Ok ladies, we’ve all seen that photo of ourselves. You know, that one that completely horrifies you and makes you realize you’ve gained a few extra pounds seemingly overnight. Suddenly you’re on an unsustainable crash diet and exercising like a mad woman all to keep your calories at under a certain number. We’ve all heard it, “Calories in, calories out.” Simple enough; eat less, move more and the weight will melt off like butter in the sun. So why doesn’t that happen? Why do we find ourselves binging on empty carbs uncontrollably and eventually gaining whatever weight we managed to lose back and then some? Meanwhile, you see thin or muscular people seeming to eat like horses while still maintaining their physic. How the heck do they do it? There’s no real simple answer since various factors play a part in how the body burns fat. But the short-oversimplified answer would be food quality matters over caloric quantity. Now let me start by saying that I’m not 100% against the calories in vs out theory. Technically, the theory is true. Calories are the energy source that sustain us day and night.
Overeating, or consuming more calories that your body burns, results in increased fat storage or weight gain. But let’s look at this theory a little deeper. Let’s say a set of twins, same height and weight decide to cut the same number of calories putting them both at a 500-calorie deficit each day; but one eats mainly fried foods and sugars to meet their caloric requirement, while the other eats, whole grains, veggies, and lean proteins. Who would you expect would have lost the most over a month? “Calories in vs calories out” says they should both have lost the same amount. Is that logical? Absolutely not! Our bodies are much more complex than that. The quality of the food we eat matters so much more than the caloric value because our bodies metabolize different foods in different ways. For example, sugar and carbs trigger your blood sugar to rise quickly where fats or protein would trigger a more gradual increase. Constantly eating a diet full of carbs and sugar can lead to damaged hormones (Leptin and Insulin) which eventually can cause weight gain due to increased appetite and fat storage. This is a fact regardless of the number of calories you consume.
To sum it up, calories is only one part of the whole picture. Food quality is key variable that directly effects the way our body stores/burns fat. So, the next time you decide you need to lose weight, keep this in mind. Being overweight is a result of how specific nutrients from the foods you’re eating have affected your hormones over time and have caused your body to store fat instead of using it for energy. Stop counting calories and address the hormone issues by eating a balanced diet full of good quality foods so your body can naturally manage calories for you.