All About Calories?

“If you want to lose fat ALL that matters is obtaining a calorie deficit.”

What’s the problem with the above statement? After all, if you want to lose weight, you can’t violate thermodynamic laws. That is a fact. The problem is the word “ALL.” Lets be honest. The real goal for most people is to look great and not to obtain some artificial number on a scale. Some do, however, relate looking great with a certain weight either because that’s the weight they remember being happy with at one point in their life or that’s the weight someone else whom they desire to look like currently is. Unfortunately, obtaining a certain weight on a scale doesn’t always result in the desired physical outcome. If it were ALL about calorie management Weight Watchers would be a successful strategy for everyone, but most struggle to sustain the monotonous task of counting the calories of everything they eat on a daily basis. Counting calories and measuring food is just not realistic for the majority of people especially when juggling family, work, and life obligations. If you’re eating poorly and you are simply instructed to eat less, you’ll be lucky if you get through the first day without cashing it in. On the other hand, substituting poor choices for better quality food generally leads to a near immediate improved sense of well-being. Slowly improving and substituting food choices is a much more practical process for most, which also helps people discover what works for them. Wouldn’t the optimal outcome be a plan that is individualized and manageable long-term?

If calorie deficit is ALL that matters we must ask some questions. Will fewer calories help those lacking an adequate amount of protein and fat in their diet to build or sustain precious muscle tissue? Will fewer calories help to identify foods that may play a role in low grade gut inflammation? Will fewer calories help control rapid spikes in blood sugar levels associated with the intake of high glycemic foods? Do all foods affect the hormones that regulate how much we eat the same? Improving your body composition (less fat and more muscle) is what ultimately matters when it comes to improving health and looking the part. Now I know some will say you can overeat fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains too. Ok sure, but rarely is this the case. Those foods contain high amounts of fiber and, along with protein and fat, tend to keep you satisfied much longer due to their slow digestibility. In other words, increasing the intake of these foods will result in less consumption of processed foods with a higher caloric value. Think about it. People generally do not complain of overeating fish and broccoli, but they can easily devour large amounts of pasta, bread, pastries, sweats, and chips. When quality is the focus quantity generally become less of a struggle. Therefore, the types of foods we put in to our body are just as important as how much we are eating.

Bottom Line:

There is no arguing that in order to lose weight you must enter a calorie deficit, but to say it’s ALL that matters is only telling a part of the story. Losing fat, building muscle, regulating hormones, eliminating potential food sensitivities, and ultimately improving the way you look requires a conscious awareness of the quality of your food.

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