If you're like me, the thought of counting calories, carbs, points and blocks is about as appealing as getting a root canal.
Keeping body fat at bay during winter isn't all that hard if you're armed with the facts. So what is the right way to fuel up given the double whammy of downtime combined with heavy winter foods?
More: Winter and Nutrition: Fueling for Cold Weather Exercise
It's time learn the truth before the upcoming period of plenty so you don't have to start your next race season by dieting—again.
The Calorie Controversy
Nutrition science confirms it's not just a straight numbers game. The "information" contained within your food calories tells your genes, hormones, enzymes and metabolism how to respond.
Broccoli and Pop Tart calories trigger different metabolic effects in your body. Even Weight Watchers and the Association of Nutrition and Dietetics have finally recognized this fact.
More: How Many Calories Are You Eating?
A 2007 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which followed two pre-diabetic groups who ate the same number of calories and percentage of fat, protein, carbohydrate and fiber, demonstrated the difference.
The only difference between the two groups was the type of carbs they consumed. In the group that ate whole kernel rye products, dozens of genes that had made participants fat and diabetic were turned off and genes that helped them become healthy and thin were turned on. The opposite occurred in the group that ate oats, wheat and potatoes and additionally led to increased stress molecules, increased inflammation and increased oxidative stress.
If you consistently eat food that spikes your insulin level (500 Pop Tart calories), you will gain weight. If you eat food that reduces your insulin level (500 broccoli calories) you will lose weight.
Action: Avoid eating anything during winter months that has more than seven ingredients. Choose whole food that most look like the way it goes or the way it grows. If you can't pronounce any of its ingredients, don't eat it.
Time to banish the low-fat myth along with acid-washed jeans and gigantic shoulder pads as unfortunate 1980s-era fads.
Adequate dietary fat contributes to numerous physiological processes, helps you absorb valuable nutrients, and keeps you full so you eat less.
More: 30 Foods That Fight Fat