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How you can practice "sensible splurging" and still lose weight
June 30, 2006

How you can practice "sensible splurging" and still lose weight

Gina here from Home Bodies!

I would like to cover a couple of diet-related issues today. The first is the question of, "Are all calories created equal?" In other words, does your body process 300 calories worth of broccoli, for example, the same way it processes 300 calories worth of cake? The second issue I would like to cover is whether or not you can splurge on your diet and still lose weight. This is a timely issue, especially with bar-b-que season in full swing, and with the fourth of July coming up!

1. Are all calories created equal?

The truth of the matter is, not really! And the reason is that calories have to be taken into the context of how many your body is able to burn for energy. If you eat 2000 calories per day of junk food, with lots of fat and refined carbohydrates and very little fiber and protein (think most fast foods and sweets) your body will use some of the calories for energy, but convert some of the calories to bodyfat. Your body will not burn as many calories eating a junk food diet as it will burn when you eat a healthy food diet, for a number of reasons.

Every time you eat protein, 25% of those calories are "used up" in metabolism, meaning that of every 100 calories worth of protein you consume, about 25 calories will be required for digestion. Carbohydrate and fat use up just 3% calories for digestion, meaning that only 3 calories of every 100 will be required for digestion. This means the "net" calories left over will be a lot higher. Fiber also has an expensive metabolic "cost" to digest, meaning that the net calories left over with a higher protein and higher fiber diet is a lot lower. So, a 2000 calorie diet containing lots of protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and legumes will require more energy for digestion and your body will probably not have any calories left over the convert into fat, whereas with the junk food diet of 2000 calories, your body will be more likely to have extra calories left over that can be stored as fat. Furthermore, when your diet is deficient in vitamins, minerals, and other substances found in nutritious foods, your metabolism will run slower and your energy will be lower, meaning you probably will not burn as many calories (during the day as well as during your workouts) as you would if you consumed a healthful diet. Furthermore, your blood sugar levels will go through larger swings on the junk food diet, which makes it easier for your body to store your food as fat rather than use it for energy.

Also, junk foods are easier to overeat than healthy foods, so if your diet is largely junk food based, you probably will consume more calories than you would if your diet was filled with more healthful foods.

2. Can You Splurge on Your Diet and Still Lose Weight?

The answer is yes! Sensible splurging actually boosts your chances of weight loss success.

Many of us equate starting a weight-loss plan with forever forsaking the foods we love. Yet, this approach can lead to resentment--and goals abandoned long before their time.

The truth is that you can have your weight loss and eat cake, too-ľas long as you splurge the sensible way. Click here to learn more about splurging the sensible way.

Also, if you plan on splurging on your diet at one point during the day, it helps to make the rest of your day extra-healthy. A protein supplement is perfect in situations like this. I have my top recommendations listed here.
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