You may have heard "Energy in Vs Energy Out, but what exactly does that mean? Calories arent all that count but all calories count. Calories ultimately control our weight.
What does 'calories in vs calories out' mean?
'Calories in refers to food we are ingesting and the energy that it gives us, and 'calories out is the energy we are expending through numerous activities like breathing, sleeping, digestion, everyday movements, and of course through exercise. Its important to remember, you can eat all of the healthiest foods in the world, but if you consume more calories than your body needs, you will gain weight. If weight-loss is your goal, then a diet lower in calories per gram and high in protein that keeps you full longer is advised.
Simply put, if calories 'in are higher than 'out, you gain weight, and if calories 'in are lower than 'out, you lose weight. Simple is nice. Simple is good. But overly simple is dangerously inaccurate, so lets break this statement down with some examples.
The Twinkie Study
An example of this is "The Twinkie Study where Professor Mark Haub, a professor of Human Nutrition at Kansas State University, wanted to prove to his students that overall fat loss comes down to calorie intake, not specific diets, carbs, or fats. His experiment was to eat 1,800 calories a day for 10 weeks. He ate almost exclusively Twinkies, Doritos, Hostess cakes, Oreos, sugary cereals, nutty bars, and muffins. He restricted himself to 1800 calories per day. A man of his size would usually burn around 2600 calories per day. So what happened?
Get this - Even though he ate all this sugary junk, he still dropped 27 pounds in 10 weeks! Calories IN vs OUT control our weight. But here's the thing. There is a lot more to thriving at life than the number on the scales!
The Starvation Study
Let us look at another study conducted in Minnesota. 36 participants underwent a severe calorie deficit eating on an average of 1500 calories per day for 24 weeks. All of them lost weight and body fat.
Sounds great, right? Not exactly.
Here are some of the adverse things that happened:
- Severe emotional distress and depression
- Self-mutilation - a participant amputated 3 fingers on his hand with an axe. Wait, what?
- Sexual interest dramatically reduced, 90% of participants completely lost their sex drive
- Signs of social withdrawal
- Reduction in metabolic rate
So…it doesn't sound like these participants were happy, does it?
Youre probably thinking "Holy moly! Post-surgery I was struggling to eat 1000 calories this didn't happen to me. Well, these people were not all overweight to begin with, so their reactions to the low-calorie amounts are more severe, but the message holds true. Its not all about weight - Our health and mental well-being are hugely important. A calorie deficit is required to lose weight but it's not the only thing that matters. If you truly want to thrive in life,
- Nourish your body with nutritious food
- Eat enough to fuel your training and energy levels
- Enjoy the process
Determining your needs
Whether you are trying to bulk up or slim down, knowing the relationship between calories eaten and calories burned is crucial, but figuring it out can be a challenge. Your caloric needs change depending upon your level of activity, age, current weight, gender, medical conditions & treatments. You can get an approximation of your caloric needs using online calorie calculators. These tools might give you an idea of your caloric needs based on height, weight, age, and activity level.
Do calories "matter, and should you be counting them?
The energy density of food does matter, for sure, but what matters much more is what that food does in and to our bodies. Our bodies are complex and dynamic systems. For example, nuts are high in fat, and one might think people who consume nuts regularly are at a higher risk of becoming overweight. The reality is that regular nut consumers are not at higher risk of obesity because nuts are high in protein, which promotes a sensation of fullness; the high fiber content of most nuts has the same effect.
Fun fact: Did you know? In some nuts like almonds, peanuts, and walnuts, 20 - 25 percent of the fat calories are so tightly bound to the nut fiber that even after chewing, the calories stay locked to the fiber and pass all the way through the digestive tract without being used!
Listen to your body
You know how some days your 5-mile run feels like 10 miles? Thats because there are a ton of factors at play. From the day youre in your cycle, to the humidity in the air, and the sleep you got the night before. Start listening to what your body needs as opposed to what you think it should require. Some days youre simply hungrier than others, but ignoring that because you "only did yoga lessens your ability to know what your body actually wants. How easier life is without constantly doing the calorie in and calorie out the math. The amazing thing about our bodies is that they do a fantastic job of managing the math for us. We just have to listen.
Experience the best personal training at Point Cook
Stronglife has some of the best personal trainers in Point Cook. If youre looking at ways to lose weight or reach your fitness goals, we offer amazing fitness programs and expert advice on how to loose weight and stay healthy while doing so. New-starter or regular gym-goer, come and experience an instant feeling of belonging and the best fitness coaching in Australia.