Why counting calories doesn’t always work 100%

The more you crash diet or lose and gain weight, the less calories you need to survive

If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you’ve probably counted calories.

And if you’ve ever dieted, you’ve probably tried a bunch of weird diets. (Weird fact: the majority of people we’ve spoken to about how many calories they think they should eat per day to lose weight is 1,200 for no apparent reason). It seems like people have just ‘heard’ over the years this is the goal number, but we digress and let’s move on.

So, here’s my straight to the point list on why calorie counting doesn’t always work (sure it’s good but if you are only using calorie counting as your tool to lose weight you are going to get lost pretty quick).

1. You probably don’t know your BMR (basal/base metabolic rate).

This is what your body needs to function and stay alive. Without this baseline, everything is just guessing. You need to know your weight, activity level, age, gender, height and how many times you exercise a week. Take a look online for a good calculator.

2. Food labels are off by as much as 25% in either direction – that’s a HUGE variance!

3. Your gym equipment is also off by as much as 25% (or more in some cases) with how many calories it’s telling you you’ve burned. (Between this and the food labels we could be off by 50%!)

4. We all process and absorb food differently.

5. Not all calories are equal. This thought process sets you up for failure. If you ate 2,000 calories of Big Macs a day vs. 2,000 calories of healthy food, you might be the same weight in the end but you’ll look and feel entirely different.

As you can imagine, it can feel like you’re doing ‘everything right’ and still not losing the weight. How discouraging, huh?! This frustration is what often makes us think our metabolisms are broken, or we decide to resort to some crash diet, a million supplements, or even weird HCG injections (please don’t do these).

Here’s what you need to know:

Tip: the more you crash diet or lose and gain weight, the less calories you need to survive, so essentially your BMR goes down. Your body is adaptive like that. So, no more crash dieting, ok? Good, glad we got that out of the way.

Tip: focus on eating protein, fibrous carbs like fruits and veggies, good fats, and some high quality starchy carbs. Not only will you naturally decrease the number of calories you’re consuming while staying fuller, but you’ll simultaneously increase the number of calories your body actually needs to digest the food!

Tip: unless you’re training for a competition, you don’t need carb or calorie cycling, special diets, or beat down workouts five days per week to lose weight. You need the right consistent efforts over time and a little patience.

Tip: don’t compare yourself to others. The body is a crazy unique thing, so what your friend is doing likely won’t have the exact same effect on you…expect it and focus on YOU.

Tip: weight loss truly occurs through a balance of good nutrition, strength and cardio training, proper sleep, stress management, hormonal balance, and hydration. So unsexy but so true.

It’s heartbreaking for us to watch so many people struggle because of the wrong approach.

Self-compassion also plays a HUGE role in fat loss, so be sure to speak kindly to yourself always. Remember, focus on the big picture and combine your efforts between eating better, working out, doing a little cardio and cutting out some stress. If you need help, we are here. Ask us anything!

Jack Wheeler is a personal trainer and the owner of 360 Fitness in Red Deer.

Just Posted

‘Thriller’ charity event runs Oct. 27th at the Sheraton

Proceeds to support Friends of the Red Deer Regional Hospital and Pound it Hip Hop

Red Deer Rebels take the game against Kootenay Ice 4-3 in overtime

Defenseman Alexander Alexeyev scores winning goal 75 seconds into overtime

It’s been a strong start for Red Deer’s newest hockey team

Red Deer Senior AA Rustlers coming off back-to-back wins

Innisfail RCMP investigate serious collision west of Innisfail

One of the passengers was taken by STARS air ambulance to the hospital

Singer k.d. lang receives Alberta’s highest honour

Celebrated singer-songwriter k.d. lang received the Alberta Order of Excellence in Edmonton

One of Taiwan’s fastest trains derails, killing at least 18

The train was carrying more than 360 people

Scheer marks one-year countdown to federal election with campaign-style speech

Conservative Leader insists that it will be Justin Trudeau who ‘makes it personal’

Canada Post union announces rotating strikes in four Canadian cities

Mail will still be delivered but it will be delayed

Canada condemns killing of journalist in Saudi Arabia consulate in Turkey

The Saudi government claimed Jamal Khashoggi was killed in a ‘fistfight’

One year to election: Trudeau Liberals gear up for tussles on climate, premiers

Analysts say that the Liberals have reason to be ‘fairly confident’

Payette invites critics to ‘come and spend a few days’ with her

Governor General Julie Payette made her first official to B.C. back in March

Police say suspicious death of B.C. artist ruled a homicide

Patrick Zube Aylward’s body was found in a residence on a rural road outside of Seton Portage, west of Lillooet, B.C.

Temporary roads being built in areas affected by landslide in northern B.C.

Emergency Management BC news release says Disaster Financial Assistance is available to eligible residents of the Peace River Regional District who may have been affected by the landslides

Most Read