There’s a reason we don’t watch television in our house - what you feed your mind is as important as what you feed your body. Fortunately, my mom watches the news, or I wouldn't have been clued-in to the story that spurred this blog post.
Last week, she said to me, “You’re going to love this, Char. They are talking about putting something on food labels to reflect how much exercise you would have to do to burn off that particular food.”
HA! I Googled it and sure enough, she wasn’t making this up. I am going to tell you two reasons why calorie counting is total bullshit.
#1 – The calories in, calories out theory of managing weight is preposterous from a scientific standpoint.
#2 – You can’t outrun your fork.
So let’s start with number one. We have been taught that if you want to lose weight, then you need to reduce the number of calories consumed. Makes sense, right? Sure it does. On the surface. Let’s dive deeper…
First of all, counting calories sucks. You are not a mathematical equation. You are a dynamic human being who is alive and forever evolving. Looking at food from a caloric standpoint is disrespectful to Nature and our bodies. I know because I used to be an obsessive calorie-counter, and it made me sick when I thought I was being healthy!
One day you may have a strong appetite and then a few days go by and you feel sort of indifferent towards food. Your appetite can change with the weather, your workload, your menstrual cycle and your stress level. Can we trust these fluctuations and trust ourselves to respond accordingly? I say, YES!
Restricting calories also slows down your metabolism and makes you hungry, which in turn makes you depressed and miserable.
Third, it is not the calories that matter, but your hormonal response to the food that you eat. You can wake up in the morning and have 300 calories of cornflakes and skim milk, or you can eat 300 calories of eggs and sausage.
Guess what is fattening?
The cereal and skim milk!
Because when you eat all those carbohydrates, your pancreas releases insulin to regulate your blood sugar. Insulin is a storage hormone. Your blood sugar goes up. Insulin goes up. And then you crash, ready for your next carbohydrate hit.