Weight loss does not have to be difficult so for that reason I have broken in to 4 main areas:
- Metabolic Typing
- Fat Burning Foods including Water and a Healthy Nutritional Plan
- Calorie intake
- Physical Training (Interval Training with Resistance Training)
Most weight loss programmes will tell you the aim of the game is to burn more calories than your intake. While there is value to the logic, it is equally important to understand the source of your calories.
Simply put a calorie is a measure of the energy derived from a food source. A gram of fat for example has 9 calories, a gram of protein 4 calories and a gram of carbohydrate also has 4 calories. So if you consume 1g of fat plus 1g of protein your total caloric intake is 9 + 4 which is 13 calories. If your desired calorie intake is 1500 each day, let us say, then all that is required is burning more than 1500 calories per day to enable weight loss right?
Wrong! A calorie is not a calorie in that sense.
If it were that straight forward the whole weight loss saga would be so much easier!
There a 6 factors that influence calorie intake
- Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fat calories may be equal in terms of their energy count, but calories change when they enter the body. Each macro-nutrient is processed by the body in a very distinct way which has implications to your weight loss program
The body uses 30% of its energy to process protein, 20% to process carbs and 3% to process fat. A 2500 calorie per day high protein diet for example adds fewer calories to your body than a 2500 high carbohydrate diet. Further evidence that a calorie is not a calorie!
- If you think about your body as a classy car with a fuel injected engine and calories are the fuel that drives it. You may appreciate that without fuel, your engine cannot run. Like-wise, without calories your body cannot run or burn the necessary calories for weight loss.
Reducing calories based on a linear calorie equation will slow your metabolism. Your body naturally adapts to reduced calories by slowing down its metabolism to conserve the reduced number of calories. An ingenious system to prevent starvation.
- Proteins generally reduces appetite more per calorie than carbohydrate and fat. So given a high-protein diet of 2000 calories for example, you are likely to feel fuller longer compared to a high-carb diet with the same calorie count.
- Another consideration in this quagmire of calorie confusion is the effect of fibre. Fibre is a form of carbohydrate which reduces calorie absorption. It contributes to satiety without contributing calories, as it is not absorbed into the body.
Therefore a low calorie high-fibre food will reduce appetite and make you feel fuller longer, more than a low-fibre food. Increasing your daily fibre consumption will result in you eating less because you feel fuller.
- The Thermic Effect of Food (TEF) has implications to your calorie intake. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that TEF is higher in the morning than in than in evening.
Clear evidence that you burn more calories in the morning.
- The size and frequency of your meals effects how calories are consumed by your body. Some studies show that eating 6 times per day on a weight control diet lowers your body fat percentage significantly more than if you eat just 2 meals per day.
Consuming calories more frequently throughout the day means fat is more likely to be used immediately for energy, stored as glycogen or used to synthesise new muscle protein. Consuming calories just once or twice per day on the other hand, means they are more likely to be stored as fat.
The significance of counting calories in the conventional sense is influenced by different food sources and bio-chemical factors which effect the value of that calorie. Where there are certainly benefits in reducing your calorie intake as part of your weight loss programme you should not rely solely on a raw calorie count.
I love this Food Matters Recipe Book. Although it does not contain calorie counting food, it is packed full of healthy meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Plus you’ll find healthy juices, snacks, smoothies and much much more. Everything you need to lose weight, get healthy and stay healthy!
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Resources and further reading