Calories in, are the food and drink which we consume, verses calories out, which are the energy levels we expend in the way of physical exercise and activity. It is said that if we create a calorie deficit of 500 calories per day our body would let go of just 1lb of fat per week. Personally, I think this is too simplistic for our complex bodies and quite a depressing thought, don’t you think?
Firstly this method involves counting food calories on a daily basis as well as counting the calories which we expend each day. Both can be a time consuming process and not entirely accurate. It is often said that all we need to do to lose weight is eat less and exercise more, but if it were that simple wouldn’t everyone be doing it?
The reason not everyone can achieve weight loss by following this simplified model is because it is quite simply, not that simple!
The reality is food choice can be a very confusing matter with the huge amount of conflicting information we are exposed to, but by knowing these few simple facts about food you can improve your chances of selecting the right foods and achieving success with fat loss without having to obsess over calorie counting.
Although foods may contain around the same amount of carbohydrates and calories, they do not contain the same kinds of carbohydrates and they do not necessarily have the same effect on blood sugar. The higher the GI rating the more it will raise blood sugar. An example of a high GI food is white bread and an example of low GI food is porridge.
An insulin surge sends a message to the body that plenty of energy is available and that it can stop burning fat and can start storing it. When too much blood sugar is taken out of the blood stream this can lead to tiredness and exaggerated hunger. The outcome is consumption of unnecessary amounts of food, usually in the form of a sugar and so the cycle begins again. The key here is to start consuming low GI foods most of the time to train your body to decrease its insulin response.
The thermic effect is very useful to remember when selecting what to include on your menu each day; its use can greatly contribute to fat loss success. Thermic effect is the amount of calories our body uses to digest, absorb and dispose of the food we consume. Different macro nutrients require different amounts of energy (calories) to digest and process. Fats have a thermic effect of around 3%, which means if you consumed 300 fat calories; only 9 calories would be spent in digestion and processing. Carbohydrate from fruit and vegetables have a thermic effect of around 20%, which means if you ate 300 calories of this, 60 calories would be spent to digest. But Protein is a clear winner in the thermic list, with a thermic effect of 30%, which means that for every 300 protein calories, it would take around 90 calories to digest. This is one of the main reasons why protein makes such a successful contribution to fat loss.
Metabolic Typing is a method that can be used for anyone to establish a way of eating to meet the body’s unique individual needs. It is based on the idea that there is no single, universal diet that is right for everyone. But rather each individual responds better to different types of macronutrients, the three types are Protein, Mixed and Carbohydrate type. It is based on a questionnaire that determines which of the three types is the best fit for you. It does not exclude any particular macro nutrient but it determines which type you are dominant in and provides a percentage breakdown of what types of foods you should be consuming. By eating the right food for your metabolic type this reduces the risk of over eating in the words of Paul Chek, “You can’t fill your car with diesel when it was designed for petrol and expect it to run at peak performance”. It takes time to get in tune with your body and know what it responds best to, but eating ‘mindfully’ leads to better results.
In addition to the above facts, the other key factors that lead to fat loss are;
When you eat – Do not skip breakfast, eat every four hours, and do not eat less than four hours before bedtime. Skipping breakfast and leaving large gaps in your meals leads to your body going into starvation mode slowing down your metabolism and eating too soon before sleeping means your body will not have had time to process and burn these calories which means these excess calories will simply store as fat.
Portion size – reduce your portion size and especially reduce the carbohydrate portion (ie: potatoes, rice, pasta and bread) particularly in the evening as well as reducing the obvious refined sugars such as cakes, biscuits and sweets.
Water consumption – German scientists have found the secret to shedding the pounds could be as simple as drinking more water. A study by Berlin’s Charite University found that people who drank the recommended two litres of water per day burnt off an average extra 150 calories per day; this is because water stimulated the sympathetic nerve system that regulates metabolism. The increased rate of metabolism is responsible for burning off the excess calories.
Finally other factors such as genetics, muscle mass, hormones, smoking, age and gender all impact the way we burn calories so rather than obsessing with the figures it is more useful to use the knowledge above to make more appropriate food choices. Combining all of these methods can take patience and perseverance and is a matter of personal trial and error but once mastered the effort is well worth it, as this leads to maintaining your weight free from calorie counting.
If you would like to know more about the above food facts and nutrition in general Mind Body Coaching provides support with weight loss in Harold Wood, Barking, Dagenham, Goodmayes, Ilford, Wanstead and surrounding areas.
If this sounds like something you could benefit from simply book your free consultation