Although we discovered earlier that not all calories are created equally, we should discuss calories in vs. calories out. Time and time again, studies have shown that eating fewer calories than you burn, called a caloric deficit, will cause you to lose weight (to an extent, more on that later). If you set your caloric goal to 2000 calories for the day and eat 2000 calories worth of Skittles, you will lose weight. Some guy even proved something similar by eating McDonald's. Having said that, I am confident in saying that if you were to consume 2000 calories rich in vegetables, fruits, proteins, and healthy fats, then you will not only feel better but your body will operate at a much higher level.
Also remember what we discussed earlier. Like calorie counters that estimate the number of calories you burn during a workout or throughout the day, counting every single calorie that goes into your body will only get you so far. Does this mean you shouldn't try?Absolutely not. In fact, I highly recommend everyone track their calories for a week or two every 6 months or so to remind them how to get themselves on track. It is generally quite an eye opener when people see just how many calories some foods and drinks have, not to mention the amount of sugar that is in many of the products that come from a grocery store.
There are a number of issues that come with calorie counting, however. Despite the fact that it can be brain-numbingly tedious to do, there really is a wide range of results that can be achieved based on one's accuracy or ineptitude. Guessing portion sizes or menu items at a restaurant would be on one end of the scale all the way up to weighing every single last morsel of food that goes into one's mouth. From one end to the other, you can quickly imagine how variable calorie counting could be for different individuals.
Not only that, but our earlier discussion on calories and how they interact in the body should elicit a further debate into what exactly is the most ideal way to consume. Sure, it is proven that calorie restriction is an effective way of losing weight, but one should never consider eating a diet high in preservatives and manufactured substances to come close to how healthy a diet rich in single ingredient products can be.
Tyler Robbins B.Sc. CSCS
Director of Fitness
Head of CrossFit