In response to a couple questions recently asked of “The Healthy Omnivore” I would like to do a short series on the “Calorie In/Calorie Out” Myth.
The “thinking” goes something like this: All you have to do is eat less (caloric restriction), exercise more (caloric expenditure) and you WILL create a caloric deficit. And because of this, you will lose weight and be more healthy. Now, if YOU fail to lose weight, it means that YOU lack the will-power to
With this type of approach there are only two variables: 1. How much you consume, and 2. How much you expend. That is it!
No metabolic advantage. No metabolic disadvantage. No other variables to consider. Your weight loss is just one simple addition and subtraction problem. There are no “ifs,” “ands,” or “buts.” Just you eating less and burning more. Period!
As a health professional, I owe it to you to give you the truth! (and, unfortunately, I am finding that the “mainstream” media isn’t helping!)
And the truth is this… basing weight loss, let alone good health, on the “Calorie In/Calorie Out” Myth supposedly explained by the “Law of Thermodynamics” is just plain WRONG!
I mean, it is beyond wrong, it is IDIOTIC! And, it is DANGEROUS.
Hopefully, if you didn’t before, you now have a good idea where I stand on the “Calorie In/Calorie Out” Myth.
Here is an example of MOST conversations between trainers and their clients in gyms all across the United States:
TRAINER: “You didn’t lose any weight this week, how come?”
CLIENT: “I have no idea, I ate all the proper amounts of food and did all of the workouts that you asked of me.”
TRAINER: “That is impossible. If you ate what I told you to and you did all of the workouts, you would AT LEAST lose two pounds a week. You would have to because you would have created a caloric deficit of 7000 calories!”
CLIENT: “Well, is there any way that the human body doesn’t work that way?”
TRAINER: “No. It is a law. And the law is called the “Law of Thermodynamics.” You didn’t lose weight because you ate too much and you didn’t workout hard enough. It is as simple as that.”
CLIENT: “Okay. I will eat less this week, plus I will work out more. Thanks for the advice. I really appreciate your expertise.”
Expertise in “destroying your health” and “developing emotional and mental trauma”?
Let’s get this straight.
Trying to use the “Laws of Thermodynamics” to explain human biological functions is pure folly. Scientific laws only apply to laboratory situations where variables are controlled and systems are closed off from all other systems.
The human body is NOT a closed system and our lives DO NOT take place in laboratories. To put it simply, calories are units of heat, not measures of potency.
When it comes to attaining optimal health and weight loss, there are a number of variables that are just NOT the same from person to person.
Remember, we are not inanimate objects and we are not living in a closed system.
Here is a short list of examples of the variables that create challenges for the “calorie in/calorie out” myth:
First, we are each unique. You may have heard this called; biochemical individuality.
What is your ancestry? Are you from a cold climate or warm climate? How does your body handle starchy carbohydrates? How does your body handle fatty proteins? How do you do with the sun? Etc. Etc. Etc.
Secondly, physiologically, how have we handled our environment and time.
- Sleep (Are you allowing your body to recover?)
- Toxins (Tobacco, Alcohol, Sugar, Artificial Sweeteners)
- Food Sensitivities (Gluten, Soy, Dairy, etc.)
- Medications (Over The Counter, Prescription)
- Stress (Chronic and Acute)
- Quality of Health (Recent Illnesses, Immune System Health, Degenerative Disease, etc.)
- Hormonal Health (Insulin, Cortisol, Glucagon, Leptin, etc.)
- Age (Menopause, Andropause, Accelerated Aging)
- Past Caloric Restriction History (Dieting, Bulimia, Anorexia, etc.)
You starting to get the point?
Because of this: A Calorie is NOT a Calorie!
To put all of the onus on the individual of losing or gaining weight because of the “Law of Thermodynamics” just doesn’t hold up. Your health and fitness expert may think they sound smart by pushing the “calorie in/calorie out” hogwash on you, but to me, it is just a sign of ignorance and laziness.
This ignorance and laziness concerning the “calorie in/calorie out” myth has only gotten worse with all of the “weight loss” reality shows. TRUST ME.
It is an utter embarrassment that personal trainers are simplifying weight loss down to creating a caloric deficit by starving their clients and training them like animals!
What ever happened to Safe? Effective? Long Term? Sustainable? I don’t know either.
But as you can see, if the trainer’s client isn’t successful, the failure is all on the client for not complying. Not on the trainer for being open to a slowed metabolism or improper diet/workout routine. NICE.
So, there you have it, a couple more reasons whyt “The Healthy Omnivore” has some real issues/challenges with the “Calorie In/Calorie Out” Myth.
Thanks for reading the first post of three concerning attaining optimal health and proper weight loss vs. The “Calorie In/Calorie Out” Myth.
If you have any questions or comments on the “Law of Thermodynamics” and/or the “Calorie In/Calorie Out” Myth, I would love to read them.
Kevin McCauley (The Healthy Omnivore), is a Lifestyle and Wellness Coach that prioritizes attaining optimal health with real proactive health care. Kevin is the sole operator of the “THE GET HEALTHY CLUB” an online Health Care Solutions site that enables people to work with their own Nutritionist, Personal Trainer and Lifestyle Coach to attain their personal health and fitness goals. If you would like to Feel Great, Look Amazing and even Live Longer… look no further! The Healthy Omnivore has numerous affordable options for you to attain optimal health at the The Get Healthy Club.