Are you still counting calories? Do you obsess over how many calories you eat each day? If your answer is yes then this article will help you understand why calories don’t matter and show you what actually does when it comes to health!
Nutrition Is Like an Onion
Don’t worry, if you’re still counting calories in hopes of seeing weight loss, you’re not alone.
I used to spend my days counting calories too because I thought that was what I was supposed to do.
But not anymore.
As a registered dietitian and nutrition expert, I am here to explain to you Why Calories Don’t Matter, and what actually does so that you can start to feel happier, and healthier, sooner.
To think about calories in relation to health, I want you to think of nutrition as a whole like an onion.
The calories are the outside papery peel of the onion – the first thing to get thrown away.
Because when it comes down to it, calories consumed is the least important factor when it comes to good nutrition.
Yes, eating too little* or too many calories is detrimental to the body in their own respect.
But if you’re following a nutrient-dense diet approach and learn to fuel your body with quality foods over quantity foods, I promise that you will never need to count calories again.
*And guess what? Eating too little calories is the #1 thing I see women doing that is sabotaging their weight loss efforts.
If you need help calculating your energy requirements, work with your healthcare professional – but for the love of nutrition, please do not aim for a 1,200 calorie diet as you will risk damaging your metabolism.
Calories In vs. Calories Out
Yes, technically calories in must equal calories out in order to maintain weight loss. And yes, you must burn off more calories than you consume in order to lose weight.
But when it comes to health and nutrition, understanding what works and what doesn’t for each individual person goes way beyond just calories.
And that’s exactly why I am telling you that calories don’t matter.
Restricting your daily caloric intake to anything less than 1,500 calories per day does much more harm than good and will cause physiological changes that will slow down your metabolism and cause your body to hold onto excess weight.
But I also want you to understand that food should not be used as a form of punishment. Food should be used as fuel for your body.
Everything you eat should be carefully chosen as a means to fuel your body, to provide your body with all of the nutrients that it needs to function properly; happily & healthy on a day-to-day basis.
Calories and Macronutrients
The next layer of the ‘nutrition onion’ is what is known as macronutrients: the fats, carbohydrates, and proteins – or as the Instagram world likes to call it ‘macros’.
These are the larger components of our food, and all food is composed of these three things in different quantities.
These macronutrients are the fuel that the body uses to carry out all of our daily activities, build muscle, help the brain function and so much more. Monitoring your intake of these three components is more important than monitoring your intake of calories.
Calories and Micronutrients
The inside of the onion, the ‘meat and potatoes’ if you will, is what we know as micronutrients: the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients and various nutrition compounds that keep our bodies healthy.
Micronutrients are the most important, yet overlooked, components of good nutrition.
These are what the body uses to perform every minuscule operation we need to live and function properly.
From hormones to brain signals and function, micronutrients will keep us functioning properly. These micro-nutrients are only found in whole foods, the closer to nature the better.
Why Calories Don’t Matter
The reason that I believe that counting calories are not important is no doubt complicated.
For one, did you know that by law the information listed on a nutrition facts panel is allowed to be up to 20% incorrect? Why?
Because nutrition is a science and it is nearly impossible to get an accurate answer when there are SO many factors involved.
Furthermore, it is extremely difficult to estimate the number of calories in, for example, a cup of spinach, because when I measure as one cup may not be the same as when you measure a cup of spinach.
It is extremely difficult to calculate how many calories a person needs each day for a variety of reasons, and it is never the same from day-to-day.
The methods used to calculate caloric requirements are nothing more than an educated guess unless you have access to indirect calorimetry – which is rare.
If you follow a 1,200 calorie diet, which is far too low for anybody, your body will not be able to lose weight. I promise you that.
Your body will react as if it were starving – because it is. It will hold onto every last calorie and paste it right onto your hips, butt, and thighs.
You will feel hungry and deprived and miserable. I don’t ever suggest anyone drop below 1,500 calories per day even if your goal is weight loss.
What I really want you to take away from this is that it is not how many calories you consume, it is what makes up those calories is critically important.
Your body will not lose weight if you are starving it or feeding it crap.
I promise you will feel happier, look better, achieve your goals quicker and faster when you stop counting calories and start to pay attention to the things that really matter like micronutrients and holistic lifestyle interventions.
I Am Here to Help
I am dedicated to helping you understand how to create a life of health & happiness that you truly love. Together, I will help you to break free from the diet mentality and calorie trap.
When we work together, I show you how to choose quality foods over quantity foods, how to enjoy eating again, and how to love yourself, mind, body and spirit.
I help you learn how to listen to your body and hear what it needs, to trust your natural hunger cues and to trust yourself to make the right choice.
Learning that calories don’t matter is just one small lesson you will learn during our time in holistic health counseling sessions together.
You deserve a life of health and happiness. I can help.