Why Calories, Macros, Healthy Eating, and Intuitive Eating ALL Matter

Oh my gosh – nutrition and diet info is everywhere!

Some experts only focus on calories for weight loss.

Others say all you have to do is eat healthy to lose weight.

And everyone has got a different opinion of what “healthy” is. For some people, it means limiting fast-food and red meat consumption.

For others, healthy eating means consuming only grass-fed beef, organic foods, and eliminating all sugar, dairy, and gluten from your diet along with “white foods” like rice and potatoes.

Eeek!

It’s really hard to keep up with all the advice. It seems like food is either good or bad, and rarely are there things in between.

If you know me, I advocate All The Food.

And that means donuts and chocolate bars on occasion.

After all, if healthy eating is all it takes to lose weight, then why is it most of my clients who come to me already eat healthily but struggle to lose weight?

The Calories In Versus Calories Out Debate

Clearly, there’s more to fat loss than healthy eating.

In fact, you can lose weight and still enjoy a Snickers bar every day.

This is because “calories in and calories out” is still the most important factor when it comes to achieving a healthy body composition.

It’s really that simple.

Certainly, there are situations where disease, hormonal imbalances, and food allergies can make it more difficult to lose weight, but these are much less common than many online health gurus would have you believe.

If someone says “calories in versus calories out is a myth” without qualifying that statement, treat it as a red flag. This illustrates a clear lack of respect for scientific evidence to the contrary. This kind of advice targets people who are are frustrated by their inability to lose weight but usually have no idea how many calories they’re consuming in a day. Many of these social media health gurus will promote things like Teatoxes and cleanses as a solution. Note: there are many done-for-you detox programs you can buy and sell online to make money which is one reason these are marketed so heavily on the Internet.

Most people have no idea how many calories they’re eating in a day, so they are led to believe they have some kind of abnormality.

Even overweight individuals that eat healthily tend to underestimate how much they consume. A classic study of overweight individuals who self-perceived as ‘diet resistant’, found they had overestimated their energy expenditure by as much as 250 calories a day, and (unknowingly) underreported food intake by 1052 calories a day.  From my book, The HCG Diet: Fact and Fiction

Why Calories, Macros, Healthy Eating, and Intuitive Eating ALL Matter

I tell my clients this:

  1. If you want to lose weight, focus on calories and portion sizes.
  2. If you want to be healthy, focus on the quality of food.
  3. If you want to transform your physique and achieve certain athletic goals, focus on macronutrients like protein.
  4. If you want to be more in tune with your body, practice mindful eating.

What you eat, and in what portions, and how you consume your food affects your health, wellness, and vitality. This is why we work on all of these habits together, just not at the same time (because that would be overwhelming).

Summary

Consider not only how much you eat but also what you eat and how you eat it.

The calories in versus calories out debate will continue as long as people focus on just one thing: calories versus healthy eating, versus macros, versus mindful or intuitive eating. It all matters, just some things should matter more, depending on your goals and where you think you can reap the most benefit.

What’s your number 1 goal right now? Fat loss? Health? Sports performance? Mindfulness and tuning into your body? Pick one and start there. You can always work on the other items as you go. And remember: it all matters.

Some final advice:

If you’re just not losing weight or feeling better despite tracking everything you eat and drink and practicing steps 1-4, then you should seek professional help from a physician. You may be one of those rare individuals with an actual underlying medical condition. Ultimately, that was my journey, and I had to increase my thyroid medication and start bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. These prescriptions were life-changing and continue to have a tremendous impact on my metabolism, wellness, and vitality (which makes it easier to lose weight and exercise). No amount of healthy eating would fix that.

References: Discrepancy between Self-Reported and Actual Caloric Intake and Exercise in Obese Subjects