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Wednesday
Jun242009

Little Things Make a Big Difference

Written by Tom Nikkola - Director of Nutrition & Weight Management

When it comes to exercise, nutrition, and maintaining caloric balance, little things can make a big difference. One example is the "I'll just have a handful," caloric-balance-breaker. For the most part, weight management is about managing the caloric balance - calories in and calories out. There are additional metabolic factors that can play a role in weight management, but to keep it simple, we'll just talk about calories in and out. Assuming all metabolic systems function correctly, having a plan and preparing food in advance can lead to spectacular transformations. However, a handful of this and a handful of that, on top of the proper plan can quickly derail your progress. Some common "derailers" include:

  • One handful of dried fruit & nuts: 150 calories
  • Two "spoonfuls" of peanut butter instead of two tablespoons: 360 calories
  • Mocha Frappuccino Blended: 380 calories
  • Two medium chocolate chip cookies: 160 calories
  • Two lite beers: 180 calories

Obviously, having any one of these once is not going to keep you from getting to your goals, but having "a little something" each day adds up quickly. Sometimes, it's best to stay away from little snacks until you're well on your way to success. When faced with a choice of whether to indulge or not, consider the cost. During your workouts, if you average 10 calories per minute burned during exercise, 150 calories extra per day requires an extra 1.7 hours of exercise each week, to offset the calories.

For those who must have a little treat, you may be better off with less calories in other meals to maintain your desired caloric balance (just don't eat less protein to get your calories down). Even cheat meals can be okay in a nutrition plan if calories are low enough in other parts of the week to make up for it.

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