Losing weight is a complex issue but if you could develop strategies that allowed you to lose weight without counting calories, would you be interested?
Counting calories is tiresome and rarely leads to success.
Let’s look at 15 factors that question the effectiveness of calorie counting:
- The calories in many packaged foods are an estimate and can be inaccurate. The true calorie count could range from 10%-50% difference to what’s stated on the nutrition label.
- We each absorb food differently. Some foods are completely absorbed and some only a portion. Our gut bacteria can affect the absorption rate of calories, and macronutrient intake, age, and health status also play a role.
- Food preparation differs. How you prepare, chop, blend and cook your food can make a difference to the calories your body absorbs.
- Hormones control hunger, satiety and appetite. The primary goal of our eating plans is to control and minimise appetite, then to minimise food cravings.
- Food choices. Foods that combine carbs, fat and chemical flavourings drive appetite and weight gain.
- Additional factors. The availability, palatability, energy density, and nutrition density of foods combined with your food education, culture and socioeconomic status all have a combined effect.
- Psychological factors. Consider stress, mindset, perceived control, self-esteem, and sleep quality are all important factors that also influence your calorie intake.
- Specific genes. Some people burn more calories at rest than others. Epigenetics, how your genes express themselves, also play a role. Don’t expect life to be fair! However, be careful not to blame your genes which you cannot change, with your learned food habits that you can change.
- Lack of good quality sleep. Even just one night of poor sleep reduces the number of calories you’ll burn and drives appetite, especially for sweet starchy foods the next morning and over the coming days.
- Brown fat. Brown fat contains more mitochondria which convert nutrients to fuel and heat. It is switched on when you get cold and when you exercise.
- Basal Metabolic Rate. BMR, the energy burned at rest, is determined by the combination of body size, hormonal status, dieting history, genetic factors, health status, sleep quality, age and retained lean body mass (muscle).
- Exercise. Although walking is good for you, resistance training has added benefits for maintaining muscle, joint and bone strength. Both offer a post-exercise boost in metabolism.
- Non-exercise activity. Have you noticed that people who fidgit a lot, and can’t keep still, are often lean? Influenced by health status, energy levels, stress levels, hormonal status, occupation, leisure activities and genetic factors. Find ways to move more.
- Digestion. Food processing and macro-nutrient makeup can influence the thermic effect (calories used) of food digestion. Focus on unprocessed fresh foods, and eating your calories rather than drinking them.
- Under or overeating. Undereating slows metabolism and burns fewer calories. Overeating increases your metabolism and burns more calories. Find a happy medium.
It can be complicated, as our bodies are all different.
Eating real food, daily movement and incidental activity, and eating protein-rich foods that keep you from experiencing cravings and hunger are a lot more appealing than getting frustrated by counting calories. It’s also a lot more effective for long term weight management.
Finally, calories DO COUNT but the right food choices will help you control your appetite without counting calories.
Would you like to have an eating and exercise plan that suits your tastes, lifestyle, exercise preferences, cultural influences and, most importantly, your body’s responses?
If you would like to learn more about an eating plan that does not require you to count calories, and includes weekly one-on-one face-to-face or remote coaching, we’d love to work with you.
Fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch shortly.