Calorie Counting and Intense Exercise ~ Is it for You?

What Does 200 Calories Look Like?

First let me make something clear, I am not a calorie counter and don’t believe in it. However, this video is produced by Asap Science and is a great example of how to think about food and what your choices are doing for you.  For example, I rarely drink juice because it doesn’t fill me up and there are often many additives I don’t need.  I would rather go for a whole piece of fruit that is completely natural (minus all the junk that is added during the growing process) and will help fill me up.  Even without counting calories, this can help you make better choices.

Calorie counting is way too much work for me. I believe it is more about how certain foods react with your own body to cause weight gain, rather than just counting calories.  For example, through The Plan, I discovered that chocolate is a “friendly food” for me, but that 6 oz of sole fish will cause me to gain up to one pound, due to inflammation I experience as a result of eating it.

Cool and Fun Ways to Burn off 200 Calories

Asap just put out another video to follow-up on the first.  It has some crazy ideas about how you can creatively burn off 200 calories.  Some of the ideas are wacky and of course, you would never do, but others are quite doable.  Check it out.

Exercise and Weight Loss ~ A Battle of Perceptions

There are many that believe that hardcore workouts like CrossFit, Insanity, P90X and bootcamps are the answer to their body woes.  Within that group are those that truly love to push themselves through hard workouts and have great results with such programs, but there are also many people like me.  I have completed the P90X twice and tried the Insanity program, but quit because I thought I might have a cardiac arrest.  (Even I know my limits and when to break a commitment.)  I have to be honest.  I hate working out or at least those hardcore workouts in which my body is left feeling beaten up.  I hate intense cardio and when I am following a program or routine like the above it is has always been with one purpose.  Results.  Don’t get me wrong, at the end of such a program, my body would be leaner and I would feel great about myself and my accomplishment.  However, reality would soon set in.  There is no way that as a full-time working mom with active kids and a very demanding job that I can continue to keep up the pace of working out 1 to 2 hours every morning.  I would burn-out and be right back where I started in no time at all.  This system of chronic exercise simply does not work for me and I believe there are many others out there who are like me.  They do not love the intense exercise, but believe that it is the only path to get them to where they want to be.

Some experts are now saying that chronic exercise can actually have the opposite effect on our bodies and in fact cause weight gain.  In Lyn-Genet Recitas book, The Plan, she says:

Overexercising puts your body through stress.  If you’re exercising day after day, your body gets the message that it needs to hold on to more calories to keep up with the energetic demands.  It doesn’t know how much energy it will need, so it adapts to the energy requirements you are programming into it and holds on to more and more calories for potential future survival.  That is why chronic exercisers have trouble losing weight.

The Primal BlueprintMark Sisson also talks about the benefits of low-level aerobic activity along with some strength building and “sprinting” in his book called The Primal Blueprint.  The premise is that we were never designed to go to the gym 5 to 7 times a week.  He suggests dancing, hiking, gardening, swimming, rollerblading, ice skating, yoga, racquet sports or any other activity that keeps you active and that you really enjoy doing.  He couples this low-level aerobic activity with simple strengthening activities such as push-ups and recommends “sprinting” once  every 7 to 10 days.

What Works for Me

I have found that the key to my success has been the discovery of foods that react with my body.  Although I am still in the process of testing many foods to determine if they are “reactive” or “friendly”, it has been so empowering to know and understand my own body.  I am certain that my battle was not with the occasional sweet treat, but rather with my sacred group of “go to foods” that were part of our regular healthy menu.  In Lyn’s book, she identifies 7 specific foods as “The Devil Foods”.  It is not that these foods are evil, but rather that we are being deceived into believing that they are great healthy food choices when in reality they are reactive for many.

…the reason I get so worked up about these food is that people are making a concerted effort to include them in their daily diets, and


So what are the DEVIL FOODS?

  • oatmeal
  • salmon
  • asparagus
  • tomato sauce
  • tofu
  • black beans
  • turkey
low sodium chips

Kettle Chips available at all major supermarkets.

So, if you are like me and was on the “treadmill” of life trying to eat well and exercise like crazy to get rid of those extra few pounds.  Maybe it is just a matter of figuring out what works for you and your body.  Here are a few other foods that were part of our regular diet and that I discovered can be highly reactive for many people:  farm raised fish, corn (I already knew this one), thick crust pizza, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese and grapefruit.  Would you believe I used to have a protein shake and a grapefruit for lunch everyday for 6 months?  85% to 90% of the population react to the foods I mentioned above. Who would have thought that a small of bowl of low sodium (Kettles) potato chips is better for me than a grapefruit!!


I am so excited about my new blog and hope you are enjoying it.  If you like this post leave a comment below.

Entertaining on The Plan

Originally I published this post on another blog, but this recipe is so delicious, I copied the post!

Company for Dinner, but Sticking to The Plan

Last night was the first time we entertained since I started The Plan.  We had friends over for dinner and served a plan friendly menu consisting of:

  • Roasted Vegetables (baby potatoes, beets, carrots, broccoli, zucchini and onions)
  • Mixed greens with avocado, apple and red onion served with a Lime Vinaigrette
  • Chicken breasts in a lime marinade served with Mango Cucumber Salsa

I must say the meal turned out well as all of the recipes in the book are very good.

Dessert:  Chocolate of Course

The dessert was not from The Plan, but I tried to pick something that I thought would have low reactivity and be yummy too.  In the end, I went with one of our family’s favourite recipes and as always, it was delicious.  This chocolate cake is super moist and light.  An absolute must try.  It may look complicated and hard to make, but it is actually super easy and never fails, so its well worth the effort.

chocolate mousse cake


Chocolate Mousse Cake Recipe

  • 7 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 7 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp. cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 325.  Melt chocolate and butter over very low heat.  In a large bowl, beat egg yolks and 3/4 cup of sugar until light an fluffy.  Gradually beat in chocolate mixture and vanilla.  In another bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks form.  Add remaining sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time.  Keep beating until stiff.  Fold whites into the other mixture.  Pour 3/4 of the batter into an ungreased spring form pan and bake for 35 minutes (until top begins to crack and sides begin to peel from edges of pan).  Cover and refrigerate the remaining chocolate batter.  Let the baked cake cool in the pan.  It will shrink, so don’t be alarmed.  When cool, remove the sides of the pan.  Stir the remaining batter to soften slightly and spread over the top of the cooled cake.  I usually pop it in the freezer or fridge to set for a bit before icing.

Ice with:

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup icing sugar
  •  1 teaspoon vanilla or Kahlua

In a small bowl, beat the whipping cream until soft peaks form.  Add sugar and vanilla.  Beat until stiff.  Spread frosting over the top (you may want to double if you wish to cover the sides as well).  Garnish with shaved chocolate.  Refrigerate.  This keeps really well in fridge for several hours or even overnight.  It also freezes well for a great make ahead dessert.