What You Must Understand About Calorie Counting
By Flavia Del Monte – R.N., C.P.T., Precision Nutrition Certified
Can you get away with just “eating healthy” or do counting calories really make a difference in losing fat? Is calorie counting better than counting “portions” Should you be relying on a food journal? Is calorie counting the price you must pay to get the body you always wanted? Here’s what you must understand about calorie counting and the good news is that you won’t need to become a number-crunching food fanatic in your quest for a useful womens fitness plan!
Calorie counting had been around for as long as we can all remember. Today a lot of diet programs recommend “portions” because counting every single calorie in the literal sense will drive you insane and it’s not a long-term lifestyle solution.
I have no problem with people counting portions because it recognizes the importance of portion control and affirms that calories do matter. On the other hand, be careful of anybody who tells you that “calories don’t matter” and you can “eat whatever you want as long it’s healthy” and still lose fat.
I’m living proof that this logic is flawed. Marketers will continue to tell you what you wish to hear in hopes that you pull out your credit card and buy their new gimmick.
The Reasons Why Calorie Counting Doesn’t Work Are
Quite Detailed So Lets Look At It As Simple As Possible…
A Calorie is defined as the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one kg of water by one degree.
The only way to truly test this measurement is by measuring the combustion of food. How many food products are in the grocery store? And how many of them do you believe determine the exact Caloric count? Not many.
Therefore it can be assumed the food labels on products are a mere estimates.
Bottom line: calorie counting and meal plans are simply an educated guess. They are simply a starting point to assess what changes must take place next.
Let’s add in the factors of digestion and absorption lose with food ingestion and you have a very difficult caloric equation to figure out.
On the other end of things, determining how many calories the body needs is also a difficult task. Sure there are estimated equations but those do not take into account basal metabolic rate, resting metabolic rate, thermogenesis effect, purposeful exercise and our daily exercise expenditure from activities of daily living (ADL).
Although I do believe calorie counting is useful, it is an estimate and focusing on calories, instead of quality of our food is usually the problem. Learning to replace old habits with better ones should be our focus.
— Flavia Del Monte
P.S. Let me know if “calorie counting” has helped or hurt your progress. I would love to know your experience below.
Join the discussion 7 Comments
Hey Flavia! Just want to say that you have the abs I want! Thanks for your honest approach to fitness. I’ve been a fan of your husband, as well as Craig Ballantyne, Brad Pilon, John Berardi, as well as awesome female trainers like Holly Rigsby and Leigh Peele for a long time. Great to see another no nonsense female trainer on the net 🙂 Calorie counting has helped me lose the last 20lbs that I just could not lose after my baby. I did some really awesome workouts (mostly TurbulenceTraining) for about six months after the birth and still didn’t see results until I got an iphone and the Lose it app and started tracking my calories in and out. I know it’s not a perfect science but the first week I started tracking I started losing fat that didn’t budge for months. Having an iphone makes it super easy so it’s become part of my life now to control my weight. I simply eat as healthy as my budget and time will permit and stay within the limits set out by the app so I know I’ll stay in control of my weight. I know there are probably easier ways to control your intake but whenever I tried others they always failed me and I start gaining weight back. That’s just my take on the subject. Looking forward to seeing more of you all the way from Trinidad, W.I.
Wow, great…however things work for you DO IT! I do what people to know the amount of calories they consume in every day life and also the amount of calories foods contain..otherwise people often over or under eat. I do include all that in a bonus package on nutrition. Thanks so much for your insight!
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