Our mothers did it, and likely we all did it. Just about every woman carrying even a small amount of extra weight has done it.
It’s a monumental waste of effort and opportunity. At Healthy Inspirations, we focus on food, not calories. Let us explain why.
Counting calories started with the simple premise that if you eat fewer calories than you burn, you’ll lose weight. That’s definitely true, but using just those two parameters – eat less and exercise more – fails to recognise that the human body is a lot more complicated than the calorie version of a bank account.
We all need a certain amount of energy to move and to survive. We get this energy from food, or from energy stored in our muscle and fat cells. It’s true that if we balance input with expenditure, our weight remains stable. The problem is that not all input or all expenditure is the result of what we eat or the exercise we do. The human body is far more complex than that!
Even if we balance energy and maintain stable weight, it’s important to recognise that energy balance determines body weight, but not body composition. Consider two women standing on the scales. Both are 170cm tall, and both weigh 70 kilos. One wears a size 10 while the other wears a size 16 – of the same brand. What’s going on?
Their body compositions are different. One is strong and athletic, with firm muscles and low body fat. The other is weak and inactive with high body fat. Their different body compositions are influenced by age and sex hormones, protein intake, exercise style/frequency/intensity, medication use, genetic predisposition, sleep and more.
Back to calories. Simply counting them is not as accurate as most people think. Relying on counting calorie intake is an unreliable way to determine what happens in your body. There are many influences that have little to do with a simple maths equation.
Mostly, we think about exercise but what most people don’t realise is that a one hour walk or jog uses only 100-200 calories. Your resting metabolic rate is the biggest calorie-burner – in a 24-hour period around 10 times that of the walk or jog.
There are other factors, too, that affect your calorie-burn:
So, it’s complicated!
Overweight and obesity are complex issues, and in turn they require a solution that acknowledges, and develops strategies for dealing with, the complexities.
If you’re counting calories, Stop! The calories are factored in by our dietitian so that you don’t need to count. We’ll guide you through developing an eating and exercise plan that suits your tastes, lifestyle, exercise preferences, cultural influences and, most importantly, your body’s responses.
Eating real food, moving, and never being hungry sounds a lot more appealing than counting, and it’s more effective, too.