Why Counting Calories is a Fallacy

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I recently had a conversation with a client about calories and the inefficiency of following a diet that encourages you to count calories. Here is some information explaining why counting calories is a fallacy:

Everyone’s metabolism is different – metabolism refers to how the cells utilise the energy we have absorbed from food during digestion. It is important to remember that even when you’re resting, your body needs energy to function (to breath, circulate blood, adjust hormone levels and grow and repair cells, etc). The number of calories your body requires to carry out these basic functions is known as your basal metabolic rate or what you might call metabolism. Everyone has a different basal metabolic rate. Our rates also change over time. This means that our metabolisms all burn food differently. As a result, counting calories is an inefficient way to lose weight as we all have different bodies. Instead, here are some tips to boost your metabolism.

Wholefoods don’t come with labels – counting calories becomes completely unnecessary when your food doesn’t come with labels. Your body knows how to digest and assimilate wholefoods. It does not know how to digest packaged/processed foods that contain additives, enhancers, colours and flavours, etc. Here are some simple wholefood food swaps.

Calories are not created equal – a prime example is that high fibre foods contain many calories, however, they support weight loss. Consuming calories from nutrient rich foods helps keep you feeling fuller for longer, minimises cravings, stabilises blood sugar levels and results in satiety signals. However, calories from packaged/processed food spikes insulin sending you on a blood sugar rollercoaster, dulls satiety signals, encourages overeating, causes hormonal imbalance and increases cravings.

Your gut health impacts digestion – the ecology of your intestines determines how you digest food. Therefore, the same 100 calories may result in more or less energy depending on the person. Here are some tips to boost your digestion naturally.

A diet is unsustainable and slows your metabolism – diets do not work. Dieters are emotionally connected to their food. Dieters think about food all the time. Dieters deprive themselves. Once deprived, our primal bodies think food is scarce and turn on survival mode. In survival mode, our metabolism slows and we store food for leaner times ahead, rather than using it for fuel and energy now. Diets are not sustainable. Instead, here are some weight loss tips.

You fail to address the real reasons why you overeat – the next time you crave a particular food, ask yourself if your body really needs it or whether there is something else going on in your life that needs attention on an emotional level. Once we identify and work through underlying emotional issues, only then can we repair our relationship with food. Here are some tips to banish emotional eating.

You fail to address the real reasons for weight gain – hormonal issues, thyroid issues and metabolic issues are real health issues that can result in weight gain. Here is some information on thyroid and hormone health.

It encourages you to eat packaged/processed food – packaged/processed foods have a label with calories clearly identified. However, your body knows how to digest wholefoods (foods in their natural state or as close as possible to their natural state). It does not know how to digest packaged processed foods that contain additives, enhancers, colours and flavours, etc. Here is an example of a perfect plate.

It encourages you to ignore natural hunger and satiety signals – listen to your body. Eat when you’re truly hungry; stop when you’re satisfied; chew your food until it’s liquid; eat at the table with no distractions; be aware and present with your food; eat in a relaxed stress free environment;  taste the flavours; feel the texture; smell the aromas and express gratitude for your food. Food is a positive experience. It’s all about being mindful. Here are some mindful living tips.

Restrictions result in cravings which turn into binges – it’s perfectly okay to indulge in your favourite treats in moderation. Remember, one bad meal doesn’t result in weight gain or a breakout. The guilt surrounding indulgences is far more damaging to your body than enjoying a treat. Here’s an example of a day on my plate.

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