Put down that 75 calorie cereal bar right now! It’s time to rethink everything you thought you knew about counting calories.
Every day, people are restricting themselves to a measly amount of calories in an attempt to lose weight. Meticulously monitoring everything that passes your lips is not only unnecessary, but also incredibly unhealthy. No calories are created equal and limiting yourself to certain low-calorie foods can seriously deprive your body of essential nutrients.
Before you turn away that steak, let us enlighten you about counting calories, giving you some food for thought.
1) Calories are not equal
While it is true that a calorie represents the amount of energy that food or drink provides your body, it does not mean that all calories are created equally.
The idea that eating calories from processed foods will have the same effect on your body as nutrient-rich foods, just because they have the same amount of calories in them, is nearly just as ludicrous as stating that dogs and cats are the same because they both have 4 legs and a tail.
To demonstrate, 500 calories from a greasy pizza will not provide you with the same nutritional benefits as 500 calories from a full meal with protein, vegetables and a carbohydrate. You need to eat a balanced diet containing elements from all the food groups to satisfy your hunger cravings and nutritional requirements.
2) Encourages you to eat low-cal processed foods
When it’s time for a pre-gym snack, are you guilty of bypassing a jar of organic peanut butter in favour of a processed cereal bar due to the dramatic difference in calories?
While it is true, peanut butter does contain a large amount of calories, it also contains healthy fats and lots of protein, compared to a cereal bar that may only have 75 empty calories and no nutritional value. Opt for the peanut butter as a snack and you will avoid hunger for longer, as opposed to the cereal bar which will only temporarily suppress your hunger.
Counting calories encourages people to avoid rich healthy foods in favour of low-calorie processed options. While these cardboard substitutes may keep your calories down, they won’t fulfil your dietary needs and you will soon find yourself feeling weak, irritable and hungry. Above all, these feelings will lead you to crave fatty rich foods, which may trigger you to overeat, wreaking havoc with your diet.
3) Fewer calories consumed, fewer calories burned
Your hunter-gatherer anatomy isn’t stupid, when it stops receiving the right amount of energy, it prepares for hard times ahead by storing what energy it has left. Unfortunately for somebody on a low-calorie diet, that means that despite eating virtually nothing, you will also be losing next to nothing.
Ensure that you are eating the right amount of calories to fuel your body to avoid it going into shock mode and clinging on to the fat you have left.
4) Weak workouts
Think of your body like a car, you need to fill it with the right fuel in order to make it run. Under filling your car, or filling it with the wrong kind of fuel, will seriously damage the engine and stop your vehicle from working to its full potential.
Similarly, if you feed your body too few calories or feed it the wrong kind of calories, you will not have enough energy to complete daily tasks. It will seriously affect your concentration and short-term memory and you will definitely be too weak to hit the gym.
5) It is inconvenient
Despite the health risks, calorie counting is also incredibly hard to keep up as part of a normal lifestyle. In order to follow it correctly you will need to work out the exact calories in everything you consume, which means you will struggle if you are going out for a meal or eating something without a food label on. Chances are you will also constantly be thinking, and talking, about what you can and can’t eat, which will cause you to lose more friends than pounds.
Eating a varied and rich diet is one of the joys of life, food should be enjoyed rather than controlled. While counting calories can be useful when you are consuming unhealthy products such as alcohol and fizzy drinks, combining a varied diet with regular physical exercise should be all you need to maintain a healthy weight.
Following these guidelines but not seeing results? Why not mix up your routine by joining a new class. DW Fitness Clubs have a range of exciting classes guaranteed to kick start your fitness. Sign up for a membership today.