I was curious about how many calories I ate the other day after I noticed an article that mentioned the average American often consumes between 5000-6000 calories during a holiday meal. 5000-6000 calories!? For the average person that's more than double their recommended intake for an entire day. And normally most folks don't exercise on those holiday days, so the impact is even more drastic.
Do you know the nutritional value of what you eat every day?
From my research and conversations I have regularly, most of us don't.
So I used my trusty Fitday calorie counter and nutrition software that calculates the nutritional information and in the foods you eat and gives you the breakdown of calories, proteins, fats and carbs you've eaten that day. It told me I had eaten 1879 calories that day, with 17% from fat, 10% from protein and 73% from carbohydrates, a little less than normal. Here's a snapshot of the summary:
So what did I eat to reach almost 2000 calories this day? Here's a snapshot:
If the image isn't clear, here's what I had this day:
- 2 mango and banana smoothies with dates and oranges
- Large herb salad with parsley, cilantro, kale, spinach, green onions, avocado, raw honey & tomatoes
- Large bowl of applesauce with dates, sea salt and a touch of raw coconut oil
- all home made, fresh and organic
And that's it! Doesn't seem like about 2000 calories, does it?
The software also keeps track of your weight, activity, goals, metabolism, calendar and gives you nice reports that can help you stay on track, especially when you're on a weight loss plan. There is also a web-based version, and I use both, but find the FitDay software version faster, easier to use and has many more features and reports that I like.
Do I use this every day?
No, and I you don't have to either. (unless you'd like to of course)
Here's what I do, and recommend. Use it daily for a few weeks or more to find out the calorie and fat breakdowns in the foods you regularly eat. Play around with several variations of your daily diet to see how you can change it to reach your goals.
Calorie requirements vary from person to person, although on average they should run between 2000 and 2500 a day. You'll want to keep your fat percentage intake between 10-20% of your daily caloric intake and your proteins around 10%. The balance of between 70-80% would be your carbohydrates. Not processed, complex carbs like pasta, breads, pastries or muffins, but simple carbs like fresh fruits and vegetables. This has been found to be the optimal all around ratio for your best health and optimal weight. Of course, you'll find variations, but in my research and personal experience, it works very well.
After you get used to seeing the nutrition values of what you eat and what changes you'd like to make, you can go back regularly and run the statistics to see if you're on track. You may want to use it every day to keep a journal of your progress as well, it's a great way to keep yourself motivated and realistic.
It's amazing what happens when you see the values of what you eat, make changes and how you feel afterwards because you literally are what you eat. It's almost magical... you gain more energy, get clearer, happier and just feel better overall.
To your best health!