We get the logic: Burning more calories means burning more fat. Which means lower weight.
But, the root problem to weight gain (from fat) isn’t calories.
The root problem is a poor diet and its effect on the desire to eat, even when we’re not hungry.
Healthy muscles and properly functioning metabolisms require calories. When we eat healthy, we provide valuable fuel to our bodies to grow and to take care of themselves.
When we eat healthy, we enable our bodies to naturally regulate their own energy intake vs. energy expenditure balances. Studies have shown that the Western diet rich in processed carbs and sugars, however, hijacks our bodies’ abilities to regulate food intake:
“Taken collectively, these data provide evidence for the idea that there is biological (active) control of body weight and also weight stability (and thus a set point at a healthy steady state) in response to eating healthy chow diets. By contrast, this regulation is lost or camouflaged by Western diets, suggesting that the failure of biological control is due mainly to external factors. [Emphasis added] In this situation, the set point is replaced by various settling points that are influenced by energy and macronutrient intake in order for the body to reach a zero balance of energy and macronutrients and thus a new and possibly unhealthy steady state.”
— Muller, et al, Is there evidence for a set point that regulates human body weight?
This paragraph suggests that the Western diet hinders our bodies’ natural abilities to regulate themselves. Our bodies lose their natural set points, i.e. healthy weights.
In essence, we’ve learned to count calories as a crutch. We figured that by keeping close tabs of our caloric intake, we can continue to eat poorly, yet somehow control our body weights. This is the equivalent of taking drugs to alleviate symptoms but without curing the underlying disease.
If we fix the root problem by eating healthy, however, we can avoid counting calories AND lose weight in the long run.
To eat healthy, eat:
- Lots of vegetables
- Lean meats, if you eat meat
- Whole fruits, but no fruit juice (even fresh pressed), limited dried fruits.
- Nuts & seeds
- Unprocessed carbs (e.g. potatoes, rice, whole grains)
- Processed carbs. If it has flour, it’s processed.
- Sugar bombs. Candy, soda, high-fructose corn syrup, fruit juices.
- Artificial ingredients. Includes artificial sweeteners.
Does this mean we can’t ever eat that chocolate, pizza, cake, ice cream? Not at all. Just treat them as occasional cheat meals/treats. Say, a few times a week. Remember, one bad meal won’t make us overweight, just as one good meal won’t make us lose weight.
If we eat healthy, we can stop counting calories and free ourselves from this dreadful meter. We’ll also lose weight, as our bodies re-learn to regulate their own energy intake vs. expenditure balance.
(Photo from 500px)