“I am on a 1200-calorie diet and find it very difficult,” a friend confided. Which is why I try not to get hung up on calories per se. There are days when I am able to keep it down to 1000-1200 calories a day, but it is seldom a nutritionally balanced diet. My husband and I love food and enjoy cooking too much to diet. But I can find a good balance at 1500 calories/day.
It turns out that on days when I didn’t have the appetite or time to eat … such as when I was stressing over my son’s IEP meeting … my body was undernourished. When I give in to cravings I end up loading on carbs and salt. When I steered clear of dairy and meat to keep my cholesterol down I end up eating more carbs and salty food, so it is a vicious cycle.
The key is to eat smart: focus on foods rich in nutrients and which boost metabolism, cut down on foods that are “empty calories,” because they usually add to belly fat.
This is my power breakfast, it’s what I’ve been eating six days a week for months, although the Chia seeds are a recent addition. When combined with green tea and honey this breakfast is 562 calories, but it’s loaded with fat burning nutrients.
And because I am willing to sacrifice my body for the worthy cause of comparing calories in foods we also ate at Shakeys. This plate with a slice of cheese pizza, 3 slices of mojos, and 2 pcs chicken wings (my weakness) is 561 calories, and loaded with fat, protein, and sodium.
Here are the two meals with the same amount of calories, and their nutrition analysis by Caloriecount.about.com: