We’ve all heard the sayings about weight loss and calories:
- A calorie is a calorie
- Energy in energy out
- I can’t eat any more today…I’ve used all of my calories
These and more, are sayings I hear all too often as someone who has been in the Health and Fitness industry for over 27 years.
And as someone who also owned a Health Centre with around 300 people walking past my door each day and around 1700 members, I can say I am, and have been, asked daily:
- What should my calories be?
- What do I do to lose weight quickly?
- Why does the weight always come back on?
- If I have gone over my quota of caloric daily allowance and I’m really hungry what do I do?
This has concerned me for quite some time!! What are we teaching people about weight loss and calories?????
Why all calories are not the same
A calorie is not a calorie –putting in a plate full of vegetables, lean meat, and good fats is clearly more beneficial for the body than a doughnut.
This is basic information and something I’m aware we all know. Why then do we get caught in the trap of this kind of thinking and behaving?
- Will that doughnut that equals the same amount of calories as the large plate of food described, fill you with nutrients?
- Will it provide much-needed fibre for your bowel?
- Will it fill you up?
- Will it provide energy that is sustainable?
- Will the doughnut impact your insulin levels?
- Will the doughnut cause inflammation in your body?
- Will the doughnut cause a crash and burn effect in your energy levels?
- Will the donut leave you hungry and wanting more?
- Will the doughnut contribute to anxiety levels? –(Sugar and stimulants have been proven to be a nutritional cause of anxiety).
- Will the doughnut increase feelings of guilt that hinder my progress?
Now obviously we are not talking about one doughnut, but rather the behaviour that sits behind the thinking of low-calorie diets and the deprivation that goes with them.
But everyone counts calories, right?
All of the questions above are valid questions that I encourage you to ask yourself before you listen to another “instagram and fitness expert” tell you that a calorie is just a calorie and to count your calories throughout the day, while you jump on the scales and look at what will be a hopefully lower weight.
The difference in calories between one made or produced in a factory or laboratory that can be harmful to us and one full of nutrients that was made by nature is not only substantial but significant in every way.
Take into account absorption of those nutrients, daily requirements of certain nutrients due to stress, lack of sleep, inflammation, digestive complaints…….the list goes on……
There are times that very restrictive dieting, monitored by a professional is what is needed to win competitions for example. For most of us, who are not competing though, what is needed is to move into our natural state. One which provides us first, with health and as a result, our body moves to its beautiful natural shape, perfect only for us.
For me, there is not much worse than seeing someone sit in front of me hating themselves, their body, having health challenges, hating the food they eat because they have been taught that food is the enemy, that their body is annoying and needs to be restricted and punished and that health is basically hard work.
This is not done with intention, but with a misunderstanding of the long term consequences of educating people that a calorie is just a calorie and to lose weight all they need to do is expend more energy than you put in. So if you have taken all your calories for the day and are incredibly hungry, stay hungry because that’s it today I’m afraid!
Perhaps you did grab a chocolate bar at the checkout and ….well there it is…all your calories gone in about 5 minutes….should you not eat your lunch or dinner?
Should you still eat because you are hungry but take some calories from tomorrow? How can we be taught this and not look at food as the enemy??
In its simplest form, energy in energy out may be somewhat true, however after 27 years in the industry, after seeing people punish themselves each and every day, after seeing people go hungry and go to the gym or exercise without any real body change over the years, do you think there may be a better way?
Why counting calories never works
If calories in, calories out for weight loss is the answer…..why are we more overweight and unhealthier than ever before?
Why does the weight come back on if it works so well? If dieting worked, why is it that on average, people choose to go on around two fad diets a year?
They continue to yo-yo and try this and that, all about scales and weight loss, while completely overlooking their health!
If a calorie was just a calorie, then those entire low calorie products on the shelves would have worked. ……after all …all of those people who take in substantially less calories than would be considered healthy on a daily basis for their weight and energy expenditure should be rake thin by now………Why is this not the case?
Why do so many go on calorie reduction diets, to so proudly state how much weight they have lost but as a result have an unhealthy relationship with food and their body, then some time later they have not only gained that weight back but more??
Why do I speak to so many people who are desperate for health and weight loss after so many calorie sacrificing, energy in energy out diets???????
The solution for weight loss and calories
My hope for everyone is that we learn to throw away the scales and forget about weight loss and calories.
Instead, start to notice our energy, our sleep, our skin tone, our clarity, our moods, lean muscle mass, our body fat percentage, our body shape and most importantly our health in all the areas that require us to be firing on all cylinders.
In its simplest form, this is in-fact very simple.
Stop counting calories and start counting nutrients.
Stop hating ourselves and finding fault and instead start loving ourselves. Start being educated about the impact of certain foods on our body, our health and our state of mind and stop looking at food as the enemy.
Start looking at our body as our friend.
Start being kind to yourself.
One that wants dearly to help us be who we want to be, if we would only look after it properly and stop hating it, blaming it and starving it with calorie counting and the many yo-yo diets out there that last for about as long as our discipline lasts or until we have a bad day at work.
Understanding that our health and how we feel comes first,…always!…. and looking great is a bonus of that.
Looking great will come, as a result of us being healthy first! Yes, it really will come!!
Understanding that we do not need to ever be going hungry or sacrificing or counting calories, or looking at food with despair or the thought that we will hold off on that double whipped crème chocolate doughnut on our cheat day and until then, we will soldier on with the thought of food and hunger on our minds at every opportunity.
We do not need to ever be hating food and looking at it as an enemy.
What we need is to learn how to love ourselves.
We need to be educated about health, how food impacts how we feel, our body, our mind and emotions and to know that while we don’t all want to have a six-pack, we can have a body shape the suits us perfectly and we are happy with, in a healthy way.
Most importantly take into account the importance of long term and sustainable health and the impact of educating, guiding and supporting those wanting to better their lives and their health in the most natural, long term and sustainable way!
Learn how to Love Yourself Lean!