Do you still cling to the belief that weight loss is a math equation? Do you think that calories in minus calories out determines whether you maintain, lose or gain weight?
BBBZZZZZ – blooper buzzer time!
I’m here to tell you it’s time to ditch this detrimental thinking. Once and for all.
As Dr. Mark Hyman, author of Eat Fat, Get Thin, says, “Weight management is not a math problem.”
If you think you can eat whatever you want and sustainably lose weight as long as you reduce your your daily calorie intake and keep it within a certain range, that’s a big fat thought error that’s got to go.
Calories in-calories out thinking will keep you helplessly strapped to your seat on the weight loss struggle bus.
Even calorie “awareness” is not a useful tool to help you achieve your weight loss goals.
Yes, you you can lose weight by dramatically cutting calories in the short term. But as we all know so well, it’s not a sustainable approach. Furthermore, it’s unreliable, inaccurate and misguided.. So many unintended consequences follow from this strategy that doom all our hard fought efforts.
All those cycles of yo-yo dieting are the indisputable proof of that.
Think of food as hormonal messengers rather than as calories.
As Dr. Hyman explains, “Food is information.”
When food enters your body, based on what your body needs, it either stores it as fat or uses the food for immediate energy. So, it actually matters what you eat — what the fats, carbohydrates, and proteins communicate to your metabolic system.
These foods do not pass through a calorie counter. There is no calorie counting mechanism lodged anywhere in your body.
Your body doesn’t know a calories from a thumbtack. This misguided focus on calories rather than the composition and quality of our food has caused us decades of frustration.
What’s the evidence that the calories in-calories out model has failed us?
The ever growing obesity crisis! It’s estimated that 1 out of every 2 adults in the entire world is predicted to be overweight by 2030.
Clearly, the calories in minus the calories out formula has not solved the universally challenging obesity problem. And now, in the first quart of the 21st century, science has proven this flawed model is actually exacerbating the situation.
Here’s how Nick Green, PhD explains it:
Calories are units of energy.
But calories do not show up by themselves, they come in the form of different macronutrients.
These macronutrients are proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
The basic functions of each are:
- Proteins – maintain, repair, and build muscle
- Fats – supply the body with necessary fuel
- Carbohydrates – are used as immediate fuel, but when not used they are stored as fat
We also know that each gram of:
- Fat: Contains 9 calories and
- Protein and carbohydrate: Contain 4 calories each
According to Green, this is where the idea of reducing dietary fat comes from.
If you just eliminate foods that contain the most calories, so the thinking goes, you can shed unwanted pounds.
Following that logic, the next step is to reduce dietary fat since it has more calories per gram. As if, in the service of weight loss, the necessary role of fat in maintaining a healthy brain and body is not even a relevant factor.
But disregard the role of quality dietary fat in your diet at your own peril. Your health will suffer in the long run.
There’s a big difference between the fat we eat and the fat on our bodies.
Even though dietary fats, like avocados, olive oil, and butter contain more calories/energy than proteins and carbohydrates, simply consuming fat does not create body fat.
Eating carbohydrates creates body fat. Especially refined and easily digestible carbohydrates because they increase insulin activity.
Reducing insulin activity is key to managing our weight. Fats do not produce insulin but carbohydrates do and to a less, degree, so do proteins.
The idea of reducing body fat by restricting dietary fat calories is flawed from the get-go.
Restricting carbohydrate intake is the key to controlling body fat gain and accelerating body fat loss.
Connecting weight loss to physical activity is problematic.
As Gary Taubes explains in his books Good Calories Bad Calories and Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It, the whole notion that physical activity can make up for a poor diet is faulty too.
By counting how many calories we eat and how many calories we burn, we are left with nothing more than COINCIDENCE. Researchers call this a correlation. It’s not necessary a cause and effect model.
Knowing these two numbers does not give us any new information as to WHY we gain weight.
We may eat 2,500 calories and exercise an hour each day, but this does not tell us why we may gain weight, lose weight, build muscle or lose muscle. They are just two things occurring around the same time. (See Chapters 6 and 7 of Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It for further details).
Research shows the type of calories we eat matters more than the simple number of calories.
Numerous studies, referenced in Eat Fat Get Thin, Good Calories Bad Calories and Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It, document the effects of restricting calories and changing the proportions of macronutrients. These studies explored what happened when people eat 1500, 2000, 2500 calories, or could eat as much as they liked to reach satiety.
Researchers even looked at what happened when varying the nutrients in meals, eating high-fat, low-carb diets vs. high-carb, low-fat diets.
Among the various studies, certain consistencies emerged. People that ate diets with more fat and less carbs:
- Lost weight
- Reported having higher energy
- Were less hungry, and
- Ate fewer total calories
Calorie measurement techniques are grossly inaccurate.
This article describes that the nutrition labels that we depend on for calorie counts are unreliable.
To start with, the FDA allows the food industry considerable leeway in their calorie counting for labeling purposes. They are allowed to be “off” as much as 20%. And, just sayin’, you can bet your bottom dollar they don’t over-report the calorie the count.
Furthermore, their definition of the serving size as listed on the packaging has little to do with the reality of the serving size that people generally eat. Who’s thinking that a muffin portion size is only 1/3 of the single muffin contained in the package?
Calories counts vary based on the size of the food, whether it’s cooked or raw, as well as how the proteins, fats and carbohydrates are absorbed when eaten. Hello microbiome! How healthy are your intestinal flora?
Calories absorbed varies person to person. Hypothetically, the 500 calorie hamburger you just ate might only translate to 400 calories absorbed.
With so many variables, obtaining accurate calorie counts is difficult if not impossible.
Measuring calories expended in physical activity is inaccurate too.
Physical activity is often tracked and measured with wearable technology. Yet, research has shown that these devices don’t take home any prizes for accuracy.
According to scientists at Stanford University, smartwatches and smartphones tend to be off by about 40 to 80 percent when it comes to counting calories burned during an activity
Another study concluded that cardio machines overestimate calorie burn by an average of 19 percent. When broken down by machine, the stationary bike overestimated calorie burn by 7 percent, the treadmill by 13 percent, and the stair climber by 12 percent. The elliptical machine overestimates by 42 percent.
Do we really need to keep counting 10,000 steps or the number of calories burned on that Peleton ride?
Your body reacts to calorie cutting as though famine is causing starvation.
Your body’s evolutionary imperative is to survive in order to procreate at any cost.
By reducing the number of calories you consume for an extended period of time, you are alarming your body. Uh oh, food is scarce. Your life is in danger.
Less food coming in tells your body to use less energy. Your metabolism slows down. It conserves the energy you already have onboard stored as fat, just in case. Your energy is slowly rationed to maintain essential bodily functions.
But when rationing energy doesn’t satisfy basic biological needs, your appetite ramps up. Finding food becomes top priority. Hungry all the time becomes the norm. Willpower is helpless in the face of this strong biological urge to stay alive.
Again, the unintended consequence is the perpetuation of the cycle of yo-yo dieting. Restrict, gorge, regain. Restrict, gorge, regain again. And again. And again.
There is another way to lose weight sustainably and my It’s Never Too Late Weight Loss Program brings the science to you. Now that’s a receipe for success.
To review, here are 6 reasons why calories in minus calories out is a flawed approach:
- Not all calories are created equal – different calories do different things in your body
- Counting calories does not tell you why you gain or lose weight
- Research has shown when people can eat the right types of calories, without restriction, they are healthier and happier
- Counting calories consumed is inaccurate
- Counting calories burned is inaccurate
- Calorie Restriction drives intense hunger as your body fears famine
It’s Never Too Late to stop counting calories and learn what really works for sustainable weight loss.
My weight loss coaching program helps you lose unwanted weight based on 21st century metabolic science knowledge. You really can find the peace and freedom in your relationship with food, your body and your weight you so dearly desire.
It’s time to take me up on my offer for your FREE Strategy Call so you see how it’s possible for you to jump start weight loss.
It’s totally within your power to make 2022 your year to create a healthier you.
It’s Never Too Late to make your weight loss journey easier. A year from now, you will thank yourself you started today.
I’m looking forward to meeting you soon.
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