Keep focus simple this year: calories - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

Keep focus simple this year: calories

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Shannon Sorrels is an NSCA-certified personal trainer and owner of Physix LLC in Ahwatukee Foothills. Reach her at (480) 428-5660 or

Posted: Wednesday, January 4, 2012 11:00 am | Updated: 9:55 am, Mon Aug 13, 2012.

I predict 2012 will be the year of the calorie. No more low-carb this or cabbage soup that. We will hear more and more about the good ol’, simple calorie.

Frankly, I’m thrilled. Some in the health and wellness industry have been chanting “calories” since forever, but we haven’t really been listening.

We’ve preferred the lure promised by off-the-wall eating strategies. We are drawn to them, and the crazier they are, the more we clamor for them. A wacky diet plan has a strange appeal. Calories, by contrast, are boring.  

So, instead, we’ve eaten our way through low-fat to no-fat, low-carb to hCG, vegan and paleo to baby food and grapefruits. Yet 66 percent of us are still overweight, and way too many of us are obese. Either the grapefruits didn’t take, or we were sneaking some Milky Ways on the side, hoping an extra grapefruit would offset them.

We’ve purchased books, watched experts on TV and picked up grocery store magazines — all purporting explanations as to why we are supposedly rendered helpless in the face of fat. Genetics, hormones, pesticides and UFOs have been implicated.

No more. We are about to see the focus put squarely where it belongs: the minuscule calorie.

A calorie is a scientific measure of heat — the amount of energy it takes to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water 1 degree Celsius. Nutritionally speaking, a calorie measures what food is worth to our bodies when it comes to energy. It takes 3,500 of them make up one pound of fat.

Tracking calories in and calories out removes the mystery of why we sometimes manage to shed a few pounds and sometimes don’t. Goodbye to wondering if you were abducted by aliens and injected with fat. Adíos to pondering which diet is better than the other — or if dieting at all is the answer.

By focusing on the calorie, we’ll have direct, scale-moving data. We’ll all know how much we burn in a day just as readily as we know how tall we are. We will quickly assess the caloric value of that mocha-chip scone before deciding to bite into it.

The thought of this calorie-driven world makes me giddy. Getting fit and healthy — sans the time spent unraveling the myths and false information — will practically be a breeze.

• Shannon Sorrels is an NSCA-certified personal trainer and owner of Physix LLC in Ahwatukee Foothills. Reach her at (480) 528-5660 or

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