MYTH BUSTED: The Calories In/ Calories Out Equation Is All Wrong - It’s Never Too Late Coaching

MYTH BUSTED: The Calories In/ Calories Out Equation Is All Wrong


I really mean it when I shout from the roof tops that everything the diet industry has tried to sell us about calories is flat out WRONG!

If you’re caught in the thought trap that the CALORIES IN/CALORIES OUT (CICO) equation determines what we weigh, let’s put that myth to bed once and for all.

Time to get curious about what’s really going on here.

First, let’s explore the CALORIES IN  side of the equation.

Our bodies are not designed to recognize or calculate calories.  There is no metabolic mechanism that recognizes the calorie count listed on food labels or in diet books.

Our bodies are designed to recognize and respond to hormonal messages communicated by the food we eat. 

100 calories of Snackwell Fat-free Devil’s Food cookies instruct our body quite differently than 100 calories of crispy-skin, roasted chicken.

Foods of equal calorie counts are NOT interchangeable.  They each have different effects on our hormonal messages.

These messages activate cascades of hormones that determine whether we burn energy or store it as fat.  Whether we are hungry or satisfied.  Whether we are happy and excited or irritable and depressed.

Furthermore, while caloric density is one way to measure a certain characteristic about food, it doesn’t explain how your body actually burns and stores energy. In plain English, why we get fat.

Calorie counts on labels and in diet books are far from exact.

Not only are all calories NOT created equal, labeling is not even accurate.

Calorie counts are effected by so many mitigating factors that, even at best, they are only estimates.

Food manufacturers are permitted to under report calories by 20% and still pass FDA inspection.  I suspect that’s a pretty common practice.

We should not rely on calorie count estimates of any foods as the primary determinant as to whether we lose, gain or maintain weight.

The most important shift we should make in our thinking is that WHAT we choose to eat matters more than calorie counts.  And WHEN we choose to eat those food is more important than we ever imagined.

Here’s the number one question to ask yourself about anything you decide to eat or drink.

What hormonal message am I sending to my body by eating this food at this time?  I can help you answer that question.

You can also ask yourself if what you’re choosing to eat is nourishing your body or undermining it’s optimal functioning.  I can help you with that one too!

Now I  think about food as raw material to nourish my body and optimize my health.  I have learned how to break the connection between food as entertainment or as relief from an uncomfortable mental or emotional state.

When I make food choices through the lens of nourishment, I’m at peace with my food plan.

I feel freedom around food.  It feels like I chose rather than that I’m driven.

Let’s take a closer look at the CALORIES OUT side of the equation.

It’s comprised of two parts:  the effect of your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) plus added movement and exercise.

Each of us has our own unique RMR.  It determines the amount of energy we burn 24/7 just to keep our bodies humming.

Your RMR is the amount of energy your body burns at rest.  It’s the measurement that’s often used as a benchmark for how efficiently your metabolism is working. 

The other half of the Calories Out side of the equation is added movement and exercise.

Calories burned through movement and exercise are also just estimates,  While some types of cardio machines and activity trackers are more accurate than others, none of them will be 100% accurate.

In general, they overestimate your calorie burn by 15% to 20% because they can’t account for all the individual factors involved in calorie-burning.

This is the flip side of the CICO coin.

While exercise is very good for many reasons, it will not catapult the typical woman over 50 into fat burning mode.

Unless you’re some kind of an elite endurance athlete.  Or an Olympic level contender.  Or a professional sports athlete.

Does that sound like you?

As a matter of fact, strenuous exercise  actually ratchets up your appetite and you will want to eat even more food afterward.

Bottom line:  even if you add up all the calories you expend according to your RMR plus the energy you expend via movement and  exercise,  you would still have a very hard time burning energy from your fat stores if you’re not controlling the hormonal messages you’re sending.

Avoid the hamster wheel of calorie restriction and yo-yo dieting.

Unless yo-yo dieting has become your new favorite past-time.

If you follow all the traditional dieting advice that advises creating a calorie deficit as the only way to lose weight, I caution you to reconsider.

You will be alarming and harming your RMR if you pursue this approach.

Remember that during calorie restriction, the body “defends” its body weight by lowering resting metabolic rate and reducing spontaneous physical activity.

Restricting calories becomes a vicious cycle that leads to rapid weight gain as soon as you start eating more food again.

Calorie restriction works for weight loss only in the short term.

You can never outrun your RMR.

As you continue to reduce calories, your RMR slows down to match intake.

Once you start reducing calories, you have to keep reducing your food intake even more.

And then more and more just to counteract the slow down of your RMR.  No amount of added exercise intensity can make up for the slow down.  And honestly, who has the time, inclination or energy to exercise like a mad demon?

Mother Nature designed us this way so we don’t waste away when we have no food energy coming in.

Let’s give up yo-yo dieting for good!

Metabolism research does not show any support for the CICO model of weight loss and gain.

It doesn’t take into consideration the fact that your RMR decreases as you consume less food energy.

No amount of calorie reduction and increased exercise can compensate for a slower RMR.

Forgive me for repeating myself, but it is not easy to wean your brain from the CICO model.

If the CICO equation doesn’t work, what does?

If restricting calories isn’t the answer to weight loss, what can you do to move the needle on the scale?

First of all, since metabolism research does not show any support for the CICO model of weight loss and gain, let’s ditch this concept.

And, even more importantly, let’s talk about WHAT you eat and WHEN you eat.  Dialing in these two factors WILL move the needle on the scale in the right direction.

Let’s explore what’s possible for you.  I want to help you achieve freedom and peace around food, your body and your weight.

Schedule your free Strategy Call right here and we can explore what’s possible for you.

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