Weighty Matters

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Grams, Calories, Percentages – Keeping Everything in Balance

Cooking Channel is running back to back to back episodes of Not My Mama’s Meals with Bobby Dean.  Months ago I professed my love of that man.  Okay, I’m sure a shrink would have a field day with me developing a crush on a man who can prepare and feed me healthier meals, but I don’t care.  It’s not like I’m going to camp outside his apartment and stalk him when he goes to the market.

On the other hand, Bobby, if you ever google your name and run across this blog how about an episode on small plate dishes?  I’ll come and help you cook.  Ok, my name isn’t a draw.  Maybe Al Roker will help?

Anyway, the man was practically birthed on butter, heavy cream and Southern food cooked by his mother, Paula, who never met a cow product that she didn’t love.  I’ve watched her show in the past and practically salivated over some of her recipes.  However, although they might be good comfort food for the emotions, you and I both know that they aren’t the healthiest for the body and heart.

God love the Dean family.  They realize it too and have amended their cooking and eating habits.   They’ve all lost a great deal of weight and should be applauded for sharing their stories.  I’m sure that butter has not been banned from any of their households, nor should it be.  Sometimes you just have to have a pat.

Ok, back on topic.  In each episode of NMMM, Bobby shows us his mom’s original versions and tells us the astronomical number of calories and fat grams in each serving.  Then he demonstrates what he does to lighten the dishes and slash the numbers.

All of the numbers talk tonight sent me over to my phone to check the myfitnesspal app.  I log my food intake and exercise pretty much every day.  If you’ve never used mfp, there’s a summary feature that shows you the nutrition goals based on the total calories you’re shooting for each day.  It lists fat, total carbs which are then broken down between fiber and sugars, protein, cholesterol, sodium, various minerals and vitamins, etc.

In reading the numbers, I realized that I’ve been following the original food plan for so long that I don’t really know the current recommendations for a healthy, balanced diet.  I know that I’m still eating far fewer calories than I will on a maintenance plan, but I figured there was no harm in looking at numbers now.  I wanted to see how the figures stack up in mfp too.  I did some research and it looks like the official dietary guidelines recommend that protein make up about 10-35% of your daily food; carbohydrates should be 45 to 65%; fats 20 to 35%.  (Yes, if you add the top numbers in each of those ranges, the total comes to greater than 100%.   Hmm.)

Based on 1000 calories, mfp set my daily goals at 38g of protein, 138g of carbs, 33g of fat.  Math has never been my strong suit, but I swiftly figured out that if I was going to figure out the percentages, I needed to know how many calories are in each respective gram.

Gotta love the internet for swift research.  There’s an easy 4-9-4 formula.  One gram of protein = 4 calories.  One gram of carb = 4 calories. One gram of fat = 9 calories.

So, multiply by X, carry the X and, voila!  According this the guidelines, mfp is pretty much on target, except that they set my goal on the low end of the protein range.  At 38g, that’s only 152 calories or roughly 15% of total calories.

Has the arithmetic bored your brain yet?  Yes, mine too.

Right now, I’m supposed to be higher on protein and lower on carbs, so it’s actually good that I went through this configuring exercise.  I still need to shoot for more than 60 grams of protein, but that’s doesn’t mean I can do that and keep the higher carb count too.  On a daily basis, I’ll adjust to up protein and dial back carbs.

I honestly don’t like to get too caught up in the numbers.  It makes my head hurt.  I just like to know the general target for the main components.  If I can consistently hit those, and do the general reminders of shooting for lean proteins, healthy-not-empty carbs, go for healthy fats, I’ll be good shape.  Literally and figuratively.

If Bobby Dean can do it, so can I. 🙂


Immune System Support

Sorry that I missed posting for a couple of days.  I started feeling a cold coming on Thursday afternoon and by evening, when I usually write the blog, I was so tired that I couldn’t string thoughts together for a post.  Yesterday I felt even worse, to the point that I had to bail early on a program session in the afternoon.  I came home and went to bed for three hours.  Woke up, drank some soup, and spent a couple of hours in the recliner dozing off and on before I finally went back to bed at 9.  Although I got up a few brief times during the night, I slept solidly the rest of the time right through until 7 a.m.  I skipped Tai Chi class this morning, went to the store to get a couple of things I needed, and am now taking it easy at home.

By taking it easy I mean that I’ll do a chore and then rest.  I had to put the cover on the pool because I’ll be gone for almost two weeks and the cover cuts down on water evaporation.  Normally this is a clumsy job but not all that strenuous.  Today I needed a 20 minute recovery period after finishing.  Argh.

Looking on the bright side of things, if I had to get a cold, at least it was this week and not next when I’m actually traveling.  I also don’t have a lot of tasks to accomplish this weekend other than beginning to pack.  So, I can do what I need to and also rest as necessary.  I am certain that by Wednesday, when my travels begin, I’ll be fine and ready to go!

This brings me to thinking about immune systems.  All in all, I think I’ve been blessed with a pretty strong one.  I rarely get colds or the nasty bugs that cause stomach or gastrointestinal reactions.  Considering how many years I punished my body with excess weight, you’d think that I would have been more prone to sickness.  Hang on a second while I knock on some wood.

Along with eating for weight loss, in the last several months I’ve also focused on making choices that are healthier overall.  I buy more organic fruits and vegetables.  I read labels.  I honestly want to be healthier from the inside out.  This includes wondering how to support my immune system so that it remains strong and/or gets stronger.  A friend of mine was recently told by her accunpuncturist to add wheatgrass to her diet.  Apparently it’s a super green food that supports overall health and immunity.

I’m into incorporating more greens into my diet and it’s hard to do with the protein needs that come first.  There isn’t a lot of room left in my stomach for salad and veggies right now.  I’ve taken to adding a handful of baby greens or baby spinach into smoothies anyway so what could this hurt?   I stopped into the health food store and bought some wheatgrass powder today that I can add to juice or smoothies.   We’ll see.

Are any of you into immune system support?  Are there any products or practices that you’ve tried and swear helped you?  What are some of the things you’ve done to enhance your health?