To count calories or to not count calories?
Question: How many times have you have tried calorie counting? Probably quite a few, I bet.
Also how long did you maintain the counting for? Is it a forever change?
In my humble opinion food is not just about energy.
Food isn’t there just to provide us with fuel; it is there to help us keep well, build cells, feed our brains and do many other things.
The foods that are really good at all these other tasks are those that contain, essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, essential vitamins, essential minerals and fibre.
While calorie counting does tell us the amount of energy there is in food, it does not give us a whole heap of other critical information which will affect our weight far more than simple energy intake. Calorie counting does not tell us about the impact of food on the following:
- Insulin response - Satiety (feeling full) - Metabolic Rate - Nutrient famine - Thermodynamics (the calorie burn)
Each one of these issues makes a mockery of calorie counting.
To help you out I have set out below a list of foods all equal to 100 calories, which highlights the complete stupidity of measuring food simply by its calorific intake and then building a whole nations eating habits on this limited and frequently misleading information.
- 1 boiled egg - 40g bran flakes - 1.5 brazil nuts - 1 chocolate biscuit - 100g kidney beans - 120g new potatoes - 500g spinach - 60g steak - 36 strawberries
A study conducted by Astrup, et al (1999) found “that when you reduce the amount of food you eat, the body will recognize the reduction in calories and, if this continues over an extended period, it will comparatively reduce its metabolic rate”.
This is a perfect way to conserve energy. So eating less can, for many, means that the body simply starts to slow down; while you are calorie counting your body is energy counting.
As many experienced dieters have found out, during the first week or so you lose lots of weight on a calorie controlled diet, but then weight loss slows down as the body slows down to accommodate the reduction in calories.
This is very annoying however inevitable.
The British Nutrition Foundation has suggested that you may ‘fool’ your body out of this behavior by feeding the body with the same weight of food but with fewer calories.
They suggest that you eat lots of foods that are high in water – but as far as I’m aware there is no proper randomized/clinical evidence to suggest that this is correct.
Calorie counting or the roller coaster ride for our bodies may well be accelerating the obesity epidemic by reducing the metabolic rate – and when we return to higher-calorie meals (as we always do), we regain the weight lost, and sometimes add more, as our metabolic rate has been lowered.
Does this sound familiar to you?
Here's what it's all about.....
It’s all about the hormone!!!
In order to lose fat off our bodies, we need to create a hormonal environment that encourages fat burning such as consuming the types of foods your body was designed to eat, the types of foods that balance hormones, the types of foods that promote optimal function of your body.
When you can do this, the body sheds weight because you’re naturally aligned with nature.
And one of the most important things is that you can sustain your weight loss long term, which counting calories or your local slimming club won’t help you to do.
So here you are yo-yo dieting, losing the weight, putting it all back on again, only to have to lose it again.
Stop doing it to yourself.
Let go of those ways of ‘dieting’ and start focusing on what really matters, simple, yet delicious real food is a lifestyle that’s sustainable.
You don’t have to count calories. If you were an elite athlete with nutrition goals and a busy training schedule then yes your food would need to be looked after and monitored to your specific sport or discipline.
You on the other hand can enjoy loads of delicious fresh real foods, and you can eat A LOT, lose weight and most importantly, keep it off.
There are two ways you can play the weight loss game.... (HINT one is the best way)
One: Fat loss is about mastering your hormones, exercising smart and making the proper lifestyle modifications for permanent internal and external transformations.
Two: Weight loss revolves around your daily appointment with the bathroom scales and your obsession with a number. This kind of weight loss is temporary.
Its fleeting nature is all too familiar to those who are trapped in the zone of eating less and exercising more.
Fat loss is easily achieved by lowering certain carbohydrates (Highly processed, refined and high Sugar foods) in the diet, which reduces insulin levels in the blood, which will make our bodies stop hoarding energy in the fat cells.
Avoiding heavily sugar laden foods specifically will also improve our sensitivity to the hormone leptin, which will make our brains want to eat less and burn more.
Bottom line: Calorie counting doesn't tell us if the food is nutrient rich.
Nutrient rich, rather than low calorie food is critical for good health.
Calorie counting is essentially unsustainable unless you intend to spend your time working it all out on a calculator or live off pre-prepared food and even then you must rely on the competence of the manufacturer.
Eat real food, enjoy real food and eat until you are satisfied.
Coach @ KEBOfit
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