Calorie Counting

Here we go, I await the division!

Calorie counting has over the years, got a bit of a bad rep, understandable, as there is an awful lot of information, calculators and apps available – all promising the new great success in body transformation.

Let’s get real for a moment, most measuring tools can lead to negative behaviours. This could be the scales, how much we can lift, how fast we run a km and so on.

You see, the way in which tracking works, is by showing us how we can improve, naturally, we then look for a linear improvement and here is where things can get a little rough.

Let’s say we start deadlifting, and our lift goes up by 30kg from 70kg in the first 4 weeks, with some training, form guidance and getting used to the lift. This is awesome, and you would (and should) be proud.

So, following a linear path, by the end of the year we should be lifting north of 400 kg? Another 11 months, 30 kg added per month, quick maths 100 kg + 30 kg x 11 months is 430 kg!!!

An extreme example granted but I needed to get the point across.

When we look at calories, we tend to do a similar thing, I dropped X calories and in the first 4 weeks lost 6lbs, in the following 4 weeks I ‘only’ dropped 3lbs, so I must need to do something with my calories because, well because right?

Counting calories is a useful tool to help us better understand what’s going on in our daily eating habits, the most important part is that we use this information to make better choices and create and healthy relationship with food.

It always surprises me when clients ask about calories and I hear the number that they have been given by an app and think that is frankly very low!

We have a little chat, I convince them to raise it up, if you had a read of last weeks article 80% vs 100% is where this fits, we roll on a few weeks, and they are saying they look better, and the weight is going down.

Being honest here, I care less about the weight in KG (we still high five about the weight loss though!) and more that they are feeling better about how they look.

So let’s think about how to go about counting calories, most of all we should be using this to record the foods we currently eat against our daily energy needs.

Things to concentrate on:

  • The values of foods
    • Protein
    • Carbs
    • Fats
  • Portion sizes
    • This is where we find that people can (usually) still enjoy themselves with a volume adjustment
    • Learning how much 28/56g of cheese really is *winky emoji*
  • Accepting the learning curve
    • We should use the first few weeks to learn, some days we might go over our target, some days under
    • Do we need to eat a little more on training days
    • Should we cycle calories (high/low days or slightly lower mon-fri) to allow for some treats at the weekend
  • Look at how we can prioritise protein in our diets
    • It’s good for repair
    • Helps to keep you feeling satiated (fuller)

There are lots of mythologies about, this is not a one size fits all. Calorie counting should help us to reach our goals not create internal conflict or the dread of recording.

If you would like help with understanding how to calculate your daily intake/expenditure, contact one of the SF team on