15 Jul Do Calories Count?
Originally I was going to cover protein today, but since I received several questions about calories I thought I would cover that instead. First, I will share that this observation is based on over 11 years of working with clients, and over 20,000 hours of both nutrition and exercise work in the field with clients for weightloss. This observation also includes my personal struggle with weight and keeping my body fat in check my entire life and finding what has worked for me and hundreds of clients. It will shock some, and to some (who have already worked with me and really research nutrition) it will not be a huge surprise.
Calories are NOT the most important factor when it comes to setting up your nutrition plan for both general health and weightloss. Food choices are. I am not saying eat 10,000 calories and expect to lose weight- that wont happen. There is a calorie threshold limit for everyone. But, when your food choices are correct for your body (i.e. Paleo-style eating for most people) calories take a back seat, and most of the time your body changes on its own. If it doesnt then its because of poor gut health, poor detox ability and hormonal issues.
To start, let’s say you needed roughly 1800 calories to maintain your weight. If you actually ate this over 4 to 5 meals a day, consisting of lean organic meats (which are lower in saturated fat and cholesterol), a couple servings of low-glycemic and low-fructose based fruits (see previous article for this list), small amounts of healthy fats, and unlimited veggies, you would have a very, very difficult time even reaching 1500 calories. This type of eating would also keep insulin in check (which means for most people fat loss happens relatively easily), never be hungry, and the weight would gradually come off. Now, on the flip side eat that 1800 calories with the typical American diet or a higher carb diet and a) you will hit those calories very easily b) be hungry all of the time c) have a hard time controlling insulin and losing fat.
Simply tracking calories and disregarding food choices is a recipe for disaster, frustration and starvation.
If someone pays attention to their food choices vs worrying about calories, their menu will be much more enjoyable and ITS MAINTAINABLE! One of the major issues with counting calories or always being in a calorie deficit, is that you need to stay there in order for results to happen. This is similar to a figure competitor or bodybuilder. They get very lean by eating basically the same thing, counting calories and gradually reducing their calories for a specific event. That lifestyle is not maintainable over time, and if you tried to do that, you would cause a cascade of hormonal damage that even the strongest will power couldn’t control. Most competitors know this, hence why they dont look that good year round, at least naturally..
This was a 30,000 foot view from this concept. If you really want to educate yourself and learn more read these two books, which are packed with research and practical experience:
“The Blood Sugar Solution” by Mark Hyman
“Why We Get Fat” by Gary Taubes