Many people believe that losing weight and getting slim is only possible by counting calories. Following the principle: Eat less, move more, then you will finally shed the pounds. That often means calculating the basal metabolic rate, weighing food, and recording the intake in a diet diary. After all, such a calorie-reduced diet leads to results on the scales, doesn’t it? Not always! Find out why many people nevertheless count calories, which problems are involved and why intermittent fasting is a great alternative.
The Problem with Calories in, Calories out
“If you eat fewer calories than you burn, you’ll lose weight.”
Certainly you have heard or read this sentence before. This “law” has a firm place in the minds of many people. If we break the rule, we will be “punished” and gain weight. There seems to be only one thing that helps: smaller portions and eating less, so that we stay below our daily requirement. So they put out their pen or cell phone and carefully record every meal, no, even each calorie. Trust is good, control is better.
Sounds tough? It is! Let’s talk about why this can become a serious problem. We’ll get to that in a minute.
Why Do People Count Calories?
Very few people enjoy the time and effort involved in counting calories. Still, many track how much they eat every day. The reasons for this are many and varied:
We think that if we eat fewer calories than we consume, we’ll automatically lose weight.
When we eat by numbers, we leave nothing to chance. We gain structure.
We learn about the calorie content of different foods. This helps us in making better decisions.
Even if for some people calorie counting is a helpful tool and may even work, for most people it doesn’t, especially not in the long run. There are several reasons for this. The most important one is:
Counting Calories Means Stress and Is Quite Inaccurate
The “calorie equation” sounds so simple, but it isn’t! One cannot precisely determine how many calories one takes in, how many one absorbs, and how many one burns or excretes through metabolism and exercise. To be specific, there are several reasons that oppose calorie counting as a successful model:
Calories are not a mere numbers game.
Did you know that the information on food labels and in calorie tables can deviate up to 25% from the truth? In addition, calories vary depending on the quality of the food and the way it is prepared. A further issue: It is difficult if not impossible to determine the exact calories consumed.
Calories don’t equal calories.
100 kcal from gummy bears have a different effect on the body than 100 kcal from broccoli. This is mainly due to the hormones that are released, such as the storage hormone insulin.
Fibre, for example, although it has calories, is used in a completely different way than sugar.
Proteins? They can even burn calories through the so-called thermogenetic effect.
You are one of a kind.
Maybe you’ve used an app to calculate your basal metabolic rate before. But what’s going on INSIDE your body? How you process calories and how much you burn is highly dependent on the individual and can even vary from day to day! For instance, your hormones, metabolism and intestinal flora play a crucial role!
Not even how much energy you consume at rest and during activity can be calculated that easily. In addition to exercise and sports, things like your genes, your hormones and even your dietary history play an important role. These factors even determine your feeling of hunger!
Stress, poor sleep and your emotional state can also have a bad impact on your energy balance!
Your brain plays a trick on you.
Do you write down every meal? Our brain is a champion when it comes to forgetting the cracker in between meals or in estimating the serving of salad you had in the canteen. Even nutrition experts misjudge up to 30%!
On top of that: Renunciation works for very few people in the long run. Bans mean stress!
Counting calories becomes pure stress.
Quite often, it becomes an obsession: You only see figures on your plate, not food. You trust these numbers more than your own body. Over and over, we see that eating turns into a real stress factor.
Even if it may sound so straightforward in theory: Counting calories is not an accurate science after all.
An Alternative to Calorie Counting? Intermittent Fasting!
How about less numbers and more well-being? Yes, there are definitely sensible alternatives to calorie counting that give you the structure and orientation you (perhaps still) need.
Intermittent fasting works without counting calories and is in fact a different way to achieve a healthy calorie deficit. Eating with breaks starts a process in which you learn to listen to your body more carefully. Many people automatically develop a desire for healthier food and more exercise. Studies prove the numerous positive effects of intermittent fasting on health!
We invite you to join us on this alternative journey with intermittent fasting. One that makes your life easier. First of all, you only pay attention to the times you eat and you will thereby discover routines that you might not have been aware of before. Step by step you will develop new, healthy habits and learn to eat more intuitively and to listen to your body.
Intermittent fasting has beneficial effects on so many levels and gives your body and mind the energy you need. And it does so in a healthy and sustainable way, because every break from eating does yourself good! So Why wasting energy by counting calories?
In one of the following blog posts we will introduce you to a model of how to determine a proper serving size and thus give your body the energy it needs while achieving your goals!
You’re not a BodyFaster yet? Download the BodyFast app for free and start your journey to more health and well-being!