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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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What's Your CQ?

You've heard of IQ (intelligence quotient), and you may have heard of EQ (a.k.a. emotional intelligence), but what about CQ (calorie intelligence)? In other words, how smart are you about calories? The way I see it, calories are a lot like money. We each have a budget to work with, and spending more than we've earned gets us into big trouble. Overspend funds and you rack up debt; overspend calories and you pile on pounds.

Financial experts often advise those "in the red" to start writing down every little thing they spend so they can see where their money goes (i.e. one $5 coffee drink per day and poof, $150 per month out the window - that's $1,800 per year, the price of a pretty nice vacation).

If you struggle with your weight, writing down what you eat (in a food journal) can also be effective, but there's one major problem - you might not know exactly how many calories you have to spend in the first place. To figure it out, follow this link:
http://www.cancer.org/docroot/PED/content/PED_6_1x_Calorie_Calculator.asp

Wanna earn more calories to spend? An hour of dancing could inflate your budget by more than 300 calories (that's a 15% increase for most of us!). Check out the "earnings" tied to other activities here: http://www.cancer.org/docroot/PED/content/PED_6_1x_Exercise_Counts.asp

P.S. Now that you know what your budget is, you can really put the digits in perspective. For example, a $500 pair of shoes could be a drop in the bucket to some, or a heavy chunk of change for others - ditto for meals and snacks. If you dine out often, surf your favorite restaurants' sites for calorie info. After all, you wouldn't buy a sweater without knowing how much it cost, right?
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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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