These Infographics Show the Problems With Calorie Counting

Diet for weight loss; exercise for fitness.

You can meticulously count every single Jelly Bean or lick of peanut butter you’ve had, then calculate the number of calories you’ve burned to offset them. But this actually hurts your weight loss efforts (and sanity) more than it helps. Here’s why you shouldn’t rely on “calories in” and “calories out”.

Source: These Infographics Show the Problems With Calorie Counting

While many of these points are valid, I think a better way to summarize this is that many people misstate their calories when calorie counting and not as much that there are inherent problems with calorie counting. It takes discipline not only to eat better, but to track it all as well. If you start to take shortcuts on tracking or are being liberal with how big that scoop of peanut butter is that you counted as one serving, then you’re only doing it to yourself.

Calorie counting isn’t for everyone, but it can work for the right type of people.

Brilliant Dieting Software For People Who Are Too Lazy to Track Calories

If software is needlessly complex and tedious, almost no one is going to use it. This fundamental tenant of technology has been one of the biggest barriers for any kind of widespread embrace of calorie tracking. Researchers at MIT are looking to change things with a new voice-activated prototype for logging nutrition.

Source: Brilliant Dieting Software For People Who Are Too Lazy to Track Calories

Really neat, but the issue I run into often is home cooked recipes. Diet trackers work great for pre-packaged processed foods, or single source foods (like apple) but haven’t got a clue when you go to recipes, especially if it’s your own recipe.

“You Lose Weight in the Kitchen, You Gain Health in the Gym”

You can’t eat total crap and then bust your butt exercising to magically erase those calories: It’s not that simple. If you want to make longer lasting, healthier changes, what and how much you eat is far more important than how much you exercise.

Source: “You Lose Weight in the Kitchen, You Gain Health in the Gym”

I could not figure out what I was doing wrong until I started thinking about my eating habits. I confess – they were not they were not up to par.  Only then did I understand that a workout was ~20% of the fitness goal, and the rest was my diet.

Are Meal Replacement Shakes Actually Useful?

Let’s first clarify that meal replacement shakes are not to be confused with protein shakes, though the differences are nit-picky: a meal replacement shake typically has between 200-500 calories and tick off a bunch of nutritional checkmarks with added vitamins, minerals, fiber, and some protein.

Source: Are Meal Replacement Shakes Actually Useful?

Please be careful with shakes, powders, and the like. The regulation on the supplement industry is pretty much nonexistent. The best case scenario is that the company does not include the ingredient listed in its advertising, but there are numerous instances of customers sending out their powders for testing and finding harmful ingredients.

Why the Calorie is Broken

I’m kind of pissed at the scientific community for not coming up with something better.

Source: Why the calorie is broken

The problem with many weight loss attempts is that people ‘go on diets’ instead of ‘changing their diet’.  You have to change your diet for weight loss to be effective and stick.

Unsexy, Realistic Expectations for Healthy Weight Loss

Claims of products and programs that will allow you to lose a pound a day are rampant, often accompanied by the smug visage of Dr. Oz and seen in the magazine rack at your grocery store checkout, but in the above case it was actually feasible, because the man in question started at a weight of over 600 pounds, and he spent those 200 days in a tightly controlled “camp” environment where all his exercise and eating was carefully monitored, motivated, and measured.

But what about you?

Source: How Fast Should You Lose Weight?

I have a supporting article about how to approach weighing yourself.  And what to do when your weight loss stalls

You Don’t Need to Spend Hours in the Gym to Lose Weight

When it comes to weight loss, people often think that you need to spend countless hours in the gym, pounding away at the treadmill while you watch reruns of How I Met Your Mother. Not only do you not need much time in the gym, it might be optimal to spend it elsewhere. Here’s why.

Source: You Don’t Need to Spend Hours in the Gym to Lose Weight

But if it makes you happy, you can do it. The only exercise plan that’s right for you is the one you can stick to where you do something.

If you’re struggling with exercise, try to keep that in mind. If you despise your workout, then you need to find something else. Clinical studies aside, anything you’ll actually do consistently is going to be more effective than anything you don’t.

How to Determine the Number of Calories You Should Eat to Lose Weight

When you start a diet, determining how much to eat can feel a bit like playing calorie roulette. Many people turn to a calorie calculator, but they can greatly overestimate the amount of food that you need to lose weight. Here’s how to calculate your own target.

Source: How to Determine the Number of Calories You Should Eat to Lose Weight

What matters is what works for you to maintain a healthy body mass. If calorie counting doesn’t work for you, that’s fine. But for others it can, and does.  You can lose weight without calorie counting.  And you might want to consider altering recipes to get more protein out of your food.  You might be like me, sabotaging yourself with emotional eating (the Broccoli test, or mindfulness).

Your diet is already in progress?  Check this post if your weight loss stalls, or this one specifically for women.  There’s some good ways to deal with hunger while on your diet.  Finally, failing isn’t always failing – there are some benefits.

Create a Custom Weight Loss Meal Plan in Four Steps

Fat loss, dieting, getting shredded, leaning out, weight loss — whatever you want to call it, it’s all the same end-result. More muscle, less fat, better definition is what we all want.

One question I get all the time is “can you give me a meal plan for weight loss?” And to that, I always respond with a ‘no’ for two reasons:

  • It’s technically illegal for me to give someone a fully-detailed weight loss meal plan because I’m not a registered dietician.
  • It doesn’t actually teach you anything. (Like, why go through the trouble and frustration that can be this physique-building journey and not actually learn anything?)

Today we’re talking all about weight loss. Meal plans, just like any other time you need a plan, are pertinent to your success when it comes to losing fat, getting lean, and staying that way.

Source: How To Build Your Weight Loss Meal Plans And Make Losing Fat Easier On Yourself

The article is quite comprehensive – it’s not a quick read.

The whole conversation around weight loss and diet is nuanced, complicated, and not easily parsed. All you’ll get are personal testimonials and I’ve discovered that the only thing that’s worked for me is to figure out what worked for me.  But I keep compiling the various articles to glean what I can from them to improve.