The Calorie Conundrum: How Many?

counting calories

counting caloriesAnswering another good question from the FitAnswers Forum today. A Share It Fitness member asks how to figure out the right amount calories for weight loss.

The old industry standard is to calculate ‘calories in and calories out.’ We know better now. The body, and the process of weight gain and loss, is completely controlled by a very important (and complicated) set of hormones that regulate metabolism. How do you get these hormones to work WITH you and not against you? Eating clean and NOT eating a restricted-calorie diet is the only way to go.

This may be a shocker for many readers. In my nutrition coaching practice I help so many people finally get rid of annoying health issues and lose weight but I never, ever put clients on a set amount of calories per day.

Why do I do this when it goes against the grain of popular health and fitness practice? Because it’s not sustainable. How many healthy people do you know track their calorie intake everyday of their lives? No one does that, it’s crazy!

What do I recommend?  Take a look at the specific foods you are eating. Ask yourself:

  • Is this food natural and unprocessed?
  • Is it nutrient-rich?
  • Is it free of harmful chemicals, pesticides and hormones?
  • Are you getting a good mix of slow carbs (fruits, veggies and maybe grains), clean proteins and a mix of healthy fats?
  • Does it have less than five ingredients?
  • Have you experimented leaving out gluten and dairy?

If you are eating to fit the above criteria, you have a clean diet. A clean diet is all you need to pair with your fitness routine to reach your desired goals. Bonus: clean diets keep you healthy and disease-free for life.

Clean foods help your body do exactly what it needs to burn fat and build muscle. Eating diet products that are low in calories don’t do anything for your body. Stay away from “diet,” “low-fat” or “reduced calorie” foods and reach for fruits and veggies that are brightly colored, plant or animal proteins that are natural and free from additives, and healthy fats like avocados, eggs, olive oil, grass-fed butter or hemp seeds.

A clean diet with balanced macronutrients means your hormones will work together correctly to burn fat undisturbed by other chemicals that get your body out of sync.

Still like to follow the numbers? Try these numbers: The Glycemic Index.  This index rates foods 0-100 on how they impact blood sugar. It’s high blood sugar spikes that promote weight gain, inflammation and mood swings. Stick to natural foods that are in the low (below 40) and medium (40-60) categories and you will see weight loss. Avoid or rarely consume the high sugar foods.

What’s the next question you want to see answered here on the Share It Fitness blog? #askkelly below!

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