Article: Do Calories Still Count?

 Do Calories Still Count? …  By Keith Dorsette                                           

Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) are conditions that are directly related to being overweight and or having poor conditioning. They include heart attack, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic lung diseases and a handful of others. NCDs are the leading cause of death worldwide (more than half), yet a survey taken (in NYC) among 1,000 persons in September of 2015 revealed that approximately 11% of the people know what they are. Even fewer have an idea of how to prevent them. Education and breaking up with a few lifestyle habits can help us all remain NCD Free. NCDs are PREVENTABLE!

By being mindful of calories, we all can reduce the risk of getting an NCD …

When we hear of “calorie counting”, “calorie monitoring”, “calorie watching”, etc., it can often be intimidating, overwhelming and even discouraging. The majority of us are not even familiar with what a calorie is or does, much less have a sense of how to count them. Counting calories is merely a part of the overall accounting process for caloric intake. A major part of that accountability is organizing what type of calories are actually being counted. We (SAAF CAMP) have concluded after training more than 4,000 people over the past six years that a more practical approach to caloric counting and monitoring is understanding the relationship that calories have with your body.

Calories by definition are a unit of energy. It is feasible that calories within our foods can actually power appliances and even automobiles! Your body uses calories to fuel itself. Just as there are cleaner options, more environmentally safe, means of energy sources (oil, wind, solar, etc.) for our powering needs … there are options of energy (junk foods, fast foods, fruits, veggies, meats, etc.) for powering our bodies. Once you understand this, it is easier to make a better decision on what type of calories to consume and which ones to avoid.

If you are disciplined enough (and understand the methodology) to count your calories, you are in a better position to achieve your overall health and weight loss goals. However, you can still have handsome success by “doing less bad” and or “choosing the better option” as it relates to what calories you take in (and what calories to avoid). As a rule of thumb, you want to avoid “empty calories”. “Empty calories” have zero nutritional value, zero vitamins and zero minerals. “Empty calories” are the “house guest” that comes into your home with their shoes on, tracking mud everywhere, eating up all your food, leaving dishes all around the house and hitting the walls by the urinal! They leave a mess that results in damage control after they leave your house. Avoid “empty calories” such as most junk foods, sugary foods, fried foods, fast foods, most processed foods. Invite the good calories into your house. The ones that come with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, medicinal and healing properties. A good place to start is to create a list that includes the foods that you consume the most. Identify which ones are “empty calories” and replace (substitute) them with a “better option”. This practice will keep you in a great position to prevent conditions before the need for treatment kicks in.

While it is very practical to manage your weight by making adjustments to your diet, it is impossible to increase your cardiovascular and respiratory conditioning without exercise. Being mindful of your diet (calorie consumption) and regular exercise are “penguins” (lifelong partners). –Keith Dorsette is the developer and senior trainer for the SAAF CAMP NCD Prevention and Health and Wellness Program. He is also the Health And Wellness correspondent for the SAAF CAMP TV Show. Visit Us At: saafcamp.org