OK, so you exercise 1-2 hours every day and STILL can’t seem to lose weight. What could possibly be the problem? Well, one answer might be the sneaky way that additional calories get added to our diet. Innocently eating the wrong kind of snack can blow your weight-loss program out of the water.
Here’s one case in point. I love Pillsbury’s Toaster Strudel, especially the ones with the cinnamon filling. To me, there’s nothing better than starting off my day with a breakfast of 2 pieces of toaster strudel and a glass of cold milk. After all, I just did an intense hour of a P90X workout (I usually exercise in the morning before breakfast). Having something besides my usual protein shake can’t hurt, right?
Well, here’s the problem. My usual protein shake is only about 200 calories – and that includes the banana and strawberries I throw in. However, a quick look at the label on the strudel package rocked me back on my socks. The first thing to notice is that the “Serving Size” for the nutritional information on the label is based on 1 pastry. ONE pastry? Who eats just ONE pastry? So I knew I was trouble from the very start.
I normally have 2 pastries at a time. At 190 calories EACH, that’s 2 X 190 or 380 calories. Add in the calories from the glass of milk (2% milk) and you’ve got a grand total of 380 + 120 = 500 calories. 500 calories! Yikes!
Although the high number of calories is bad enough, a second major problem is the TYPE of calories. Notice in the label that 60 of the 190 calories – about 31% – come from FAT. Ugh! So out of the 500 total calories I had for breakfast, 120 of them are pure fat that I’m sure went straight to my midsection.
A third problem (this just keeps getting better and better) is the type of fat. Again looking at the label, we see that more than half of the Total Fat is the WORST type of fat: Saturated Fat and Trans Fat. There are a total of 4 grams of saturated and trans fat. Since there are 9 calories per gram of fat, that’s 9 x 4 or 36 calories of “bad” fat in EACH pastry.
And if you haven’t already sworn off Toaster Strudels, there’s more. Last but not least, each pastry contains 5 mg of Cholesterol. Although cholesterol is a natural part of many foods, a strudel is probably not the best source of it.
That’s why it’s so hard to lose weight. The stuff you love to eat usually contains an abundance of extra calories that are very easy to lose track of. However, it all eventually shows up around your midsection!
So what are my takeaways from this (besides “ditch the strudel”)? Here are a couple:
- Read the label FIRST. Always evaluate what you are ABOUT TO EAT, not what you just ate.
- Be Aware of the Serving Size. Manufacturers will always try to down play the amount of calories in their products by reducing the serving size. Don’t get fooled by this. Do the math and then decide how much (or how little) you’ll have.
- All Calories Count. If you’re trying to lose a couple of pounds, calories – ALL calories – count. Make sure you don’t let extra calories sneak in just because you take a “pinch of this” or a “spoonful of that.” There’s no such thing as “just one.” It all adds up and it all counts.
- Know the Content of Your Calories. It’s critical that you not only know the amount of calories you’re about to consume, but also the type of calories. Are most of the calories made up of Protein? Carbohydrates? Fats? If it’s listed first on the label, then that’s what makes up the majority of calories.
- Be Aware of the Type of Fats and Carbs. You should also evaluate the type of fats and carbs you’re eating. I shouldn’t have to tell you (or tell myself!) that saturated and trans fats should be at the absolute bottom of your list, not at the top. Refined carbohydrates and sugar should low on your list as well.
The bottom line is that this breakfast “food” bombs out in all nutritional categories. Little wonder that even after killing myself at the gym, when I step on the scale, my weight still hasn’t changed.
Losing weight is like playing detective. You have to ferret out all the places that extra calories are sneaking into your diet and plug the holes. You have to scrutinize every single calories to see what type it is and you have to decide whether eating it will support your goal or not.
It’s not as difficult as it sound but it does take awareness and effort. As for me, the box of Toaster Strudel is now sitting at the bottom of my kitchen waste basket (small tear at the corner of my eye) and I’m back to my low-fat protein shakes in the morning. I’m more determined than ever to control my weight. How about you?