Psychotherapist, Author, Speaker


Robin D. Stone is a New York City based psychotherapist, coach and consultant who works to help you achieve your most optimal self. 

Posts tagged holistic wellness
Why Your Calorie Counts May Not Be Working

Many of us have a hate-hate relationship with calories. If you’ve counted then till the cows came home but lost not one pound, you know what I mean. But here’s how calories can be our friend.

We typically fall into one of three calorie-counting camps: The counter, who tallies every last one of them, the guesstimator, who rounds off, and let’s say the ignorer, who eats “what’s good” for them. All three have pros and cons, and all influence how we lose (or gain) weight. 

Counters have a solid sense of calories and fat, cholesterol, sodium, and for those on eating plans, “points,” but when focusing on numbers alone and not nutrients and other values in food, counters can end up making not-so-good choices. Ever substitute an order of fries for a hearty salad because they have about the same calories count? You already know which is better, but if you’re in counting mode, you tell yourself the swap is OK because it’s even – even though you know it’s not. If you’re a counter, you may also feel like a ship without a rudder navigating a restaurant menu or dinner party spread because you have no idea how much salt (or sugar!) went into that pasta dish. 

“Guestimating” works because it gives you a general sense of your calorie count. But guestimators can run into trouble when they “round down,” shaving calories here and there. If you round your calories, you may end up consuming more than you think. The only person you’re cheating is yourself. 

The Ignorer who pays no attention to calories and focuses on “eating what’s good” is on solid ground with clean, whole foods. But challenges lurk because “what’s good” can be vague, and when stressed or frustrated, what’s good may be a “treat” of something sweet (cake), chewy (candy), salty (pretzels) or crunchy (chips) instead of real, whole foods. 

Whether you’re a counter or an estimator or you play it by ear, calories in are calories in. What we need to focus on more is calories out. 

Think of it like bad budgeting: in order to lose weight, you must run a deficit: Calories in must be less than calories out. For maintenance, of course, calories in must equal calories out. You can’t cheat your checkbook because the numbers don’t lie. So let’s shift the spotlight to the cals you burn. Here are some estimates for an hour workout for a 200-pound person (see more exercises courtesy of the Mayo Clinic): 

Low-impact aerobics: 455

Bowling: 273

Bicycling (10 mph) 364

Rollerblading 683

Running (5 mph) 755

Stairmaster 819

Walking (3.5 mph) 391

Other ways to zap cals: 

Invest in a good pedometer so you’re counting your steps each day. The rule of thumb is 10,000, which equals about 5 miles. If you’re not losing enough, take more steps. Inactive people walk about 3,000 SPD. Don’t be one of them.

Stand when you’re on the phone, reading, or working at your computer. Studies show that sitting for long periods of time is not good for your health and in fact can cancel out all that work at the gym. And too many of us (me included) spend too much of our time glued to our computers, tabs and smartphones. So stand up and even – God forbid – step away. And keep steppin’ for a bit. 

Next time you’re inclined to count calories or guestimate or ignore the numbers, base what you eat on the number of calories you’ll burn. Light activity = light breakfast, lunch and dinner. A half-hour of high-impact Zumba plus stretching and walking = heartier dining. Keep counting or guessing or whatever you’ve done, but beware of the downsides, and at the end of the day, make sure to run a deficit. In a week or a month, the losses will add up big time. Want to tailor a diet and exercise combo that works just for you? Book your consultation now. 

Have a Healthy Day! 

This Way Forward

I thought about writing my first blog post for some time. 

The looped tape of my thoughts went something like this: "I really need to start … really. Hmm. But wait. I’ve got a business to run, clients to coach, articles to write, a kid to raise, the fam, the girlfriends, the volunteering, the this, the that … hmm. Well, I don’t have to start it today. … Tomorrow. Yep, tomorrow …” 

A week went by, then two, then a month. And then I realized that I was thinking and excusing and not doing. Procrastination and paralysis, it’s called. 

Thoughtfulness has its place: You absolutely must bring your unique perspective and creativity to whatever you do. But when you think so much that your thinking leads to perseverating, or worse, allowing excuses to block your goals – then you end up not doing much else but thinking. 

Procrastination and paralysis is a close cousin of anxiety, which tends to stop by for a visit when you’re starting something new and when that something new requires you to change your habits or step outside of comfort zone. Like with starting a blog. Or committing to eat more healthfully and get regular exercise -- two cornerstones to a longer, happier, healthier life. 

How long have you been thinking about eating more fruit and veggies and less packaged stuff and exercising at least 30 minutes a day – and thinking about it so much that thinking has taken on a life of its own and blocked the path to doing? 

Now think about not thinking and instead commit to doing. But how to start? Where? When? Start by knowing the Universe will open up a path for you to move forward. You just need to take the first step. 

My blog will help you get unstuck from procrastination and paralysis -- to recognize the roadblocks to setting a new course for your health and your life. It will give you new ideas about healthy living and eating. It will introduce you to people who will inspire you toward your own personal goals. It is a glimpse of what I do in my Health Coaching practice: help clients get out of their own way to live their best lives. 

One client explained that it took so long for her to commit to a healthier lifestyle because "This changes everything." But she took the first step anyway, and four months later, she is realizing her health goals and her highest hopes for herself. 

Committing really does change everything. 

I encourage you to commit to one thing today to take better care of yourself. Give 5 minutes to deep, quiet thought. Add more greens to your plate at lunch and dinner. Drink a full glass of water with every meal. Take the stairs instead of the escalator. No analyzing or excusing. Just one thing, and now. 

Have a Healthy Day,