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Smoothie Causes Weight Gain

The Shocking Number of Calories in My "Healthy" Smoothie

I hopped on the smoothie train and rode that obsession hard. I was all about green smoothies, protein smoothies, and thick and creamy overnight oats smoothies. There really were no ingredients I wouldn't add, and I loved creating new smoothie concoctions in the search of the ultimate perfect smoothie. And aside from loving that they were quick and easy, especially when I made smoothie freezer packs, I was also doing it to lose weight. Smoothies for weight loss was the newest miracle thing, right? But why then was I not losing a single godd*mn pound?

Maybe my smoothie was more calories than I thought. I blissfully added healthy ingredients to my blender, not following a recipe, and definitely just eyeballing amounts. So could it be that I was adding too much? I decided to measure out what I was throwing in, and here it is (no judgements!):

2 cups loosley packed baby spinach: 20 calories, 2 grams fiber, 2 grams protein
1 frozen banana: 105 calories, 3.1 grams fiber, 1.3 grams protein
1/2 cup frozen blueberries: 42 calories,1.8 grams fiber, .5 grams protein
1/4 cup frozen mango: 25 calories, .7 grams fiber, .3 grams protein
1/2 avocado: 161 calories, 6.7 grams fiber, 2 grams protein
1 tablespoon flaxmeal: 37 calories, 2 grams fiber, 1 gram protein
1 tablespoon peanut butter: 95 calories, 1.5 grams fiber, 4 grams protein
1 scoop vanilla protein powder: 150 calories, 2 grams fiber, 30 grams protein
2 cups vanilla soy milk: 200 calories, 1 gram fiber, 6 grams protein

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Total: 835 calories (!), 19 grams fiber, 47.1 grams protein

Granted, I was sipping on this gargantuan smoothie on and off for about an hour, but still! That's more than half my daily calories for one meal. I was floored. But then I started shaking my head, and it all made sense why I wasn't losing weight, even though I was exercising more.

I still adore smoothies for breakfast, but I'm much more mindful about what I throw into the blender. Here's how I cut the calories in half:

2 cups loosley packed baby spinach: 20 calories, 2 grams fiber, 2 grams protein
1/2 frozen banana: 53 calories, 1.5 grams fiber, .6 grams protein
1/4 cup frozen blueberries: 21 calories, .9 grams fiber, .3 grams protein
1/4 cup frozen mango: 25 calories, .7 grams fiber, .3 grams protein
1 tablespoon flaxmeal: 37 calories, 2 grams fiber, 1 gram protein
1 scoop vanilla protein powder: 150 calories, 2 grams fiber, 30 grams protein
2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk: 80 calories, 2 gram fiber, 2 grams protein

Total: 386 calories (much better!), 11.1 grams fiber, 36.1 grams protein

Difference: 449 calories, 7.9 grams fiber, 10.9 grams protein

Wow. With just a few tweaks, I was able to bring my smoothie down to under 400 calories, cutting out almost 450 calories! I felt so much less bloated and more energetic once I started drinking this new, lower-calorie smoothie. And it's weird. Even after I sipped down that entire 835-calorie beast of a smoothie, there's somethng about drinking your calories that made me not feel as satisfied, so I'd always reach for a late-morning snack such as a handful of almonds with a pear. Now I still occassionally have that snack, but being more mindful of my calorie intake in general made me realize that I really wasn't that hungry for a snack — it was just a habit to eat every couple hours. So now I gauge my hunger on a day-to-day basis. And if I'm super hungry a coule hours after downing my smoothie, I'll have a little something.

Learn from my mistake and take a little time to figure out how much your morning smoothie is adding up to. And once you figure out a good recipe, be sure to measure out your ingredients every single time just to make sure you're sticking to it.

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