Why Counting Calories Isn't Enough For A Healthy Diet
Many of us make the unfortunate mistake of conflating “weight loss diets” with “healthy diets.” The two are NOT the same thing, and in fact, they are often actually polar opposites. If losing weight forces you to consume fewer nutrient dense foods, then of course this will actually make you less healthy. Not more-so!
What’s more, is that counting calories alone won’t necessarily help you to lose weight as efficiently as possible either.
The Problem With Just Counting Calories
In theory, eating fewer calories than you burn will lead to weight loss. Many people quote the 'first law of thermodynamics' here stating that energy can't be destroyed so it will get stored as fat unless you burn it off.
But, that's ignoring some of the more subtle aspects of weight gain and weight loss.
It doesn't actually matter how many calories you eat for instance, so much as it matters how many calories make it into your blood stream.
Likewise, things like digestion and cold showers can cause you to burn extra calories and these don't factor into the IIFYM philosophy (If It Fits Your Macros – meaning that it doesn’t push you over your calorie limits for any food groups).
Neither does the fact that different calories are absorbed at different rates or that they are used differently depending on when you consume them. It doesn't consider the role of hunger either or how certain foods can stimulate or suppress ghrelin and thus appetite.
Likewise, taking the approach that you can eat whatever you like to lose weight is one that is wrought with problems. The biggest of these is that it means you literally could lose weight on a diet of just donuts… just eat five donuts a day and no more! But should you? No, obviously not.
Calories don’t tell you how nutritious a food item is. With a calorie counting approach, you’re not necessarily cognizant of the nutritional composition of those calories.
They may be from processed, packaged foods or whole foods. Calorie-wise they’re the same, but nutrient-wise, they’re very different. Your body needs calories for energy, but it also needs vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. Only looking at calories excludes a major component of what contributes to your health.
By thinking about where you are getting your calories from you not only look after your health, but also accelerate your weight loss. Not to mention, counting calories is miserable as well as being highly inaccurate. Even with the best will in the world it is not practical for daily life.
We go out to eat, attend family and work events and go on vacations. We aren’t eating out of packages with calorie amounts. Counting calories is rigid, keeps people from social situations and sets them up for failure long term. It becomes cumbersome or simply impossible to keep up with.
You don't need to stress about food. There is a better way than counting calories to support and nourish yourself.
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To your health & happiness,