100 lb. Club - Is a calorie .... just a calorie?

View Full Version : Is a calorie .... just a calorie?

07-16-2010, 07:21 PM
First off...... I'll warn you that I haven't been on these boards for about a year, so if someone has already asked a similar question, or this information is posted somewhere else, I apologize in advance for my duplication!!

So here's my question..... is a calorie...just a calorie? :shrug:

What do I mean...... I just got back on my diet starting this week, and I'm finding it incredibly difficult to adjust! Keep in mind that I also just returned from vacation, where I ate anything and everything I could!! During my day of counting and measuring, I'm finding that sometimes, I just want....something sweet or salty or greasy!!

So...is it a HUGE detriment to my weight loss plan to eat something that isn't so "healthy" for me (ie: potato chips or some hershey kisses :chockiss:) a few times a week, as long as I count those calories in and I'm still within my daily calorie goal?

I realize that potato chips aren't healthy...they contain the salt and the fat that I don't need..... but if I only do this once or twice in a week, is it completely horrible and I won't lose anything.... even if I'm accounting for those calories?

Any help is appreciated...because I'm finding myself feeling like I've "cheated" by eating stuff like this....when maybe I shouldn't be beating myself up so much about it!


07-16-2010, 07:38 PM
IMO, you do what you have to do *as long as it's working* and taking you to a place of better health. If eating chips, say, twice a week is an improvement from your past eating, go for it. If it sets you off, or eventually your weight loss stalls, you'll have to reconsider. And eventually you may want to cut them out just because they aren't good for you. But you do not have to cut out everything at once.

A calorie is NOT a calorie, nutritionally and trigger-wise, but there is nothing wrong with slowly improving you eating habits over time.

07-16-2010, 08:46 PM
If you just can't live without a potato chip , eat or two but count the calories. That is the beauty of counting calories , it is less restricting, but you will be better off eating healthy foods.

07-16-2010, 08:48 PM
mathematically, a calorie is just a calorie. Burn more than to take in. Sure. But nutritionally and metabolically, the quality of calorie makes a HUGE difference.

07-16-2010, 09:11 PM
when I get a craving for chips I get the ruffles fat free chips or the ff pringles ;) not many calories & I get my chip fix (normally around TOM)

Watch your triggers....if you can't stop at a serving then you might want to consider distancing yourself from it.

I still eat hamburgers, etc but I've found healthier ways to go about it with ground turkey (99%) or ground chicken.

A calorie can be a calorie but if you want more food out of the deal it might not be that simple ;)

07-16-2010, 09:13 PM
For some people, it's not just the calorie... our bodies seem to react to some calories differently than others. For instance, I've got PCOS, I'm insulin resistant, and I'm pre-diabetic. I can eat 1500 calories/day of a "healthy" diet consisting of about 60% carbs, 25% protein, 15% fat, and not lose anything. I have to go down to 1200 on such a diet to lose steadily, and I'm always hungry, because the carbs don't satisfy... my body is starving for more food. My body does NOT process carbs well. (My six months on Pritikin -- a very low fat, high complex carb regime -- was miserable. My husband calls it "the year S became a total witch!")

But when I eat that same 1500 calories/day as 15-20% carbs, 25% protein, and 55% fat, I'll lose a pretty steady 1-2 pounds/week. I don't get cravings, and my blood sugars don't rise too high.

So while the actual heat unit of the calorie is the same no matter what the macronutrient it comes from (fat, protein, carb), how the body reacts to it may be different. My body, when fed too many carbs, packs that glucose into fat cells as if the Ice Age were just around the corner!

07-16-2010, 09:25 PM
In addition to the "trigger" issue, calories need to be filling--the problem with potato chips is that if you eat potato chips for lunch, you will be starving by dinner time, and even if you don't overeat, you'll spend the evening hungry and wishing you could eat and that saps willpower, leaving you will a little less drive to stick to your calories, a little less strength to get up and exercise. For me, at least, grinding hunger is THE diet killer, and I have to spend my calories on things that fill me up. I don't have many to waste on high-density foods.

This doesn't mean that you can't have potato chips once in a while--treats can also be motivational--but for me, at least, avoiding later hunger is really, really important and that means bulky things.

07-16-2010, 09:53 PM
I agree with Synger.. For my husband a calorie is a calorie, and he never gains!! For me it's the carbs, they absolutely make me gain!! I can eat a lowfat low cal diet and not loose, but if I cut my carbs out, not only am I not having food cravings but I am losing about 2 lbs a week!! I think different bodies process in different ways!! Good luck to you, I hope you find a plan that works for you!!!!

07-16-2010, 10:30 PM
One other thought to throw out there. When I'm hugely craving something salty, I might have a pickle. Yes, it's high in sodium. But it's low in cals and has no fat. It's crunchy and salty and sometimes it hits the spot and is much better, for me, to eat than 2,500 calories and 100 grams of fat by binging on an entire potato chip bag in one night.

And having 1 Hershey kiss? Go for it. Although you may also want to try some high cacao dark chocolate. It is very satisfying without so much sugar. Let one square melt slowly on your tongue. Yummy...

07-17-2010, 12:22 PM
WOW....you all have such great advice...thank you!!

I don't plan on having these little "bad" moments forever...just something to get me through transitioning back to counting calories and watching what I eat, after gorging myself with everything!! It's more of a way to not have to go "cold turkey" and struggle so much that I want to stop counting/dieting altogether!

I love all the suggestions for alternatives....I'm going shopping this weekend and I'll look for healthy foods that still sound good (those fat free ruffles sound great! :T)

I don't feel so guilty now, for eating some unhealthy snacks but sticking to my counting! I've actually lost almost 10 pounds this first week! I know that first week is always the big one, so I don't expect the weight loss to be so huge going forward, but it is definitely a little ego booster!!

Thanks again!!


07-17-2010, 12:58 PM
As stated before, a calorie is a calorie. However some calories fuel your body for fat burning, while others will send you idle. Don't make yourself miserable, everything with moderation!