Calories – I Wish I Knew How To Quit You

Calories in versus calories out. That is the traditional wisdom we all need to get to the bottom of our weight loss woes, correct? If you can workout really hard and restrict your calories to what your smartphone app tells you, then you will lose weight. Easy peasy, mystery solved. Let’s all pack up and go home – we have calories to count and muffin tops to melt.

Wait a minute. Is this the same weight you have been desperately trying to lose for many years by some method of counting calories? Be it Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, LA Weight Loss, SlimFast, MyFitnessPal or other phone apps – all of these programs work by restricting your calories. So if all of these programs work, why are these companies still in business and why are you still struggling to lose and keep weight off? By George, I think she’s onto something!

Let’s enter a fairytale world for a second where calories do not matter. This is a world where people eat freely, their bodies function well and they feel great! In this fairytale land, no one has a smartphone telling them how many calories to consume to drop pounds. No one struggles with overexerting themselves on the treadmill. These people are happy and free and have boundless energy. But if the energy runs out, they eat more because they are not counting calories. Doesn’t this fairytale sound like an absolute dream world? I like to call this fairytale world REAL LIFE.

Can we cut to the chase? Calories in versus calories out only works if you have a calorimeter installed into your body, since that is where this method was derived. A calorimeter is an apparatus for measuring the amount of heat involved in a chemical reaction or other process. Basically it is a flame. Have you had a flame installed into your body? Because if you did I would really like to know about it. My husband is super into technology and this would give us something to talk about other than the color of my youngest son’s poop.

I am going to state my very unpopular opinion loud and proud right here. I am going to be hated all around the internet for this opinion. Calorie cultists will shout from the rooftops that fat has 9 calories per gram! They will scream at me that our world would cease to exist if everyone stopped counting calories. I mean, just look at the health of our calorie counting obsessed nation! A nation of true health, that United States of America with all of their fancy calorie counting apps. That is what we all just thought, right?

If this is you, dear calorie cultist, please stop reading here. You will not like the things I am about to say. If you want to tell me I am wrong, please be respectable and talk about me behind my back on a Weight Watcher’s forum. I work really hard on my blogs in order to help people in areas I struggled with for many years. I want you to know stay at home moms who write for free for the benefit of others have feelings too. Does anyone know of a good support group for abused stay at home mom bloggers and the random Internet trolls who shame them?

Alright, here goes! The amount of calories you eat is not causing you to gain or lose weight. Putting that statement in bold and italics means I really mean it.

Calories in versus calories out is just a theory and it is a debunked theory at that. If you are still following the advice of someone telling you to monitor your calories in versus calories out, I have some nifty legwarmers and leotards for you because you are all stuck in the early 80’s with your health wisdom. Don’t feel bad, so is most of the nation. American Apparel’s stock is totally about to go up after everyone reads this blog!

It makes me insane when some poor lost soul is in search of how to lose weight and some former Weight Watchers turned keto diet know-it-all starts spouting out the calories in certain macros and how to manipulate your body into requiring less calories to live a very happy and free life. This happy and free life consists of constantly adding up every last calorie you consume for the rest of your life, along with consistently lowering that amount as time goes on because that is the sustainability of the calories in versus calories out theory. Going lower will never be low enough for very long. When you quit dropping your calories lower, you gain the weight back plus some because you have trained your body to survive on less.

There are approximately 80 calories in a jar of Gerber. I am letting you know this because if you keep following this insane wisdom, that is what you will be eating by the time you are a Golden Girl. If you keep lowering your calories year after year to maintain your weakening metabolism, what’s left? That’s right, Gerber. Your body will not be able to break anything else down because your metabolism will become so broken and fragile from all of the vitalizing nutrients you have been withholding in the name of calories in versus calories out.

As if hearing someone mention this awful, horrible, outdated calorie advice from random Joe Schmo of the Weight Watcher’s world isn’t enough, now people in the keto world are trying to make keto and Weight Watcher’s collide. They are recommending caloric restriction on a diet based on healing your hormones. They are recommending restricting fat on a high fat diet. Does anyone else not see the problem with any of this? Man, I type fast when I’m angry!

More Nutrients Help You Heal:

Eating a ketogenic diet is about healing your hormones. Eating a ketogenic diet is about eating fat. Eating a ketogenic diet is about eating a lot of fat in order to heal your hormones. One of the reasons your hormones are broken is from the constant caloric restriction. What in the Susan Powter is wrong with everybody and their caloric obsession on a diet based on healing hormones by providing your body with nutrients it desperately needs? Did you read that? Your body needs nutrients to heal, not more restriction of nutrients.

Now did I just tell you to pound a stick of butter with every meal? No, I did not just tell you to pound a stick of butter with every meal. Please do not accuse me of stuffing our keto friends full of fat like poor foie gras ducks. It is simple – eat fat until you feel good. Satiated is a word I use way too much, but that is what you want. No part of that says to eat everything in your sight because it is fat. No part of that says to stop eating when you are weak, shaky and miserable just because your smartphone app told you that you are done with calories today. Just making sure everyone is on the same page here.

If you are restricting your calories, what exactly are you using to heal? Because the few calories you have coming in are going toward breathing. Breathing is important if you want to stay alive. Next, your body might put some of those caloric resources toward growing hair and nails, because people look pretty with hair and nails. If your body is busy using up every last resource you have coming in on basic functions like breathing and growing hair and nails, what is left to heal? Nothing, because you listened to Joe Schmo who graduated from Nutrisystem in 1985. He is now in the process of taking off the same 30 pounds he has been taking off and adding back since 1985. If that’s your thing, Joe Schmo it up! If you want to heal and live free of a life of food restriction, put down your dumb smartphone app and listen to me.

Been There, Done That:

If you are still reading, I am going to guess you too counted calories at some point in your life. I am going to guess you too lost weight from counting calories. Hey, so did I! I had success counting calories pretty much every year from 1992 – 2012. Wah-hoo! That’s twenty years of calorie counting success!

But that does not mention the failure of always adding back the weight year after year for twenty years – because that happened too. In 2012 I added back the weight plus another 55 pounds on top of that. 55 pounds above my highest weight ever…that is where counting calories got me. Oh, and a fast track to diabetes. Forgot that part as well.

Right. That’s the part Jenny Craig fails to mention when Kirstie Alley flaunts her swimsuit figure on Oprah. When Kirstie gained the weight back, it was Valerie Bertinelli’s turn. But then Jenny Craig had to ditch both of them because the weight came back. And then Kirstie lost the weight again, which was great for Jenny Craig because no one seemed to care that she is a lifelong yo-yo dieter from caloric restriction – they just see a skinny Kirstie Alley on their television. Well, until Jenny Craig hides her again because the weight comes back. People like to ooh and aah at the magic caloric restriction brings, but what about the struggle to maintain that loss? Suddenly those turn into woah, what happened kinds of ooh’s and aah’s. Much different ooh’s and aah’s.

So if caloric restriction doesn’t work for Jenny Craig, if it doesn’t work for Weight Watchers and if it didn’t work for me after twenty years of type-A personality attempts, why is everyone trying so hard to make it work with keto?

But My Friend Lost Weight Counting Calories:

Surely someone is having success with counting calories since it is all the rage.

There are reasons restricting your calories might work. However, this will only work for a little while until you have to restrict even further. When most people start counting calories, they take the time to pay attention and write down what they eat. This means most likely they will skip Dunkin Donuts in the morning and opt for something not so high in calories, like bacon and eggs. What is the difference there? Bacon and eggs are both real foods. They are made up of components your body can recognize and use as fuel instead of junky, processed carbohydrates that your body has no idea what to do with. These junky carbs will be stored as toxic fat. The bacon and eggs will break down more appropriately to give you energy.

More real food and less processed junk leads to health improvements and weight loss. The bacon and eggs person’s insulin will not spike as high because of the foods chosen. This gives the body the opportunity to burn fat once the insulin levels out. This is hormonal and not caloric.

If you take two people who eat 500 calories every day for breakfast, but one eats donuts and the other eats bacon and eggs, which one is going to have an easier time losing weight? Right, the bacon and eggs because bacon and eggs do not spike insulin as high as donuts. Same calories, but one person was smart and ate a breakfast to heal her hormones. Let’s call that smart girl Nissa. (You can rename the smart girl when you write your article).

Now if our smart girl Nissa keeps her insulin low all day by eating appropriate food for her hormones that do not cause large insulin spikes, smart Nissa can eat as much food as she needs to feel satiated with nary a calorie counted. She keeps her insulin low, she feels good, she does not feel like a mad scientist adding up calories and macros all day, and she loses weight with ease. This also takes into account that smart Nissa chooses appropriate foods her body can digest, that also keep her insulin low. This will be different for everyone, but smart Nissa has taken the time to learn what her body can and cannot digest through trial and error.

Now let’s say smart Nissa steps on the scale on Monday morning. Smart Nissa sees the weight on the scale went up by one pound. Smart Nissa’s mind is thrown into a tizzy and  she panics! She determines the diet that has been making her feel great and helping her lose clothing sizes is no longer working because an electronic device with absolutely no connection to how she feels told her she gained one pound. Smart Nissa decides to take advice from Joe Schmo and starts restricting her calories on a diet based on hormones.

Smart Nissa is no longer smart because before she restricted her calories, her body was getting the resources it needed to heal and balance out her hormones. Now that she is restricting her calories based on her smartphone app’s recommendations, previously smart Nissa’s body starts to go into famine mode because barely enough nutrients are coming in for even the most basic of functions. Previously smart Nissa’s body is going to hold onto every ounce of stored fat because her body will need that as more and more nutrients are restricted. Smart Nissa’s body will start breaking down her lean muscle mass to make up for the lack of nutrients coming in. Her formerly well functioning metabolism is being lowered. Now smart Nissa will have to eat even less to lose weight or simply maintain the loss.

The Reality of Calorie Restriction:

My favorite podcaster TC Hale says it best – you cannot pay 1800 dollars worth of bills with only 900 dollars of income. You may get by for a month or two with this tight budget, but eventually Froylan from Operation Repo will come calling. I mean, everyone wants to be on TV, but those people are scary!  Maybe just pay your car note and try out for America’s Got Talent instead. You don’t even need real talent to have Simon call you names!

In our case, you cannot use 1800 calories of nutrients required just to function with only taking in 900 calories. Something somewhere will need to be cut. Is it lean muscle mass you need for a stronger metabolism? Will hair begin falling out of your head at an alarming rate because you do not have the proper resources to keep it attached? Will you go through depression, anxiety and hormonal imbalance fits of rage lashing out at your family because you are so starved of nutrients? Yes. Yes. Yes.

Your body needs to conserve that energy somewhere and it will never be the functions you require to live. Your body will steal the resources it no longer has coming in from other areas of your body, like muscle mass or healthy hair growth. Then your metabolism slows down even more. This means you will have to keep lowering the amount of nutrition you are taking in just to maintain the weight loss. At some point it becomes completely unsustainable if you want to stay alive.  Add obsessive exercise to the mix and holy body freak out. Your body panics and goes directly into famine mode. When you are in famine mode for many years, like many people are, your body just starts ceasing functions that previously were fine tuned. I cannot say that caloric restriction is the reason for all of our health problems, but it is definitely a contender.

Some of the healthiest people on Earth do not understand how calories work. They eat real, whole foods when they are hungry and they stop when they are full. They listen to their bodies and easily maintain their weight and health. It is when our crazy westernized methods of controlling every little aspect of life with our smart apps infiltrates them, or when they start eating our one hundred calorie snack packs instead of an apple – that is when the problem starts.

Even after all of this, people are still going to throw tomatoes at me and tell me I am leading people astray. There is just no possible way you can lose weight going through life based on how your body feels rather than tracking your calories with an app. You need technology to tell you what to do! That’s just the way our society works. No one in the history of our human race has ever successfully lost weight while not tracking their calories.

My Big Fat Calorie Life Story:

My entire life I tracked calories because that is what I was told to do. Like a good girl, I limited my calories to somewhere around 1200 per day. I exercised 1-2 hours per day, five days per week. This is what all of the websites and diet companies said someone of my height and weight required to lose weight. This is what I looked like most of that time: 

In 2013 I finally came to my senses and stopped tracking calories. I finally did the work to tune in with my body and ate based on how I feel. I stopped looking to technology to tell me how my body feels, and started looking to my body to tell me how my body feels. Now I live a life free of caloric restriction and mad scientist tracking methods. If I am hungry, I eat. If I am full, I stop. Now it really is easy peasy, mystery solved.

Please tell me this. If counting calories on a diet based on hormones is still the only way to lose weight, how have I lost a total of 145 pounds and kept it off with minimal effort without counting one calorie? And when I do take the time to add up a day’s worth of food for sake of demonstration, how is it that I now eat 2300-2500 calories daily when every calorie tracker on Earth tells me I need to limit my caloric intake to only 1200-1300 with an hour plus of cardio to maintain my weight? How is this all possible if I am wrong? Am I some strange alien being whose previous life of restriction no longer applies because I am suddenly magic?

This works for my husband too. He doesn’t count calories or limit his fat. He is down 80 pounds this year. Oh, and there are my clients who I tell to eat more since most of them eat meals fit for birds. They add more food, and once their hormones begin to heal they lose weight too. Are we all just witch doctors? Or did we just stop listening to all of the experts and media who want to take our money by keeping us on this constant diet hamster wheel?

The Calories In vs. Calories Out Winners:

Who else does calories in versus calories out benefit more than the health or food and beverage industries? If health companies can convince you to eat their junk processed meal bars to lose weight because they fit into your calorie budget; if trainers can convince you that working out with them just a little bit more can help you reach your health goals; if soda companies can convince you that you need to move a little bit more to burn that Coke you just drank, or better yet, that the Diet Coke has zero calories, therefore zero impact on your waistline; if they can keep you convinced, they can keep you on the hamster wheel and keep the money coming to them. I chose to stop giving them my money a few years ago and it has never been easier to maintain a healthy lifestyle at my ideal weight.

If you insist that counting calories is the only way, I have absolutely no problem with this. In the famous words of Nene Leakes – you do you boo. When you gain the weight back next year, this blog will still be available. Come back if you are ready; or try counting calories again.

If you do not want to believe me because you think I am just some Joe Schmo on the Internet, some of the smartest people in the industry are spreading the same message – TC Hale, Leanne Vogel, Shawn Mynar, Jimmy Moore, Doc Nally. They all teach to eat for your hormones. Are they all witch doctors too?


To learn how to stop yo-yo dieting FOREVER, click here. Work with your body, not against it!

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