Counting Calories For Weight Loss
Counting Calories has been a hotly debated topic for a long time with regards to how effective it is at aiding in weight loss. Whilst some experts swear by the method as a successful means of losing weight with relative ease, others have called out counting calories to lose weight as ineffective.
There are many misconceptions and myths surrounding counting calories. Some people believe that it’s just a case of swapping out certain food groups without any drawbacks. Others have questioned whether or not you can actually lose weight by counting calories, or whether or not the effects of doing so are just limited to certain individuals.
Let us delve into a few basic facts concerning counting calories for weight loss and deliver our verdict on whether or not we think it’s worth doing.
Does Counting Calories Actually Help You Lose Weight?
There are many misconceptions concerning calorie counting and the effect it can have on your ability to lose weight. The general consensus is that if you consume more calories than you burn off, this will cause you to gain weight noticeably.
It is commonly accepted that any weight loss program that includes calorie counting will lead to a further reduction in weight. So by counting the number of calories you ingest daily and cutting them down where necessary, this will lead to a significant weight loss. But there is considerable debate as to just how effective calorie counting really is, just as much as dieting vs a total lifestyle change.
Some studies have shown that calorie counting programs alone can result in weight losses of up to 7lb (3.3kg). Whilst there will be some who look at this and think they have found a relatively simple way to reduce their weight, caution should still be advised.
Counting Calories Must Be Done Carefully
If you go overboard on calorie counting to lose weight fast, either as a sole means of losing weight or in conjunction with an exercise or weight loss program, you might be putting your health at risk. Calorie counting is not a one way ticket to weight loss, and you need to think about what else you might be taking out of your body as part of the process.
There are thousands of “low-calorie” diet programs out there. Whilst they will undoubtedly lead to weight loss if followed correctly, but starvation or fasting based diet methods can lead to problems with your diet. Your body is there to protect you, so if it notices you aren’t eating as much as normal, it will begin to stockpile calories for later use.
This might cause your weight to yoyo significantly up and down. You may even find yourself overeating at times to compensate for the calorie deficiency you’re now suffering from. It should go without saying that counting calories to lose weight fast by dieting in this manner, whilst following a high-intensity workout or weight loss program, is not advisable.
How Calories Actually Work
A calorie is defined as the amount of heat energy required to raise the temperature of a single gram of water by 1°C. As such, calories are often described as both the amount of energy your body gets from eating and drinking different foods and beverages, and the amount that your body needs to perform certain physical tasks.
We need to ingest a certain amount of relative calories to the amount of energy our bodies expend each day.
There are typically, 4 calories in each gram of both Protein and Carbohydrates, whilst fats contain more than double that amount at 9 calories per gram. Finding a happy medium between these is the trick to having a balanced diet and not having to resort to calorie cutting to be on top of your weight.
Obviously, the more exercise you do the more calories your body will require to keep up. Even just half an hour spent running on a treadmill can burn up to 300,000 calories. If you’re trying to diet or count calories and avoid eating as much fatty or carb-loaded foods as possible, then you might have an interesting challenge ahead of you trying to maintain this.
For instance, there are 25,000 calories in the common carrot. If you were following a strict plant-based diet, then you would need to eat 12 carrots or the equivalent to this to replace the output amount of energy required for this exercise. This might sound simple enough, but we can’t just eat carrots to replace the amount of calories we burn from exercising.
Counting Calories For Weight Loss Is More Complicated Than Swapping One Type Of Food For Another
You cannot simply change out the different food and drink you consume and think that doing so will readdress the discrepancies in your calorie intake. It may be a good idea to cut down on alcohol, and counting the calories of the food you eat is fine but remember, your body still requires you to consume certain things for more than just calories. Our bodies need protein as much as they need vitamins. Switching out your diet to one with a lower meat intake might seem like a good idea to cut calories, but you’re going to have to replace the meat with something else to source the replacement protein from.
Whilst there are many ways to consume protein without having to resort to meat, don’t think you can go a few weeks without consuming as much protein or you might end up suffering from nutritional deficiencies. Deciding you’re not going to eat chocolate biscuits is one, but choosing to chuck fish, eggs, and/or poultry out as well is a massive decision for your diet. Cutting or counting calories for weight loss is a very delicate process. The body of one person is a unique entity, and you don’t know how your body will respond to changes both big and small without doing some serious research or assessment first.
How Do I Start Counting Calories?
There are a number of great and easy to use programs to work out your daily calorie intake vs your daily output available online. It’s highly recommended you use these or consult a nutritionist before trying to do it yourself as your calculations might be off as we generally tend to underestimate what we eat and over-estimate how much we exercise.
Furthermore, it is imperative you learn to differentiate between the different types of calories. Contrary to many inaccurate assumptions, calories are far more diverse than just being sorted into “good” or “bad” categories. Not all calories are equal to the other in value, and consuming calories from different food groups is necessary but naturally, will affect your body in different ways.
There are definitely such things as “empty” calories. Typically, consuming a packet of pastries is less likely to decrease your hunger then it would if you ate a bag of apples. But even if you chose to embark on a low-carb diet that cut out eating pastries in favour of eating more protein, your calorie count will not change that much.
This is because you burn off more calories from consuming protein then you do carbs. You’ll obviously require far more protein as a result to supplement the higher amount of calories you will be burning off; even if you aren’t doing that much more exercise. But the odds are you wouldn’t be aware of this or the other areas where what type of calories you’re consuming come into play, so it’s best to consult externally on this before you start calorie counting.
Before you start counting calories you need to remember your results are very dependent on how your body functions. One of the biggest contributors to this will be how well your metabolism works. All our bodies require calories for the metabolism to break down, but yours may be faster or slower at doing this than another person.
The Effects Of Weight Loss And Dieting Can Differ Greatly Person To Person
A person with an excessive amount of weight and body fat may find it just as difficult to shift this unwanted weight as a much thinner person trying to gain more weight or muscle. This will be down to how their body and metabolism function before they even start worrying about counting calories. Although these are two extreme cases from opposite ends of the body spectrum there is still much to be understood from this.
There is considerable debate over the point that how you eat is far more important then what you eat. The size of your meal is just as important as what goes in the meal itself. Many diet experts will swear that eating small meals more frequently is a far more effective method to increase weight loss than by counting calories. But this will very much depend on the individual and how active or inactive they are physically, as well as the general state their body is in.
Even the slightest allergy or smallest nutritional deficiency can have a knock-on effect in any diet plan, and it’s the same with counting calories. As a general rule of thumb, you will always need to burn more calories then you consume to lose weight. But if you have any kind of health or body complications that will restrict you either in what you eat, or how you are able to burn more calories, this will have a significant impact on your overall weight loss and what kind of diet you’re able to follow.
Stop Worrying About Counting Calories And Focus On Being More Healthy
Whilst we’ve established that counting calories is definitely one way to lose weight, arguably, you can gain much more out of exercising frequently or committing to eating more healthy foods then worrying about which and how many calories you’re consuming. Also by doing both of these at the same time of course!
As stated previously; you need to burn more calories then you consume to lose weight, so exercising is the most straightforward way to go about this right away. If you’re looking to do more than lose weight and craft a body for yourself that is a temple worthy of worship, then eating healthy and training correctly is going to work far better than simply counting the calories of what you’re eating.
Furthermore, results are easier to guarantee if you seek the help of professional trainers and nutritionists to help you get into the shape you want to be in. Even if you consult a professional to help aid you in a calorie-cutting program, the responsibility will still be on you to follow through with sticking to these cuts. If you don’t want to have to worry about what you’re eating that much or lack the discipline to remain committed to a calorie-cutting program then this is definitely not for you.