Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Addressing the Myth of Calorie-Counting for Weight Loss?

It so common for me to hear from clients that they know they need to count calories to be successful with weight loss.  Indeed - there is a loud drum beat for that "calories in/calories out" message where the assumption is that you have to burn more calories than you eat to lose weight.

That's been the dominant narrative in weight los for a long time.  It's taught in school, and in theory the math works.  But weight loss is so complicated that it's really inappropriate to distill the complexity down to a simple greater than/less than equation.  

A Weight-Loss Method That’s Hard to Sustain

For those who have followed this concept of “calories in, calories out,” has it been working? Many individuals I speak to have experienced hunger throughout the day and have low energy levels for daily activities. They find this eating method difficult to sustain for a long period of time and find themselves back into their old eating habits. Have you considered whether this eating method is the healthiest solution for you? Many individuals who follow this method are dissatisfied with the results. They tend to lose a majority of weight in lean muscle mass as opposed to fat loss. If that is the case, is counting calories an effective process for losing fat weight? Many share their frustrations of feeling tired and lethargic when focused on counting calories. They feel their health is jeopardized when the focus is on counting calories and exercising more.

Decisions.jpg

Focusing on Food Quality

So how does one achieve good health and be content with their body composition without counting calories? One way to have a positive health outcome is to focus on quality of foods and how those foods affect your body. Quality foods will restore the body’s hormones and enable the body’s metabolism to work efficiently. The body will have the ability to break down stored fat for energy, providing a stable body weight for the long haul. Selecting quality foods keeps us full and satisfied throughout the day, and provides the body with the nutrition required to maintain good health.

Quality foods contain fiber, healthy fats, protein, and low levels of sugar. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with nutrients and contain natural sugars, which are the best choice for healthy eating without having to consider calorie counting. Healthy fats and proteins are the best choice for feeling full and satisfied throughout the day. When consumed they keep blood sugar levels stable, providing a healthy result.

So, which side will you take? The “calories in, calories out” approach, which does not provide long-term healthy results, or provide your body with quality foods rich in nutrients that enable your body’s metabolism to work efficiently and restore your body to good health? You choose. 

Like what you just read? Click here to get more great content like this!

 

Topics: weight loss calories healthy eating food quality metabolism whole foods calorie counting

Weight Training for Women

Weight training for women has a common concern: engaging in resistance training may lead to “bulking up” or gaining significant amounts of muscle mass. But this is simply not the case. More likely, it will lead to weight loss.

Gender Affects Muscle MassThinkstockPhotos-116356254.jpg

First, I’d like to discuss the basic physiology of women that significantly debunks this concern. Imagine a healthy adult male specimen with an ideal amount of muscle mass. Compare that to a healthy adult female specimen. I’m sure most of you are imagining that the female is overall slightly smaller and has significantly less muscle mass than the male. What other differences are there between the two specimens? They have different reproductive systems. The male reproductive system, more specifically testosterone, is completely necessary for building significant amounts of muscle mass. Testosterone is an anabolic substance; without it, the human anatomy is dramatically less efficient at building muscle mass.

Testosterone Makes the Difference

Taking this into consideration, here’s another scenario. This time, instead of adult male and female specimens, imagine prepubescent male and female children engaging in an identical resistance training program. Theoretically, both children should have similar responses and gains from their training because neither is producing significant amounts of testosterone. Now imagine those same children of similar size and health entering puberty and continuing with their training. Along with the mood swings experienced with the influx of hormones, the male specimen brings testosterone into the equation. As these children continue with their identical resistance training programs, the male should begin building significantly more muscle mass and at a much faster rate, while the female experiences a response to the resistance training similar to the response she experienced prior to puberty.

Genetics Play a Role

I’m implying that if women engage in the same resistance program as men, it is very unlikely that they will experience the exact same response as men. That being said, I am also a firm believer in genetic individuality; certain individuals’ physiology may differ slightly compared to the usual. Although men typically produce more testosterone than women, women do still produce a lesser amount of testosterone from the ovaries and adrenal glands. It’s more than reasonable to assume that a certain percentage of the female population might produce higher than average amounts of testosterone. Although this is possible, it’s also certainly not the norm.

Increased Metabolism Enables Weight Loss

In either scenario, muscle mass requires energy in order to function, whether you are exercising or just moving around the house. Our bodies get this energy from calories, so an increase in muscle mass will lead to an increased rate at which we burn calories, or metabolic rate. Now with an increased metabolic rate, it becomes easier to lose weight!

It’s also important to keep in mind that muscle mass is a dense material and weighs substantially more than fat. Taking this into consideration, the scales won’t necessarily show the results at first. Stay patient and determined, because over time you will notice a physical difference.

Here are some more reasons women need strength training, and more thoughts on why the ultimate goal of weight training isn’t always bulking up, but can instead be a boost to women's health.

Subscribe to our blog

Topics: weight loss women's health weight training metabolism weightlifting muscle mass resistance