Is a Calorie REALLY Just a Calorie?

This whole “nutrition thing” can be a confusing, contradictory mess.

Depending on who you talk to, you could get a few different answers on how to approach eating:

  • “I’m Paleo, and only eat meat, veggies, fruit and nuts – boo grains!”
  • “Well I just eat based on my macros (Protein, Carbs, Fats) – Paleo is ridiculous!”
  • “Whatever fools – a calorie is a calorie. I can lose weight just eating less.”
  • “I’m in incredible shape and all I eat is pizza. Hell, I’m a freaking wizard!”

Whoever you talk with, you can get a pretty different picture of what it means to “eat healthy.” To make things more confusing, each of these perspectives are backed up with plenty of anecdotal evidence and scientific studies.

I wanted to cover our thoughts (and yes, my humble nerdy opinion) on this great nutrition debate, starting with the question: 

“Is a calorie really a calorie?”

What is a Calorie?

veggies

A calorie, by its simplest definition, is a unit of energy.

It’s equivalent to 4.184 absolute Joules (which is different from 1.21 Gigawatts).

If you really want to nerd out, here’s what that means: 1 food calorie equals 1 kilocalorie, which is the amount of energy needed to raise 1 gram of water from 15 to 16 °C.

So, in this sense, just like a pound is a pound and a kilogram is a kilogram, a calorie is a calorie.

But…that really doesn’t help us at all. What we’re really interested in is:

Do different types of calories affect our body differently?

  • Is 1000 calories of twinkies the same exact thing as 1000 calories of grass-fed steak and vegetables? This man lost weight on the Twinkie Diet!
  • Does your body process those foods differently, or is it as simple as “energy in, energy out?”
  • Does the type of food you eat affect your health outside of just weight loss (or muscle gain)?

These questions usually provoke a controversial and heated debate, because we say things like “a calorie isn’t a calorie” or “energy in is energy out” and we all mean different things.

Shockingly, on the internet this has generally devolved into a lot of name calling and angry debates between people who are 100% sure (and will link to any number of studies to prove) their method is the correct one.

But you know that the internet is for people to argue incessantly about anything and everything, so you’re instead here on Nerd Fitness because you’d like to learn something. Or maybe you just like my witty puns and clever jokes?

No? Okay!

So let’s dig into all of this stuff. To start, let’s establish some common ground.

Nutrition 101

McDonalds

Before we dig into the specifics of how calories work, let’s get one thing straight. No matter what your “nutrition philosophy,” how you eat will be responsible for 80-90% of your success or failure.

Long story short: the food you choose (and how much) matters.

As we say in the Rules of the NF Rebellion, you can’t outrun your fork. You could train five days a week, and with an awful diet, you won’t see any transformation in your body…which I’m guessing is a part of the reason you’re training to begin with!

Sure, you could certainly have improved cardiovascular health from running a lot, but if your goal is to transform like your boy Optimus Prime, how you fuel your body will play the starring role.

Exercise is the supporting cast.

When it comes to PURE weight loss (not factoring in muscle vs. fat, body composition, overall health, physical performance, or energy levels), eating fewer calories than you burn every day will be the chief part of the equation.

Eat less than you burn: lose weight.

However, we’re FAR more concerned with how you look, how you feel, if you are healthy, if you are getting stronger, if your doctor gives you a clean bill of health, and if you live a long life full of activity, exercise, and video games.  We want to do everything in our power to help you avoid things like heart disease and type-2 diabetes – diseases that end Game of Life too early.

So, as you’ll see below, we need to focus on the type you foods you eat along with how much you eat.

Ultimately, our goal is to turn you into a freaking superhero.

Let’s take a look at the first big part of the equation.

Are all calories created equal in weight loss?

Tri Plate

Let’s say you’re a typical American dude or dudette (do people use that term anymore? didn’t think so), and you eat anywhere between 3000 and 3500 calories per day of whatever the hell you want. And you want to lose some weight.

Or maybe you eat way more than that, or you have no clue how much you eat, but you know you need to lose some weight.

So you set a calorie goal of 2200 calories and you eat less. You don’t change WHAT you eat, you simply change the proportions of what you eat.

And look at that, you start to lose weight. You might be miserable due to severely restricting your body from the normal amount of calories it expects to eat, but it’s a step in that direction.

When we consume roughly 500 less calories per day on average, burn 500 extra calories per day through exercise, or some combination of the two, you will lose roughly 1 pound (.45 kg) of body mass per week.

As pointed out on Examine.com, “a net negative energy balance…is responsible for weight loss.”

Notice we said “weight loss” and not “fat loss.”

Unfortunately, this is where things become problematic – many people stop here and assume that you should simply start to eat less, case closed.

But here’s the thing: We aren’t robots… unless you are a robot, in which case I’d like to be your friend when we reach singularity.

We know that our bodies react differently to certain types of foods, as we cover quite extensively in our article on sugar. Certain foods fill us up more than others without being full of calories (oh hey, vegetables), while other foods are loaded with calories but don’t make us feel satiated at all (I see you soda, crackers, and candy!).

Most of us simply do a horrible job of turning off our emotions and desires when it comes to eating. If I told you to eat 2200 calories every day of Mountain Dew, Twinkies, Sour Patch Kids, and animal crackers, would you be able to stop at 2200 calories? It’s no surprise that people struggle with portion control and eating a certain amount when it comes to processed foods.

Remember, these foods are scientifically designed to get you to eat more without realizing itThey are designed to press every button in our brain that says “I NEED MORE OF THIS. GET IN MY BELLY.

It’s why using small plates is so effective at getting us to eat less (without changing anything else). It’s why this study at Cornell found that if they gave people a large tub or a medium tub of popcorn, and then gave them stale popcorn, the size of the tub mattered far more than the staleness of the popcorn in determining how much people ate!

We are not rational creatures.  Certain foods are calorie dense and nutrient light, making us feel like we are starving all day when we have already consumed our daily ‘allotment’ of calories.

Compare that to a diet of just vegetables and tons of meat, and the reverse can happen: we can feel satiated while still eating a caloric deficit, which makes it easier for us to consistently eat less than we burn daily, and thus lose weight.

In our opinion, this is like LEVEL 1 of Weight Loss. If you have a LOT of weight to lose, and aren’t aiming for anything in particular other than weight loss, eating less will get you well on your way down that path.

Unfortunately, the entire story is much more complicated. Are you looking to build or retain your muscle? Have a body composition you are proud of? Have solid energy throughout the day?

Would you rather look like Captain America than be skinny fat? Or look like Scarlett Johansson in the Avengers than be far too thin simply because you wanted to “lose weight”?

Different types of foods have different effects on your body – affecting your body composition and athletic performance.

Let’s go one level deeper…and hopefully stay out of limbo.

Calories, Macronutrients, Body Composition

Waffle

Okay, so we’ve officially graduated from level one: eat less and move more.

So, this is where the “if it fits your macros” (IIFYM) crew – which kind of sounds like a break-dance crew from the 80s – comes onto the scene, AKA Level 2. The IIFYM theory is that so long as your meals fit your macros (certain amounts of fats, carbs, and protein), you can eat whatever you want.

And, in our view, this is indeed more sophisticated than simply “eat less”: As long as we keep our total number of calories in line with our goals, and our foods are composed of the right macros, you will lose weight. Combine it with strength training, and you will build strength (and potentially muscle), while losing weight.

What does the perfect ratio look like? In our opinion, the amount of calories consumed and the ratio of what the macronutrients should differ from person to person…mostly depending upon their body, goals, and routine.

But no matter what you choose, people following IIFYM calculate the total number of calories, fats, proteins, and carbs in each meal, and then subtract them from their total daily allotment. As the day moves on, they try to make choices that fit what they have remaining. So, for example, if they are supposed to eat 25g more of carbs and no fats – they might opt for something like a banana. At the end of the day, this might feel a little bit like food tetris.

Now, if all of that seems like a lot of work to calculate and track all of our macros and calories throughout every day, we hear ya.  In fact, we’ve found that some people can take this stuff very seriously (and sometimes too far), spending a lot of time stressing out about going over their macro allotment and getting it to align perfectly.  We know people that actually bring a scale with them everywhere to weigh their meals!

But it’s clear that tons of people have found success with IIFYM – it helps get your body the right kind of nturients, and so many have found it effective in achieving body recomposition. IIFYM also goes by the name of “flexible dieting – this is because there is no forbidden foods and thus no “cheating” when you eat something that doesn’t align perfectly with your diet (we also hate the concept of “cheat meals”).

So, if it works, why isn’t IIFYM what Nerd Fitness recommends? 

Remember, our goal is multifaceted: 

  • Look and feel like a superhero.
  • No diets. We want life-long success stories, not 90 day crashes!
  • We want you to actually achieve your goals, not struggle, fail, and start over until the end of time.
  • We don’t want fitness and health to take over your life. Wherever possible, we want to avoid OCD/addiction behavior. Strong body, strong mind.

Yes, we realize that Level 1 is great for many people. We also realize that there are also TONS of people who live in the IIFYM crowd and it works for you.  That is AWESOME!

As we talk about in this article, as long as you are happy with how you look and you are getting a clean bill of health from your doctor, keep doing what you’re doing. It’s clearly working!

However, there is a reason that “Nerd Fitness Nutrition Philosophy” is a bit different than IIFYM. We think that this method actually works for the greatest number of people. Let’s take a look one final step further.

Eating for Health and Success

TriVeggies

Welcome to our preferred nutrition strategy at Nerd Fitness.

Although we know and understand that eating less calories will result in weight loss, and that eating the right ratio of macronutrients is an even bigger step in the right direction, we don’t love the time-intensive nature of calorie/macro counting (although we will often ask people to temporarily track calories or macros as an awareness exercise).

Further, IIFYM just wants you to hit your macro targets, regardless of what food items you consume. We believe that the actual foods that contain these macronutrients are an important part of the equation. Is getting 100g of carbs from a vegetable really EQUAL to getting 100 grams of candy? Of course not. A whole host of other factors make the vegetables a far superior option:

  • Consider the fact that candies and processed foods are engineered with the perfect bliss point to make you eat (and buy) more.
  • Or look at the differences in micro nutrients – there is no contest between the vegetable and the candy.
  • It’s not exactly rocket science, 200 calories of different foods can be incredibly different.
  • Finally, look at your energy levels. How do YOU feel after eating it?

Remember, we want to find a way of eating that you can stick to. A way of eating that makes you look and feel great. Something that keeps you out of the hospital and enjoying life at your fullest.

So, if we like the idea of eating less calories, but we don’t love the idea of counting calories and macros every day, how are we supposed to eat less? By focusing on the right KINDS of foods.

We put a focus on eating whole foods, rich full of macro and micro nutrients. The type of food that fill you up, without being jammed packed full of calories. The type of food that make you feel full, but not awful.

So, when we eat carbs, they’re coming from healthy sources, not cans of soda.

Instead of counting calories, try this instead: every meal needs to have 1-2 vegetables on the plate (or about half your plate), and a big protein source. Keep the grains and starches to a minimum, and mindfully eat until you’re satisfied. Add more vegetables and protein when hungry 🙂

Not losing weight over a few week period? Do some investigative work and track your calories for a few days to see how you’re doing, possibly including your macro intake. Use these few days to make a note of what proper portion sizes of each meal should look like, as well as how the total amount of food for the day feels. Strategies like intermittent fasting might be helpful in reducing the amount of calories you consume without even realizing it! Or, deploy some Jedi Mind tricks on yourself, like waiting 20 minutes before you get seconds so your body has a chance to feel full (longer list of Jedi Mind tricks here).

Here’s the bottom line: We all know that eating less and moving more is quite important to weight loss….and yet we are still more overweight than ever. Just “eat less” might not be the permanent solution we’re looking for, as it doesn’t factor in behavioral psychology and how we crazy humans operate day to day!

The Great Nutrition Debate

No Calorie Mayo

“But Steve! What about macros? You just said it works. And I know plenty of people who have counted calories and lost weight!”

So do I! My friend Leo has dropped a good amount of weight without doing any additional exercise, and has written about it in tons of nerdy detail here.  Now that he’s seen a big chunk of his success from counting calories, he’s slowly shifting his diet to adding in more vegetables and cutting back on some other stuff (while never giving up anything completely).

And there are plenty of people who have lost weight or built tons of muscle following the IIFYM ratio, dutifully tracking calories and macros day to day and eating what they want.

If those options sound awesome to you, AMAZING! Go for it! There are tons of sites out there that love counting calories, sites like Daily Plate to help you with it, and tons of sites that swear by IIFYM as well.

Here’s the thing…although people spend all day arguing about this stuff on the internet, it turns out when you look at what all these “different” nutrition philosophies advocate, everyone pretty much ends up on the same side of the fence for what the best practice is:

  • Eat real food.
  • Eat less processed junk.
  • Be smart when making nutrition decisions.
  • Nothing is 100% off limits unless control is truly an issue.

For example, let’s say you’re a 170 lb (77 kg) dude who is eating to reach your macro goals.  Under one traditional IIFYM formula, this guy needs to eat 215g of carbs, 170g of protein, and 60g of fat.

This is practically impossible if you’re eating twinkies! In fact – it’s almost impossible to achieve unless you’re eating whole foods, tons of protein sources, and vegetables with every meal. Hmmmm, sound familiar?

In many cases, the IIFYM advocate who is vehemently debating with a Paleo or “clean eaters” is actually eating the same foods at the end of the day.

All the while, these two sides are dutifully arguing with each other over which method is truly the best.  

What method is truly the best? The answer is the same as the answer to the question “What’s the best workout plan?” – the one that you’ll actually FOLLOW THROUGH WITH!

For some people, they eat 100% paleo and LOVE it. For others, it’s two weeks of misery before falling off the wagon and returning to old habits.

For some people, counting macros is either the easiest thing ever, or will create an eye twitch on their first day.

So, we don’t get caught up in the “perfect” debate. Perfection doesn’t exist. The perfect diet doesn’t exist; we only care what happens in reality, with real people, who have busy lives, bad habits, and need help.

What I care about is what diet or nutrition plan will result in the following for the greatest number of Rebels:

  • A strong, functional body.
  • A happy, confident person who doesn’t freak out about food.
  • A clean bill of health from the doctor.
  • Life long success!

I’ve been running this site for 6 years, have dealt with thousands upon thousands of unhealthy people who have found consistent success and happiness, and I plan on continuing that trend!

Eat Real Food

Veggie Dish

Welp, in typical Steve Kamb fashion, I managed to take “just eat real food” into a behemoth of an article.

Let’s keep it simple: Our bodies are complex pieces of machinery, and although a calorie might make a simple equation for weight loss, every other factor of “healthy” can be affected by the quality and nutritional makeup of that calorie.

For that reason, we want you to eat real foods, cut back on sugar, and think long term (habits) rather than in short bursts.

I’d love to hear your thoughts:

Have you had success with counting calories or calculating macros, or did it make you go crazy?

Did you go full Paleo and struggle before finding a balance?

Did going full Paleo help your addictive nature, or further fuel that fire?

We’re all still trying to figure this stuff out ourselves, and quality research on these issues is slowly advancing.

So, I’d love to hear from you below. Which methods have you messed around with, and what are your goals? We’d like to know if you’re trying to lose a few pounds, lose a lot of weight, get to a minimal body fat percentage, compete in an elite sport, etc.

-Steve

Today’s Rebel Hero: Anna L., rockin’ her Nerd Fitness hoodie on her honeymoon in Barbados. Congrats Anna!

Want to be the next Rebel Hero? Send us a photo of you rocking your Nerd Fitness battle gear to contact@nerdfitness.com 

Anna

###

photo source: Bill Grace: Three vegetables, David Goehring: Waffle, sharyn marrow: three dishes, meg: vegetable dish, amy_buthod: veggies, ray sawhill: dip, Harsha K R: McDonalds, Jeanette Goodrich: Scale

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  • Cara Stone

    You can think of it as fuel (which it is) and still love & enjoy it! That’s where I am – FINALLY!

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  • morgan

    starting to sound like a broken record steve

  • Benjamin

    We have one life
    only. We need to enjoy it at the same we need to take care of it.

    To have a balanced weight, I need to have a balanced diet. If I maintain
    balanced diet, I need to keep myself away from the great tastes of life. To
    me it would be a worthiest sacrifice depriving oneself from the pleasures of
    tasty foods.

    I want to have moderate viewpoint over this issue.

    One shouldn’t be so much obsessed with the junk fatty foods. Also one
    shouldn’t mind tasting these foods.

    You can talk to a doctor of Pro Lab Pharma-
    http://www.wellnessfitnessnutr… for your necessary solutions

  • MV

    About the laws of physics and calories: to put it in simple terms the
    laws of physics don’t tell you exactly why or how things work, they tell
    you the constraints under which they work. Here’s a simple explanation:

    http://www.fathead-movie.com/index.php/2014/11/03/toilet-humor-and-the-how-vs-why-of-getting-fat/

    and on Youtube you can watch a documentary called Why Are Thin People
    Not Fat in which college students eat twice as much calories as they
    need and some of them barely got any fatter and some of those who got
    fatter also easily lost the fat they gained afterwards when they
    returned to their normal calorie intake. So for some people getting fatter
    isn’t as simple as adding calories and for
    some people losing fat won’t be as simple as eating less calories and
    ignoring everything else.

    Paleo/Primal is a good template to follow. The Primal Blueprint is
    probably the best book on that diet. Follow the 80/20 rule and you can
    eat crap once in a while and it’s OK. And if you want to calculate calories
    & macros every day you can still do that while eating
    clean foods. Duh.

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  • Cob Khuraibet

    The junk food diet is rather vexing. I have a friend who is firmly of the belief that a calorie is a calorie and it doesn’t matter what you eat. The difference I see, though, is in lifestyle. Where you could possibly lose weight and maybe even be healthy on a diet of nothing but snack cakes, those are not the people I see in the gym, the dojo.

    I further posit that the sugar intake may give you the feeling of having enough energy, but if you were actually add in a workout program, you would likely not see the same kind of results as people who are actively mindful of what goes into their body. The habit of treating your body well is more important to me than simply being at an “acceptable” level of fitness.

    Speaking from personal experience, when I would eat a lot of junk food and eventually ran out of energy or otherwise crashed, I would feel tired and lethargic and honestly a little depressed at myself, blaming the diet for the feeling. Now, even when my calorie intake is significantly under what it should be, I feel the literal physical fatigue, but it doesn’t come with that sense of laziness or exhaustion. In fact, it’s rather the opposite. I still have the energy to burn off, but now lack the physical capacity to do so. It’s a much different feeling.

    Whether or not something like a junk food diet can help you lose weight, it can’t help you become stronger, it can’t help you run further, and it can’t help you learn to live a balanced life with a moderated approach to diet and exercise. That’s why I would say it matters what goes in and not just how much.

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  • http://www.soundcloud.com/dr-baralax Zed 13

    Counting calories helped me move back from “morbidly obese” to just “obese” on the BMI scale. I’ve recently started tracking my macronutrient intake on top of that and while my moods have become a bit unpredictable while my body adjusts to the reduced grain/potato carb intake, when I’m feeling good, I feel Awesome!

    Steve, your articles are like a breath of fresh air in a room full of farts. After a year of reading around different Empire-sponsored “fitness” advice, and coming to the personal conclusion its all cyclical nonsense, finding your site which proves and validates that has been inspiring.

  • Lauren

    What would you suggest for a vegan for protein as quinoa is a grain and beans are high in fat? Is there a low calorie/fat protein option?

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  • mango817

    I had a lot of success counting calories but in order to stay within my caloric goal i ended up choosing whole foods with a high water and fiber content and protein. I could eat junk foods but the consequences were that i would get a lot less food and be hungrier and i hate feeling hungry. Over time i started naturally picking healthier foods instead of calorie counting because i don’t need to really count if I’m eating vegetables which taps into the lazy part of me.
    In the end eating is like spending money. Each person has a natural allotment of cash each day they can spend without going into debt. Exercising is like working a minimum wage job for a little extra cash. If you’re thrifty you can buy way more things than if you only buy full price and if you spend more than you have you end up bankrupt (obese and probably unhealthy). Thats why i always go to the salad bar (the clearance section) lol

  • Mango817

    Lentils have no fat and about 1 gram of protein for 15 calories (the other calories come from carbs)

  • Naveen Singh

    Burn your calories and stay healthy with Careot app

    http://careot.net/calorie-counter-iphone-app.html

  • Vanessa

    I tried Paleo! Atkins, Ducan and nothing is long term. I’m on Full Plate Diet and loving it. I’m not hungry. I have a great app that counts calories n ratios. Finally, I can have the eclair, sweets in moderation. Fruits n veggies keep me full. Also, bought new plates that are much smaller.

  • Juan

    I don’t agree with some aspects of the carb discussion. A carb is a carb. Excluding fibers, if you eat 100g carbs from veggies vs 100g of carbs from candy, you are are eating 100g of carbs. They would both, theoretically ,have the same effect. There’s no such thing as good carb, bad carb from any source. A carb is a carb. It is very difficult to eat 100g of veggies vs 100g of candies. This is why you’ll lose so much more when you eat veggies, cause over the long term, you’ll be consuming much less carbs eating veggies than eating 100g of candy.

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  • grevyturty

    Horribly written by yet another childish millennial. Calories in vs calories out is the ONLY thing that matters in weight loss and weight gain, as evidenced by every empirical study (the author would not know what empiricism is) ever done.

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  • Glen Sorensen

    Love your article, well done, agree with 99.5%– spot on. I take issue with only a couple of small points. There is a “Perfect Day” diet. I’m on it. Lost 35 pounds in 60 days, 50 pounds in 90 days, 57 in 100, kept it off for 2 years, no exercise. Every member of the team is on it, and gets similar results (avg 27 pounds, 60 days. 92% kept it off for 2 years). If a team member loses 13 or even just 7 pounds in the first week, while targeting say 1250 calories with no exercise…get out your calculators….doesn’t seem possible, right? This blows away that stuffy theory of calories in vs, calories out… right out of the water! What is left is an even simpler reality, that SOME foods make you fat and SOME foods make you thin. The GOOD NEWS is the list of things that make you thin is pretty short, easy to remember, TASTES GREAT, MORE FILLING, and is quick and easy to prepare!. In addition to food, there are 6 other health factors that are critical to maximize your success in fat loss. Cheers!

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  • Elliot

    Hi Steve, I just wanted to tell you that the “there is no perfect diet” part of this article is one of the most freeing things I’ve read about nutrition. I exercise a lot and I used to eat paleo, AND completely carb free, and then on top of that tried to also be a vegetarian…so I really began obsessing over what I could and couldn’t put in my body. I’m no longer that strict but I sometimes feel like I’m settling for less than perfection. It’s really comforting to hear from someone like yourself (who is interested in being healthy, not just really really fit) that there really isn’t one best way to eat – thanks very much, I’ll remember this article!

  • Liz

    Four years ago, I tried paleo for seven months. I did lose weight but I felt like crap. I need lots of carbs. I then tried vegan. I have RA and cannot eat dairy, gluten, oats, soy, and all legumes as they are trigger foods so vegan didn’t work. Because it had been a few years since my paleo experience, I tried low carb. This time I gained weight in addition to feeling like crap. Now I eat a moderate diet. I aim for 30 grams of protein at every meal, a generous portion of pasta or whole grain, and a big ole pile of vegetables. I have done enough n=1 experiments with myself to know that I need the complex carbs to keep my depression in check and have enough energy to function. Fatigue goes with RA. I need all the ammo I can get! I am a chocolate lover and enjoy it in moderation. I have just recently started counting calories along with tracking how much I exercise. It was a shock to discover that my 25 mile bike rides burned over a thousand calories. Bonus! The entire process has motivated me to be more active. On the days I don’t ride, or swim, or lift weights, I try to at least take a walk to earn enough to eat 2,000 calories. I am slowly transforming my 47 year old body. I gained over 60 pounds when I quit smoking four years ago. My goal used to be to lose it all but now I only want to lose 40 pounds of fat and gain as much muscle as I can. Put another way, I want to go from my current size 14 back to my pre-weight gain size six. I don’t care what the scale says. Well, actually I hope it’s in the 150 range instead of the 135 it used to be because that will mean all the squats and deadlifts are paying off!

  • Nancy Miau

    Hello!!.. I think this post is not so new, but I still want to comment, since I like this site mostly because of the geeky tone and cos I consider myself a fitness enthusiast.

    For me it is easier and more relaxing to sorta count macros/calories, but only because I tend to undereat, those veggies don’t add up to much !

    I did try going paleo but being a vegetarian well, my options were more limited and honestly it sucked big time, I did love some guidelines like the real food, which is mostly what I eat, I added seeds and things like nuts and sprouts, but now and then I will have legumes, grains on spare occasions. Long story short, for me it wasn’t the ideal, but I took what worked for me and I kept it.

    For me some things are indeed off limits, like Doritos, mostly because they offer me nothing and I really don’t mind about them, I read some that you are against cheat meals, but for me they keep me on track, cos ,first of all, I make them quite healthy, if anything they tend to have a bit more oil than the usual, but well, it’s like having a small party weekly. hehe

    Anyway, this site is great, today was leg day and I may as well be a zombie now, so I send you greetings and wish you the best!!!

  • argentique

    FEWER! But seriously, very informative article.

  • Jayne Esther Jacobs

    I’m 23 and I’ve struggled with an eating disorder for nearly 8years. Every day of those eight years is consumed by numbers and rules about numbers of calories. I’m in recovery but still have those days when even going 100 over my “limit” can throw me into an obsessive panic and result in binging, purging, and restricting.

    It’s annoying because even if I’m trying not to count how many calories are in my oatmeal with nuts and a banana, I have a very difficult time not doing the quick, memorized sums in my head. From there, I start making the rules about how much I’m allowed to have for my next meal. I tell myself, “I need to be at 1300 after lunch.”

    Information like this (if it is,indeed, fact) could help countless people struggling with eating disorders whose lives are ruled by numbers. I love to run distance. It actually aids my recovery because in order to run well–and even enjoy running–I’m motivated to fuel my body with the nutrients it needs. I think many other people struggling with eating disorders feel the same. We really do want to feel better and feel healthy rather than sick, but the numbers are a huge obsession and an obstacle in recovery.

    If I’m able to turn my focus to nutrient quality rather than number of
    calories, I would be free from that nagging obsession. I would be able to eat intuitively and not sacrifice precious hours of my life thinking about and tracking numbers. I would be able to eat my favorite candy bar (Hershey’s with almonds) and not feel like that extra 210 calories are “bad,” and rather enjoy it as a treat.

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  • Danielle Green

    Hi, I just discovered this site and look forward to additional info in the future. After a pregnancy at age 40, I developed hypothyroidism and have carried an additional 40 pounds since. I had hoped that with the proper well-titrated meds, I’d naturally lose the weight, since I have never been overweight previously and generally have a healthy diet, although limited activity given the nature of my sedatary job. However, I then realized that while I didn’t gain the weight by overeating, I was going to have to diet to lose the weight….and this is where the battle began. I track calories – eating whatever I want and have an average of 1400 calories a day. I walk the dog for an hour a day. Over what has now become years, I have stabilized at the same weight, despite some limited times of being able to keep the calorie intake to 1200 and minimally increase exercise. I don’t eat red meat or particularly like junk food. I do eat a couple cookies or small cupcake almost every day. Otherwise, I have a healthy diet. Is it possible that something as seemingly minor as 300 calories going to cookies or a small cupcake could keep me from winning this battle? For some periods of time, I gave these up – resentfully, but had no progress, at least on the scale. Any thoughts are great appreciated!