Crunching numbers instead of doing actual crunches, measuring every food up to the exact serving size, rounding up numbers, and reading more nutrition labels than you do books. All of these concepts contribute to what some consider the “catalyst to weight loss” that is, calorie counting. This topic is one that is really important to me and has taught me a huge lesson in regards to nutrition and I’m excited to give my two cents on the matter. At the same time, I can’t help but cringe a little bit while I gather info on extreme calorie counting because I made a lot of mistakes while I calorie counted to lose weight. Without further or do, I learned a lot from my personal experience so I wanted to share it with you all!
What happened after I calorie counted
I lost forty pounds. Let me be clear, that statement was not my successful weight loss testimony. For many reasons, one being that I should have lost only half of what I did. I eventually began to lose muscle, go below the average BMI for my age group, and overall became obsessed with keeping track of what I ate each day. All of this resulting in needing to gain some weight back anyways!
Why calorie counting can be dangerous
It all comes down to quality vs. quantity. Both quality and quantity should be put into consideration when constructing a healthy diet. However, quality is the half of the deal we sometimes ignore especially when calorie counting. For instance sure my granola bar, almonds, and Nutella sandwich (I’m cringing) fit in my daily calorie quota but a lot my food choices certainly weren’t the right calories. As Dr. Frank Lipman an internationally recognized expert in the field of integrative medicine states, “All calories are not created equal. Thinking that all calories are the same is an antiquated notion. Granted by definition calories represent units of energy provided by a particular food, but thinking they’re all alike is like saying a diamond and a rhinestone are the same because they both glitter. With Calories, as with diamonds, it’s the quality that matters most and enhances their value.”
Your body resorts to burning lean muscle tissue as a source of energy ideally when losing weight we would want our body to burn body fat not muscle. But when you put your body in crucial conditions, it will resort to any source of energy. Therefore it will pull from stored energy anywhere, this can be fat, muscle, or a combination of them both.
Nutrition deficiency Sure you can lose weight by eating packaged food that is labeled with your necessary calorie count. But if your diet is only composed of what has almost zero nutrients the processed food will create a chemical reaction in your body that will work against weight loss and good health. Following that, eating too much sugar results in an overproduction of insulin which promotes weight gain.
Can it be done right? Will it hurt you to be aware of how many calories are in your meal? Certainly not! Knowing the calorie amount can sometimes be utilized as a rough estimate or criteria for our daily food intake. However, the fault in calorie counting is the obsession and taking it to the extreme. Keeping a journal of your calories, or keeping a record of it in your phone will make you eventually addicted. In my case, it almost became a sort of game and every day was a chance to beat my record of how little calories I consumed that day.
Although I am not proud of my diet mistake, I’ve learned so much. Now I eat a lot of the right foods, and know better than to get sucked into the obsession of extreme calorie counting. Do not avoid foods like fruits, veggies and other produce that do not have a nutrition label on it, and when there is a nutrition label, read more than just the calorie amount! The best part of the alternative to calorie counting is that you can eat way more! As long as you are eating wholesome, natural foods, you can eat more and frequently throughout the day to keep your metabolism going. Eat right, not less and you’ll be on your way to a content, happy, and healthy life!
“It’s a good day to have a good day!”
-Alena Purpero ♡