I’m sure you’ve all heard of “calories in, calories” as a surefire way to lose weight. It sounds rational right? You eat less calories than you burn, so of course you’d lose weight. Well this method of losing weight has become a little more extreme than that over the years- the idea is that it doesn’t matter where the calories are coming from or when they eat. And some people may not even exercise, as long as they were eating less than their resting calorie burn. They may eat 800 calories at one sitting and not eat the rest of the day so that they don’t have to exercise. Or maybe they do exercise so that they could eat a little more, but they still choose all junk food which means they end up eating only once a day in order to stay within the calorie range. I’m sure you can see where I’m getting at with this…
This method of weight loss is popular because it gives people the freedom to eat whatever they want and because it makes sense to most people. It’s simple math.
Before I get into why it doesn’t work, I first would like to talk about the word calorie. Most of you know it as something to control in order to manage your weight. Something to fear. Something to avoid. But the truth is that the very definition of the word “calorie” is a “unit of energy”. Think of our bodies as a lightbulb. The lightbulb requires energy to run right? It gets its energy from electricity, just as our body gets its energy from calories. We literally cannot survive without calories, just like the lightbulb can’t be on without electricity. So when people say to me “but doesn’t that have a lot of calories”, my response is always “yes, it will provide you with so much energy!” It’s a POSITIVE. But think about if the lightbulb were to get its electricity in one big burst instead of steadily throughout the time its running. What would happen? I’m not a light bulb expert, but I can’t imagine that it would continue running very efficiently. That’s not how lightbulbs work. And it’s not how our bodies work.
It is true that if you take in more calories than you can burn, it will store on the body as fat. So I’m not saying that your calories shouldn’t be controlled. What I’m saying is that there is a lot more to think about. Getting the right nutrients will help your body use the energy efficiently, so choosing nutrient dense foods is important. Keeping your metabolism going throughout your day will also help ensure that you are in fact burning what you should be- and that requires actually eating enough calories throughout the day instead of too little and all at once. I’m also not a big believer in counting calories. It’s not something you’re going to do for the rest of your life, and there are other ways to control your calories and make sure you’re getting an appropriate amount that is an actual way of life instead of dieting and counting forever.
Knowing what your body needs is so individual, and the path towards ending the calorie count is difficult to do alone. If you want some help, contact me by clicking below to learn more about working together! You can also sign up for my newsletter to receive my free Snacking for Your Metabolism download, and be sure to follow me on social media!