Counting Calories To Lose Weight
Their are so many factors involved in weight loss such as thyroid health, hormone balance, and the quality of food that you are eating in your diary.
All calories are not equal, if you eat bad calories than you are likely to lose weight but still store large amounts of fat on areas around your stomach, hips or waist.
Calorie counting has its limitations, but it does work. However, only by eating a diet with quality foods can you restore hormone balance and lose body fat.
This is why you may have been told that counting calories to lose weight is a good thing
When I was an undergraduate studying exercise nutrition and health I was taught that a calorie is a calorie. It doesn’t matter whether you eat 300 calories from cakes or 300 calories from vegetables and meat.
it will have the same effect on your body.
I will explain later why all calories are not equal, but the main argument for counting calories is that if you eat less calories than your body uses you will be in energy deficit. Once you are in energy deficit you will lose weight.
How many calories do you need to burn a pound of fat.
If you burn 3500 calories you will burn 1 pound of fat, so a daily calorie deficit of 500 calories or more a day is needed to achieve this target.
The problem with calorie counting to lose weight!
One of the major issues I find with calorie counting is that it does not address balancing the hormones, which is so important.
Hormone balance dictates where you store body fat, so if you want to lose weight in certain parts of your body than you need to balance your hormones.
Hormone balance and fat storage
Some of the major hormones that need to be balanced are estrogen, cortisol and insulin. Their are a few others but we will focus on insulin and cortisol as these are the major culprits.
Insulin – the fat storage hormone
Insulin is a hormone that is released from your pancreas in order to reduce blood sugar levels any time you eat carbohydrates.
Your body tries to store as much insulin as it can into your cells, and anything left over is stored as fat in any place your body can store it.
I mentioned that insulin is a fat storage hormone, but we must remember that are body is designed to adapt to demands placed on it. However, when we over abuse this physiological response we go in to fat storage mode.
You can still lose weight but have high body fat!
The reason why this is relevant to calorie counting is that if you are in fat storage mode and you reduce your calorie intake to 1200 calories a day, and you are eating carbs your body will still be storing your carbs as fat.
Even though you may be losing weight your body fat will still be high. I have measured many people who are slim in build with high body fat and small pockets of body fat on their body.
If you do not get this hormone under control you can still be a slim fat person. The exercise you do will also effect your fat storage. To find out more about exercise and fat loss click on the link.
Cortisol is a hormone which is released in stressful situations, as a result of releasing this hormone our body is able to adapt and respond efficiently as a result of this hormone being released.
After the hormone is released a period of relaxation normally follows and your body will release hormones to counter balance the release of these hormones and return you to your normal rested state.
The problem is when we are over exposed to too much stress and not enough relaxation. Stress can lead to many health related diseases.
Cortisol and the storage of stomach fat
When you have a large amount of cortisol in your body it can bind with another hormone called DSH which is prevalent in all cells in your body, but you have a larger amount in your abdominal walls.
When you have large amounts of cortisol in your abdominal walls it signals fat to your stomach and causes you to put on excess stomach fat.
Even if you calorie count and eat 800 calories a day you will not be able to shed the large amounts of fat around your stomach until you address your stress levels and diet quality.
Diet quality and calorie counting
At the start of the article I mentioned the famous saying that a calorie, is a calorie, but this just isn’t true. If you eat 3 meals a day and each meal has 500 calories there will be a difference in fat storage.
Eating 1500 calories per day with biscuits, pasta, and low quality protein like sausages and burgers will not be as good as eating vegetables and protein where you are relying solely on vegetables as your source of carbohydrates.
The former will spike your insulin levels and keep your body in fat storage mode, while the latter will cause you to control your insulin better and eventually take your body out of fat storage mode.
Controlling insulin with a low carb diet
Their are many studies that have shown that a high protein diet is more effective than high carb for weight loss. In these studies they have used 3 groups.
One group is on a high protein diet, one group is on a high carb diet and the last group are not on any type of diet. The high carb and low carb groups were both eating 1500 calories a day.
Over the 12 weeks the high protein group lost more weight and body fat than the high carb group because of lower insulin release and higher retention of muscle mass.
Why do people put on weight in modern society?
When you understand the answer to this question you will understand why you don’t need to count calories. The reason why we are putting on more weight is that we are eating foods that are processed.
Our bodies just haven’t had the time to evolve and adapt to these foods. In other words it doesn’t recognize these foods and doesn’t know how to process them.
When we switch are diet from processed to unprocessed foods our body is able to digest these foods. Our body will now be able to easily recognize when we are full and therefore we wont over eat.
This will remove the need to count calories, this type of diet will restore hormone balance, this type of diet will heal our bodies and more importantly you will lose body fat!
Although it can not be disputed that calorie counting works, it is not the most effective way to lose weight and body fat. Choose diet quality over calorie counting and the fat will come off!
Topic: Calorie counting to lose weight.