January 21, 2018

Are Calories Important when it comes to weight loss?

Its nearly the New Year and its that time when everyone becomes a Fitness Expert. Reality TV stars are flogging workout DVDs and diet plans and it basically makes it even more confusing for the general public that want to try and lose some weight.

One of the most talked about topics amongst my fitness friends this week has been Joe Wickes one of the most popular Fitness and Diet Gurus in the UK stating on twitter that he doesn’t believe in calorie counting.bodycoach

Before going on to talk about Joes post lets have a look at some of the most popular diets and why they “work” to some degree.

Paleo Diet – You eat only the foods our hunter gatherer ancestors ate, by doing this you exclude high calorie processed foods so you therefore eat less calories.

Intermittent Fasting – You eat only between a certain period of time often between 1pm-8pm so effectively you eat less calories.

Weightwatchers – Points values are allocated to foods based around their calories so if you do it right … you eat less calories.

Slimming World – syns and free foods based around low fat, low calories food so in general if SW works for you its because you are eating less calories. The caveat to this is if its not working for you its because bizarrely SW have free foods that include pasta and potatoes, someone with a good appetite or a bit of a carb monster can easily eat TOO MANY CALORIES this way.

Back to Joes social media post……

So the Body Coach doesn’t believe in Calorie Counting and this for me is a fundamental reason why people doing his program will experience mixed results.

I actually like a lot of what Joe does, I have all his books as you can never have too many meal ideas.

I like the fact that he promotes people eating real foods, quick and easy to make and not fearing fat.


Here is the problem, if you crunch the ingredients from some of his recipes into a calorie tracker a single serving has more calories in than an XL KFC meal, sure the nutrition will most likely be better in the Body Coach recipe but if you only need to consume say 1600 cals a day and you are mislead in to thinking you can have two “healthy meals” at 900 calories each plus a breakfast and snacks you could easily be over shooting your calories by 400-600 per day. Thats enough to gain 1lb a week!

“Calories count but they don’t need counting”

So whats my take on this? Well I think Calories count but don’t necessarily need counting. I work with the majority of my clients using their hand to measure out portion sizes based on different macro nutrients, Protein, Carbohydrates and Fat. This system works well enough for most people to keep their calories in check. Your hand is usually in relation to the size of your body and you have it every where you go so its a simple system to follow.

Of course if I was preparing someone for a photo shoot or fitness modelling competition (which isnt my scene) then I would probably need to track calories more accurately. If someone had hit a plateaux with their progress I may also look at logging calories more carefully but for most people just starting out gaining a good understanding of what bad habits have caused them to be in a place they don’t want to be and a basic understanding of how their plate should look with Proteins, Fats and Carbohydrates gives them some flexibility.


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