Why Calorie counting sucks for beginners
Calorie counting works. It’s simple physics, if you consume less energy than you expend, you will lose weight. We all know this to be true and as a result, most diets or weight loss plans will revolve around attempting to figure out how many calories you use in a day, and limiting your calorie intake to an amount which is lower than this.
All good in theory, and if you have a sound grasp of nutrition than it will certainly work out for you but here’s why this is a bad choice for beginners who lack good nutritional knowledge.
Let’s face it, weighing out your cuts of meat, handfuls of rice etc. and wondering how big that apple is you had after lunch is annoying. No one wants to have to do that for the rest of their lives, do they? A successful eating strategy has to be one which you can stick too forever.
It’s not accurate anyway
Even if you manage to account for every calorie you take in in a day, which is hugely unlikely, you ultimately have no idea how much energy you expended. BMR calculations can be useful to a degree, but it’s not likely that you are going to have a truly accurate number to use. Also, attempting to quantify the calories you expended while exercising is a shaky practice at best. That treadmill that tells you how many calories you’ve burned is merely making an educated guess.
It doesn’t promote good food choices
When you have a specific number in your head (remember, the number is probably nonsense anyway) it’s more than likely you will use that number to justify eating absolute trash. After all, if it doesn’t take you over your limit it’s ok to eat it right? Well not quite. That might work if all calories were created equally, but we know that isn’t true. I won’t get into the “is a calorie just a calorie” debate here but does anyone honestly believe that 2000kcal of broccoli would have the same effect on your body as 2000kcal of Coca Cola? Of course not, that would be stupid..
So what should I do instead?
- Don’t get hung up on how much you are eating
- Stick to real food. Lean meats, green veg, nuts, seeds, good quality carbohydrates like white rice/sweet potato.
- Earn those carbohydrates. Only eat them on a day you have trained or will train
- Drink lots of water, cravings for bad food are often simply a side effect of dehydration.
- Don’t eat for the sake of it. If you aren’t hungry when you wake up, don’t just eat breakfast because you feel its what you should do.
- Eat when hungry, stop when full.
You will make great progress following these rules while following a tailored training program and you won’t have to spend half of your day doing annoying math problems and putting food on scales.
In case you want more…
If you want more nutritional info or want to start some training that is specific to your goals with an experienced trainer, book a Free Consultation and ask for John Weldon, I’ll be happy to help you through it.