If you are a person that exercises regularly and likes to eat food as much as I do, you probably have been asked the question: “How do you eat so much and stay so thin?” Or what about snide remarks like “all you do is eat or you must have good genetics.” There have been people in the past that have even nicknamed me JFK- Junk Food Kathleen. If you have received similar questions and comments like these, have you ever felt like asking them where they were at 5 o’clock in the morning when you were headed out the door for your daily exercise routine regardless of the weather pattern.

Based on my height of 5’4″ and not revealing my weight to the world, my body mass index is calculated at 20.6. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention‘s body mass index calculator, I am within the normal category for my height and weight.

I have never been a person that has needed to count calories on a regular basis to maintain my weight. I also don’t rely on my genetics to keep me at a healthy weight. I rely on how my jeans fit. When my jeans start to feel like they are suctioned on to my body, I lay off the Wavy Lay’s potato chips and Heluva Good french onion dip and gummy bears for a while. I also make sure to increase the mileage of my runs in an effort to burn more calories.

The formula to maintaining weight is not a secret and without getting too technical you only need to understand: calories consumed – calories burned = X

At the end of the day, the sum of X will control how the numbers fluctuate on the scale. Obviously, if you are trying to maintain weight, you want X=0.

I wish that I could say that I only consumed foods that are good for you or that I was a vegetarian, and did not drink alcohol, but that would be a lie. My goal every day is to ensure I get the required nutrients that I need to stay healthy and strong. I try to incorporate foods that give me more nutrition bang for my buck to ensure I get the adequate vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber. Foods like oatmeal, lean meats & seafood, beans & legumes, fruits, leafy vegetables, and nuts are foods that can make you feel full longer so you are not raiding the candy jar for a pick me up in the middle of the day. Even with all that , I still raid the candy jar!

In an effort to monitor my daily nutrition, I downloaded two apps to my phone to track my intake of nutrition by inputting in all the food and beverage that entered my mouth. These apps also calculated the number of calories I consumed by entering my meals into the food log. It was a shocking to learn that I started my day consuming over 250 calories by simply drinking my morning cup of java. I guess that I never realized how many calories were in each tablespoon of pumpkin spice Coffeemate. When I measured how much coffee creamer I actually poured into my mug before adding the coffee and did the calorie math, my jaw dropped.

A couple of days of measuring and entering the foods and beverages I was eating into a diary was enough for me. Way too much work. As long as I am consuming a variety of fruits, vegetables, dairy, carbs, and protein into my daily meals, I should be ok from a nutritional standpoint.

I do believe that if you want to lose weight or maintain your weight that tracking your calories consumed and calories burned is a great way to go. There is something about measuring and weighing your food portions that keeps you on the up and up. Calories add up quick when you start entering in wasted calories from alcoholic beverages, condiments, flavor enhancers, and junk food.

I am a firm believer that everything in moderation is fine. Just try to find a happy balance with the good and not so good for you food. But in the end it all comes down to my jeanetics.

Have a wonderful weekend and feel free to agree or disagree in the comments section.