Today we address the age old question: do calories count? There has been a backlash to calorie counting over the last several years that in large part was long overdue. But possibly not for the reasons that you think. Here’s the thing - we love to oversimplify stuff - as health professionals we get told that people have neither the time, the patience or the attention span to read long articles so chop chop….distill your point down to a sound byte or two and get on with it - details be damned. Sigh. As I’ve said on this newsletter time and time again - the devil is in the details especially when it comes to optimizing your health - the issue around calories is no different.
Don’t get me wrong - there’s no doubt that just counting calories will not get you the results you’re looking for…at least not in the long term. Certainly, if you are the type of person who pays zero attention to portion sizes and over consumes food to the point of excess, every single day - there’s a good chance that you will see some degree of benefits simply by dialling back on the sheer size of your meals - and by all means please do this at least as a first step. But as many frustrated others can attest, simply counting calories doesn’t always work - sometimes it even backfires! On the other side of the fence, there’s the Ketogenic Lifestyle crowd positively crowing that there’s no need to pay any attention whatsoever to how many calories you eat if you eliminate carbs….all ya gotta do is chow down on cream cheese filled bacon wrapped jalapeños and your weight problems will disappear. In fairness, sometimes it appears that this approach might work for some people but for many many others it simply leads to heartburn and weight gain and my suspicion is, that for most, it will lead to a different set of health issues down the road.
Infuriatingly there are those who do not seem to need to count calories and get to have perfect health and body composition - and, in truth, for most of us, our ultimate goal should be to never need to count calories - but in my experience here is what most of these people, are also doing whether they realize it or not:
So what should everyone else do? The cardinal law of writing these types of articles of course is to never ever leave your audience more stressed and confused than they started…..I hear you. Here’s the plan - you’ve read it here before but I’ll keep it brief (you can always go back to old posts for the details):
Are you still with me? So, should you calorie-count? The answer is yes, but only to a point. Ultimately if you consistently provide your body with more energy than it can use it will store the excess for another day - it’s what allowed us to survive as a species. BUT. Remember that what you eat is just as important as how much you eat, and, that getting enough sleep, staying active and managing your stress are also part of the puzzle. There are no quick fixes I’m afraid but if you put in the work, just one small change at a time, I can almost guarantee you that you will feel better and start to experience the results you are after. If you cannot do it on your own, get some help - a friend to keep you accountable, a health coach or a nutritionist all can work. If you like to work in a group look out for my next online Group Coaching Program starting November 1st (yes, I’m doing it again) - either email me to get on the list or follow me on KetoNat on Facebook where I will post details.
Keto//OS When to Take:
The general rule of thumb I use is: any time of day you are looking for an increase in focus, energy and/or help with cravings or hunger.
Thank you as always for reading, for your comments and emails. Here are some useful links:
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