April 3, 2008

What Really Counts?

When I first started taking short-acting insulin, a nutritionist taught me to count carbs so I could take my insulin accordingly. Before this, I had never paid attention to the quantities of food or carbs that I swallowed.

I bought The Calorie King's Calorie, Fat & Carbohydrate Counter book and carried it with me everywhere. The book was incredible. It listed the calorie, fat and carb content for thousands of foods, including dishes from chain restaurants, and it somehow fit in my purse.

This was my bible for years, looking up the contents of each meal so I could accurately take my insulin. The problem was that no one had ever stressed the importance of looking at the calorie or fat listings in the book. I literally only looked at carbs.

Last fall, I started seeing a personal trainer at 24 Hour Fitness. He was shocked to discover that I didn't pay attention to calories, and immediately put me on a 1,200-1,500 calorie/day diet. That, combined with a new weight lifting and cardio routine, made my body start morphing into something a bit leaner that I was more comfortable with.

Ever since my eyes were opened to the importance of calories, I started to see all the mistakes I was making with my "attention to carbs only" diet. There were foods I ate high quantities of because they had little to no carbs, like cheese, eggs, olives and mushrooms. I considered them to be "free" foods. I couldn't have been further from the truth. These calories were seriously adding up!

Now that I've been awakened to the world of truly healthy eating, I know that there is no such thing as a "free" food. It all adds up. I just wish that someone had told me this from the start.

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