… And Why You Need To Stop
Disclaimer: If you are prepping for a body building, bikini, physique competition or something along those lines then you may be excused. I am not directing this at you.
For the rest of us… If your livelihood does not depend on tracking the exact number of grams of protein and carbohydrates you consume in a day and in a meal then sit down, breathe, and listen up.
The world we live in today people get SO caught up in that little number next to “Total Calories” that is on the package or the menu that they lose sight of the real difference between eating clean and just eating less which goes hand-in-hand with the difference between a diet and a lifestyle.
Let’s talk a little about what that difference is. In order to do that I have to first unravel and unmask all the reasons why counting calories is not the right way to go about losing weight and beginning your journey into fitness and health. There will be follow up post to discuss what a clean eating lifestyle should actually look like. So off we go…
We all want to be healthy right? (Or at least you do because you are reading this blog and this post… Or I hope you do… Well anyways…) But does grabbing that “Coke Zero” over the regular Coca-Cola make you healthy? I mean it isssss zero calories so it like totally fits under both your new strict 1,200cal/day diet and under the rule that you aren’t allowed to drink any of those calories.
If you haven’t caught on to what I am getting at here then we have more work to do than I thought haha. Kidding. But seriously. Just because that Coke Zero lists its total calories as 0 does N O T mean that you will lose weight by consuming it. It does N O T mean that it is not harming your body. Your organs, your little fat pouch by your lower abs that you just can’t shed, your inner thighs … yeah they all still hate you for drinking that Coke Zero; calories or no calories.
This leads me very nicely into my first point about why I absolutely cannot stand the idea of people counting calories; especially as a weight loss technique. Giving someone a number of how many calories they should consume in a day does not teach them a damn thing about how to actually eat well. It teaches them that a handful of those tortilla chips is less total calories than the Oreo cookie. In reality should anybody be eating either one of those things? Absolutely not. Just because something is low cal does not mean that it is good for you in any way, shape, or form. Eating less of all foods does not mean that we are “eating clean”. In fact, it may mean that we are cutting out foods we perhaps should be eating but I will get to that in the next post. Your caloric intake should not be the sole factor on which you base your food choices or you are in for a rough journey.
On that note, it has been said that almost 95% of weight loss attempts fail in the long-term. Yikes! Now, that is just general weight loss attempts. Since we are discussing the idea of calorie counting I figured I would bring up the most infamous of all “counting calories” based weight loss programs… Weight Watchers. So if only 5% of general weight loss attempts work, how does Weight Watchers compare to that? According to research and numbers admitted by Weight Watchers reps themselves, only 0.24% of people who completed this program remained at or below their goal weight for 5 years or more. That means that only 2 in 1,000 people have maintained long-term weight loss by following the most well-known calorie counting procedure.
I know that I sure as all heck want to maintain the weight I am at for more than 5 years! I can only hope that you all do too. So this brings me to my next point… This is not for life. Be serious with yourself for just one second and look down the road one year, then 5 years, then 10 years, then when you’re caring for your grandkids. Are you still going to be counting calories? Are you still going to carry around that notepad or that app and make sure you document the calories in every single thing you eat? If we are being SUPER honest, do you even do that without fail or exception every single meal of every day right now? Stop it. No you don’t. You’ve forgotten at least one or twice. You’ve had an event to go to that prevented it. You’ve eaten something that you did not know to calories of. How do I know that? Because we all have. That’s life my friends. Counting calories is not a realistic way of living your life forever which is why it is a breeding ground for diets and fads not a long-term permanent lifestyle. The scary part? It isn’t meant to be something permanent. So why in the world any “weight loss expert”, fitness coach, or the like suggest it to people is just absurd to me.
Confession time: I was the QUEEN of calorie counting back in the day. It was mental torture. I rationalized snacks in ridiculous ways or starved myself when I really should have eaten. It was beyond stupid but ya know what that is all too common. THAT is why I am writing this right now. Since starting my serious no-nonsense fitness and health journey in March I have not spent one single day counting calories and this is the first time in my life I am sitting nicely in lower end of the “Athlete” body fat percentage category. I know right?! *woot woot* In my next post I will go into more detail about what I do and why that works 354093759834758934598673589 times better! Cue excitement.
Calories are nasty little buggers. They don’t tell the whole story. They are not an accurate description of the nutrients in your food. People become so overwhelmed by this concept of only being able to eat a certain amount of calories that it just turns into another stressor in their lives and we all know stress is the enemy of health and weight loss. So stop zooming in on that silly little number and start learning what the quality foods are that you should eat and how to eat them for your own personalized goals, exercise regime, and lifestyle.