Why Focusing On Only Calories Is Probably Working Against Your Weight Loss Success

Why Focusing On Only Calories Is Probably Working Against Your Weight Loss Success

It’s time we began to focus on the quality of the calorie rather than the number it provides

Counting calories was one of my most hated bad habits. I would stay fixated on the daily amount and what every food source contained.

I never once thought to understand what was behind that number from a nutrient value perspective.

No wonder I always felt tired and became withdrawn from life and the things I loved. Plus, I regained any weight I lost just out of sheer exhaustion. Monitoring calories on a day-to-day basis for years can be exhausting.

Doing this also caused the habit of ‘overexercising’ to somehow make up for the added calories I consumed. Although some monitoring is ideal — obsession is not. But I wanted to point out something important in your food choices: the nutrient value and the effects of food on your metabolism, health and weight loss.

Our bodies get what they need from a particular food source and caloric rating. It doesn’t know where we get those calories from, but it stores and uses energy as required to do one thing only — to ensure you are surviving.

Food is more than fuel

Specific food sources provide more than just a calorie.

Instead, they also offer the added benefits that help keep hormones balanced, keep you full for extended periods, and help support a healthy immune system and the gut microbiome.

Everyone handles calories in their unique way. When it comes to foods like cake or white bread, our bodies tend to absorb those calories a lot more readily when compared to the humble avocado.

Your recommended intake of calories per day should result from your age, how active you are and whether you are a man or woman. We all have a unique number that our bodies regulate. We also must add in our metabolism (which is determined by our genes, what we eat and our level of exercise), basal metabolic rate and how much muscle or fat we have.

As you know, muscle is metabolically active tissue and requires fuel to keep repairing and growing. This is a rough guideline of how our bodies use calories. As you might already know, all foods — including the junk-food variety, provide different lines of energy to your body. The essential macronutrient value of a food source is based on fats, carbs and protein.

Not all foods provide the same result in terms of energy. To give you an example, take carbs, for instance. They are a much-needed macronutrient; carbs are processed quickly, protein is much slower, and fats take much longer to digest.

Your satisfaction after eating foods with eggs and cheese will give you much more staying power than a bowl of sugar-filled processed cereal or a bagel with jam.

If you have tried these combinations, it might sound familiar after the carb cereal breakfast; you feel somewhat hungry again faster than with a high protein and egg breakfast.

That’s why after you eat brown rice, wholewheat bread, protein and avocado, you feel full because digestion of those foods is much slower. The food you consume can affect the body long after it’s been digested. For example, olive oil doesn’t build up in the lining of the vessels, and it’s an essential fatty acid that benefits our health.

One thing to watch out for

I hope you have started looking at food labels before you eat the food source.

Unfortunately, we can’t even trust the caloric information on the title because it can be at least 20% inaccurate. Therefore, you might consume much more than you realise, and those numbers add up.

For instance, take almonds. Almonds handled in different ways produce an additional energy output. Accurate calories account for the whole raw almond and are 25 per cent lower than the marked count and 19 per cent lower for roasted almonds than the official package indicates. When an almond is mechanically roasted or chopped, that disrupts the cell wall, which causes larger particle size. Larger particles are a lot harder to digest by digestive enzymes.

As a result, more is excreted, but fewer calories are absorbed.

That’s probably one of the essential points to pay attention to. This principle is the opposite when it comes to almond butter. What you see is what you get for this one. When you change whole almonds into a butter form, those calories become readily available, and we absorb more.

I hope this makes you a lot more aware of how we can manipulate our food to absorb more or fewer calories based on how our bodies handle them. That’s why drinking a smoothie with just the fruit juice (which may have about ten oranges) is much more accessible for the body than eating one or two oranges with fibre pulp. The difference is like night and day; you can guess which combination is much more satisfying and takes the body longer to digest.

Key take away

Suppose we started moving away from the number and based our food choices on what would increase our satisfaction of fullness and provide nutritional value. In that case, we will increase our chances of weight loss success and maintenance throughout our lifetime.

Now is the time to stop eating unsatisfying, nutritionally empty foods with a number that do not hit the spot for long-term weight loss results and maintenance. Hunger is something that weight loss candidates have to battle regularly. It makes sense to view food from a macronutrient nutritional level so that you can maintain and sustain high energy levels to see you through those workouts whilst keeping satiety high on your priority list.

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