Calorie Counting Diets- The Quickest Way To Weight Loss Or Just A Gimmick

In the last few days the Food And Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. has made it mandatory that every restaurant post the exact number of calories in their servings.  Such a move now makes it easier for Americans to go on calorie counting diets, but is this the right approach to weight loss?

With so many fad diets going on every year, this year it’s the Dukan Diet, it is hard to distinguish not only which diet plans work but also which approaches work when losing fat and losing weight.  Sometimes we are told that eating high protein, other times it’s high carbs and other times it’s a mix of everything.

What It Takes To Lose Weight

So often the topic of losing weight is handled as if it was a difficult concept that only a few people know the secrets to.  Losing weight is much easier than you think.  In order to lose weight the best way to do so is by spending more calories than the number of calories consumed.

Think of your body as a car.  If a car has a full tank it will be heavier than on an empty tank.  The car needs fuel, for us fuel is food, and as it drives it burns that fuel until it is left on empty and thus is lighter than when it was a full tank.  I am not advocating not eating. Quite the contrary you need to have food and calories to go about your day but I find the simple car analogy works.

At this point the key point to remember is

  • To lose weight you have to spend more calories than what you eat.

Eat 10,000 Calories And Lose Weight Guaranteed!

During the 2010 Summer Olympics it was revealed that American Gold Medal Swimmer Michael Phelps (nobody can argue that a swimmer’s body is very attractive) ate between 8 thousand and 10 thousand calories a day. This news shocked most people and were asking themselves, “how in the world is he eating that much and staying thin? I want his secret!”

There was no secret.  Athletes do intense activity in their respective sport for 6 to 8 hours a day.  This level of activity makes them spend huge amounts of calories and energy and as a result their bodies need more food (calories in).  Because athletes burn more calories than they eat the result is a lean body when it is coupled with the proper exercise.

Calorie Counting Diets- The Way To Go?

Now that you have seen that all it takes to lose weight is it worth trying a calorie counting diet?  There are diet plans that follow this concept by counting either “points” or calories.  This approach can be helpful for someone who needs discipline in tracking how well he or she eats.  In order for this method to work in weight loss you need to follow two techniques:

  1. You need to count calories of every food item you eat
  2. You need to count how many calories you burned from exercise, walking, and throughout the day

This may seem difficult to do and in many ways it is.  With technology it has become easier as there are phone apps that can work as a calorie calculator for what you eat and what you have done in activity.

Become A Fat Burning Machine In Your Sleep!

So if you stay active during the day you will burn plenty of calories. Makes sense right?  Well what if I told you that when you work out you continue burning calories after your workout and even as you sleep?  This is true and one of the reasons why exercise is very important if you want to lose fat.  However, it is the right type of exercise that will help you burn more calories when you rest.  For excellent workouts that burn calories more effectively the best types are:

By doing these types of workouts you will find yourself burning more calories as you rest which will make it easier to forget doing calorie counting.  As long as you eat sensibly and maintain a lower calorie count you won’t have to worry too much whether you are burning more than what you ate.

If you want to follow a calorie counting diet approach simply know the range of calories you are roughly eating and maintain an activity level where you are spending more calories than what you ate.

Other Factors To Consider

Taking all of this into account it is easy to consider eating any type of food, for example junk food, and think that as long as you keep your calories down you will be fine.  Well it is not so simple.  One thing I like to promote is calorie quality.  In other words, you want to eat good quality calories found in healthy foods.

Not All Calories Are Created Equal

The calories in a chocolate bar are not the same as the calories you find in a salad for example.  If you eat 300 calories of junk food and 300 calories of fruits and vegetables the results on your body will be different.  In fact, you will have to work much harder to get rid of the bad stuff, to put it simply.  This factor is why perhaps it is hard for calorie counting diets to win as an alternative by the general public and experts alike.

There are other alternatives that make it easier and more manageable.  Diet plans like “Eat Stop Eat,” for example make it easy so that the person does not have to count calories, follow a gimmick like having no carbs or no protein, yet is able to eat sensibly and healthy without having to sacrifice food.

Losing weight does not have to be difficult and does not have to rely on grabbing a calculator to count how many calories have been eaten.  Calorie counting diets are simply one other approach that can be followed in order to reach your goals.

Feel free to comment below and join the discussion.

Comments

  1. Good list of things to keep fit… interestingly I read an article where a fast food restaurant indicated calories next to each’healthy’ and ‘not so healthy’ meals … at the end of the survey knowing the calories did not change the customers buying habits.
    Raymond

    • Sam Munoz says:

      Raymond,
      Interesting bit of information but it does make sense. It is hard to break a habit. Going from the unhealthy to the healthy option is not easy for most people. Even when taking calories in to account I am sure flavor trumps a healthy option the majority of the time.
      This shift in calories being placed in view of customers is probably a step in the right direction and now the customer has more reason to consider their options, however I think it will take more than this to really change unhealthy habits.

      -Sam

  2. Sam,

    I don’t count calories to the tee because it’s just too cumbersome. What I do is a modified form of calorie counting where I estimate my meals to the nearest 400 calories. Then I set a weekly target and simply try to stay under. It’s much more manageable and also serves my purpose which is making sure I’m not eating too much. When coupled with intermittent fasting and sufficient physical activity, I believe this calorie estimation technique is an almost fail proof way to maintain my target weight.

    Alykhan – Fitness Breakout

    • Sam Munoz says:

      Calorie counting at each meal can be very cumbersome. I know some people who are able to do so but it takes a lot of discipline. I feel the same way, I can’t sit and count at each and every meal but having a rough estimate is much easier. I just feel that keeping a good healthy range with calories, eating healthier options and staying physically active is easier to do in order to look and feel healthy.

      -Sam

  3. I’m on board with you – it’s not just about how many calories, it’s about quality of calories and and the overall range you allow yourself throughout the week.

    And yes, despite Phelps being an Olympic athlete and training over 6 hours everyday – his 10,000 calorie diet shocked me!

    — Kevin

    • Sam Munoz says:

      Quality of calories is something I have always been a big proponent of. Eating the right types of foods and having the higher quality calories leads to higher quality workouts, energy and a better physique.

      About Michael Phelps… I wasn’t too surprised because I had heard a few years back that beach volleyball players eat around 8,000 calories to keep up with their energy levels. I have however heard recently that these numbers are an exaggeration and someone like Michael Phelps might be eating around 6,000 to 8,000 calories. Still very high and definitely not something non-professional athletes can get away with.

      -Sam

  4. Counting calories can be pretty tough. Recording every food you eat at every meal really isn’t something I can do. I have a general estimate in my head as to how much I’m eating. As the week goes on, if I feel like I’ve overindulged, I’ll cut back a few days. Intermittent fasting really makes the problem go away though.

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