The oldest method of dieting is counting calories. The procedure itself is very simple and is really hard to argue with. It’s a simple math equation that’s backed by the laws of thermodynamics. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case as this method disregards the context of the human body.
The Method of Counting Calories
1. Calculate or measure your Resting Metabolic Rate
Resting Metabolic Rate is the amount of calories you burn if you laid in bed without eating or moving.
*10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) + 5
*10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) – 161.
*Mifflin St Jeor equation
2. Add the calories required to support your daily activity
In this case, multiply your RMR by the activity level that applies.
Sedentary: (Factor 1.2) Little to no regular exercise.
Mild activity level: (Factor 1.375) Intensive exercise for at least 20 minutes 1 to 3 times per week or very active job.
Moderate activity level: (Factor 1.5) Intensive exercise for at least 30 to 60 minutes 3 to 4 times per week.
Heavy or labor-intensive activity level: (Factor 1.7) Intensive exercise for 60 minutes or greater 5 to 7 days per week.
Extreme level: (Factor 1.9) Exceedingly active. Professional athletics apply here.
3. Subtract 500 calories for 1 Pound of Fat Loss Per Week
3500 Calories = 1 Pound of Fat, 500 Calories a Day X 7 Days = 3500 calories
My Anecdotal Experience with Counting Calories
Being the anal retentive kid that I was, I fell in love with the science of weight loss. I was never overweight by any means, but when I realized how I could change the way people looked by their diet alone – I was hooked. I went on my first bulk and put on 20 pounds and added some “badges of honor” (stretch marks on my arms and legs) from the rapid growth. Admittedly, not all of it was good weight.
My addiction spread to the rest of my friends and I helped many of them change their physiques. I was amazed to see that their self esteem improved just as quickly as their bodies. Every chance to speak about this amazing aspect of the human body wasn’t taken for granted.
I continued my body transformations with my classmates in chiropractic school and couldn’t wait to change people’s health in clinic. After working with so many and having such a high success rate, my confidence was through the roof.
My very first patient that required some weight loss intervention was a middle aged female with some fertility issues. She was extremely interested in my approach and took comfort in my confidence. With little deviation from the diet she had tracked calories for 3 weeks. She came back with no change in weight. Stunned, I immediately assumed she had blown off the diet.
I checked her myfitnesspal to realize she had every day filled in completely. Earlier that week another patient came in with minimal results as well – that one suffering from some autoimmune issues. My whole world came crashing down – as extreme as it seems.
Who Should be Counting Calories Then?
Counting calories will work for the majority of healthy people. If you fall in this category, then proceed with the above method! Feel free to take a look at my macronutrient overview to dial things in further!
Who Should NOT start with counting calories?
Everyone is different and has different thresholds for “toxic load.” Imagine an 8oz glass being filled with water. Maybe you have a stressful job that is like a leaky faucet slowly filling the glass. Throughout the day you snack on the candies at your desk to help you get through the day. You head home and grab McDonald’s on the way for the family. Add 4 more ounces to your glass. It isn’t until this glass overflows that symptoms begin to rear their head. Some people have 16 ounce glasses and others even smaller – it’s completely genetic, but completely up to you to manage this balance. Yes, there are measures put in place to shovel the load out of the glass, but they can’t do their job on fast food and Pez.
Before people should start counting calories they need to follow these steps.
1. Fix the Faucet
Reducing your toxic load is the first step to weight loss. I’ll summarize this extensive topic quickly with the old adage of “thoughts, trauma, and toxins.” Changing how you think and interact with your environment can make drastic changes to your health.
Focus on creating hormonal stability and harmony. Whether you choose to do intermittent fasting (eating within an 8 hour window) or 6 frequent small meals, the contents of each meal should be with the purpose of stimulating low amounts of insulin.
- You must remove sugar from your diet at very least in the short term.
- Avoid high glycemic foods and eat plenty of good fats.
2. Fill in the Deficiencies
Dr. Terry Wahl’s recommendations, when it comes to covering your deficiencies, is a popular one. The amounts vary from situation to situation, but a great goal is to hit 1-2 cups of green veggies, 1-2 cups of colorful veggies, and 1-2 cups of sulfur rich veggies daily. Yes, daily. In autoimmune cases she will recommend 2-3 cups of each. Seeking out a natural healthcare professional can be very beneficial in dialing in your weak links.
3. Find a Practitioner
If you are still struggling with weight loss or other health related symptoms, then it may be time to seek out some more focused advice.
Another cutting edge factor that can affect weight loss is the gut microbiome. Find out how the bacteria in your stomach might be making you fat, here!
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