Part 1: Calories In
Compiled by Dean Carlson, Pn2. Infographic created by John Berardi Ph.D. and Helen Kollias Ph.D.
Most of us go down the "calorie counting" path at least once in our efforts to lose weight. After all, everybody knows "calories in - calories out" is the key to weight loss success, right? But is it that simple? This article and accompanying infographic outlines 5 reasons why all those food calculators may not be as helpful as we thought.
Actually the principle of energy balance does work:
Take in more calories/energy than you burn, you gain weight. Take in fewer calories/energy than you expend and you will lost weight.
It's not the principle that is flawed, it's the counting that is so hard to actually do correctly and accurately enough to make it worth while.
There are so many factors working against you, on both ends of the energy equation - in and out. Part 1 highlights the problems with "calories in".
Download your own printer friendly copy of the infographic right here.
25% Margin of Error?
That would make a very significant difference when trying to figure out while all those calories counting apps aren't really helping, wouldn't it?
Now I am not saying you have to never track your calories, but here are my recommendations if you do.
Understand the limitations of the methodology. If you are not seeing the results you expect, take another look at the infographic for potential reasons why. The important thing is results, not the actual number of calories the tracker says you are eating. If you are working on losing body fat, and it ain't happening, it doesn't matter how many calories the tracker says you are eating, you need to eat less.
There are times that I track calories, usually as a "sanity check". In other words I am not seeing the results I want, and when I track for a couple weeks it is easy to see why. I am usually eating a lot more food or a lot more times than I think I am. But even I don't want to reduce the enjoyment of eating to a math problem all the time. That's just no fun!
There is a better way, and it doesn't involve calculators and fitness apps. It's portable, reusable, and effective. It's the Calorie Control Cheat Sheet.
Stayed tuned for Part 2: Calories Out, coming up in a couple weeks!