderful sauces.

For dinner one night I ate steamboat with lots of seafood and meat. Another night I ate steak and salad.

Of course, I snacked on egg tarts and local street snacks. I even enjoyed beer and chips by the beach one day. That day ended with coffee and cake for dessert and then a drink in the bar.

All in all, I put on 2.5kg (5.5 lbs) in five days! When I got back from the airport that evening, I weighed 63.9 kg (140.8 lbs)!

Too shocking for words!

When I got back home, I got back to my regular diet and routine of a once-a-day workout.

In three days I got back to my regular weight of 61.3 kg (135.1 lbs)!

My secret is . . .

Diet.

I didn’t exercise any more than usual, nor did I change my diet to eat less.

I went back to eating my usual high-protein breakfast of eggs and salad; lunch of salad with meat; snacks of fruits and muffins I ( do eat carbs!), coffee with full-cream milk and lots of cold-brewed tea; and for dinner I have rice with whatever my parents eat. But, I only eat a half-portion of rice.

It’s not about how many calories, but what kind of calories you eat.

According to the famed Pritikin Longevity Center and Spa, it requires both exercise and diet to properly control one’s weight. However, the main focus should be on diet and getting calories from the right foods.

As a culture, adults in the United States have increased their calorie intake by about 500 calories a day since the 1970s. Over the past 40 years, that fact has caused adults to slowly pack on pounds. Logically speaking, that means we need to remove those 500 calories from our diets as well as continue to exercise.

Exercise has a multitude of benefits including reducing blood sugar, reducing the likelihood of strokes, decreasing stress and increasing mental sharpness to name a few. But, exercise alone is not the solution to reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. More and more studies are showing that following a regular exercise program without changing your eating habits is not enough to keep the pesky extra pounds off.

Armed with that knowledge, you might think the answer is to simply count calories. However, that’s not the case. Rather than simply eating smaller portions of the foods that are not healthy, all we are doing is remaining hungry because the quantity we are eating is low.

The better option is to change what we eat. You should be getting your calories from foods that are rich in fibre and not calorie-dense. Some of the best choices include

  • Fresh fruits

  • Fresh vegetables

  • Water-rich whole grains

  • Nuts (in small amounts)

  • Dairy (in small amounts)

  • Lean animal protein

As you start out on your weight loss journey, you might be tempted to adopt a low-fat diet. But think twice before you do. Many studies have been done that prove that reducing your level of refined carbohydrates is a better option. According to multiple studies compiled by Authority Nutrition, show that reducing calories that are derived from refined sugars is a better weight loss strategy than reducing calories that are derived from fat.

Overall, if you are tired of being overweight and want to reduce the fat in your body, you need to combine a healthy diet and a regular exercise program. When you think about what to feed your body, make good choices that center around nutrient-rich foods. Before long, you will see the weight shedding from your body, you will be healthier, and you will have a more positive outlook for yourself.