Counting Calories is Overrated.

     If you’ve ever tried losing weight before I’m sure you are familiar with counting your calories. You’ve been told the key to losing weight is to consume fewer calories each day than you burn. That is true, if you do consume fewer calorie than you burn, you will lose weight. However, if you want to lose weight you should first increase the quality of your calories. An increase in quality will lead to fewer calories consumed overall. One of the keys losing weight permanently is to increase the quality of your calories. You’ve also probably heard the phrase ‘all calories are created equally’ or ‘a calorie is a calorie is a calorie.’ Phrases like these are almost as harming and untrue as ‘you should go on a diet to lose weight’.

     In order to illustrate my point on how not all calories are created equally, let’s take for an example the daily breakfast I ate when I was 300 pounds compared to the daily breakfast I consume now at 200. Both breakfast are literally the exact same amount of calories but have incredibly different effects when consumed.

     When I weighed 300 pounds I would eat 500 calories for breakfast every day. This would consists of a bagel with cream cheese and some orange juice. This breakfast consists of lots of ‘refined carbs’ and sugar. Studies show that ‘refined carbs’ and sugar alone contribute to 75% of the fat we have stored in our bodies. Consuming ‘refined carbs’ and sugar release glucose into you blood stream. If this glucose is not immediately used it is stored as fat. Consuming sugar and ‘refined carbs’ also does not keep you full for very long, causing you to eat more throughout the day which obviously leads to weight gain. Let’s recap the effect of this 500 calorie breakfast:

·       Not Very filling

·       Lots of Sugar

·       Lots of ‘refined carbs’

·       No healthy protein or fats

     I currently weigh 200 pounds and still eat 500 calories every day for breakfast. Every day for breakfast I wake up and consume 6 eggs mixed with some various vegetables. These 500 calories has a much different effect on my body. First off, eggs are filled with lots of healthy fats and protein, which keeps you feeling fuller longer and eating less through the day. Research has found that eating eggs for breakfast can help weight loss by limiting calorie intake for the rest of the day by more than 400 calories.(2) Secondly, eggs are literally one of the healthiest foods on planet earth and naturally help you burn fat. Lastly, the high protein content of eggs helps to build muscle which permanently boost your metabolism. Research shows that eating a high protein diet has been shown to boost metabolism by 80 to 100 calories per day, while helping you feel so satiated that you eat up to 441 fewer calories per day(3,4,5). Where I live 6 eggs a day cost also approximately $1.20, but we will elaborate on this in a later chapter. Let’s recap the effect of this 500 calorie breakfast:

·       Very Filling

·       Lots of healthy protein, fats and carbs

·       Helps build muscle

·       Helps boost metabolism

 

     As you can clearly see from this illustration, while both breakfasts are 500 calories, they have drastically different effects on your body and your permanent figure and health. If you want to spend time and energy keeping track on your calories then that’s perfectly fine. You need to remember that when it comes to losing weight the number one factor in your permanent weight loss will be the quality of your calories. You also need to remember that counting calories is very untrustworthy as the total calories on nutrition labels and at restaurants is very inaccurate. Studies show that companies can underreport calories by up to 20% and still pass their FDA inspections.  As you first focus on the quality of your calories, you will in turn eat fewer of them, which will lead you to permanently lose weight.