Health isn’t Qualitative it’s Quantitative. Why counting calories doesn’t solve it all
In a Roll Royce or a Lamborghini, we can put any kind of fuel in it and it will still technically work. However the type of fuel is what will determine if it actually is working properly. That’s exactly how our body is, we can eat whatever we want, and whatever amount of food we want to eat. However, until we decide to give our body the right type of food it will not work up to it’s full potential.
Calorie counting has it’s advocators and it’s critics. That’s because it can be tedious, annoying or time consuming to do. On the polar opposite, calorie counting to many physique athletes or even body builders is known to be the king among nutrition techniques. I’m here to tell you it is up to you. I’m here to say depending on your fitness, nutrition and health goals calorie counting is either necessary or unnecessary.
Let’s touch on a couple things first. Is calorie counting helpful ? Yes, it is. It can allow you to see holes in our ship. Is it hard ? Not entirely now a days with MyFitnessPal it has been made MUCH, MUCH easier. Is it tedious ? A slight bit yes. However, doing it for a couple weeks does have it’s benefits, it allows us to get an idea on how much we’re actually eating, and how much is in certain foods, which can later transition into intuition.
In health and fitness there is this concept called, law of thermodynamics, which is one of the most argued theories in the industry. In a nutshell it says if we burn more calories than we consume we will lose weight, and when we consume more calories than we burn than we gain weight. The question is, Is it the staple to weight, fat loss and muscle development? In theory yes. It is one of the biggest factors to weight loss and muscle development. It can be one of the biggest single reason we may not be losing the weight or be putting on the muscle. The problem is that it assumes everything is equal and there’s no other variables.
Unfortunately that is not entirely true because us, our mind, our physiological and biological makeup, and our environment all have an affect on our health. However, what I’m here to discuss is not whether it’s right or wrong. I’m here to explain that it should not be the only and absolute focus for an individual. Using the idea, you can basically eat oreo’s all day, eat less than your necessary calories and lose weight.
Twinkie Diet http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/11/08/twinkie.diet.professor/index.html
McDonalds Diet http://www.today.com/health/man-loses-56-pounds-after-eating-only-mcdonalds-six-months-2D79329158
But here’s the deal most people are not just looking to plainly lose weight or put on random muscle. Body composition and physique are very important part to all of us. Whether you’ll openly admit it or not, we want to look good. Anyone who is really skinny or overweight will say that they just want to lose or gain weight, but deep down it’s because they want to build a naturally better looking body. Yes we can lose weight or put on muscle eating whatever we like but that will not always get us the attractive body we want. On top of ALL of that, the calorie in calorie out argument will NOT be beneficial long term. That is where the calorie in calorie out advocators fall short. They promote to us that we can eat whatever we want, and just watch our calories. To a degree they are correct there really is much truth in their argument. However our body is way more complicated than that and we know it. We just haven't proved everything that is linked to our weight, and to what degree it’s linked. We have found many links though, just some people are a little more stubborn to recognize them or they are too stuck in their ways or old teachings to acknowledge them. There are many physiological, and biological factors in our body that can affect our health. It isn’t as simple as eat less/more, exercise less/more, our body has many moving parts, life has many moving parts, we just haven’t discovered all of them and we can’t fully explain all of them yet so not everyone has adopted them. We have emotions, moods, hormones; cortisol, ghrelin, leptin, insulin, blood sugar, thyroid, systemic inflammation, metabolism, gut micro biome, stress, mental capacity and faculties and many, many other things that either have an adverse affect or a positive affect on our body composition.
The age long debate, is that should calories be the prime focus, for weight loss and muscle gain. For the generic number gain or lose on the scale, yes, but for what you, me and what everyone really wants it for, No. For body composition, life long health, and long term results it can not and should not be the only focus. It is a big key but it should not be the primary and absolute focus. We all have busy lives, we want to be healthy, and live healthy. It is not top priority everyday, every week, for the rest of our lives to solely focus on counting calories. Not to mention if we eat whatever we like and we decide not to count calories and we slip up, them the weight gain comes right back and it is worse than before. That is where the yo-yo diets come in, that is why we see SO MANY people lose weight, just to put it back on and when they put it back on, it is horrible for their body and it is usually more weight than before.
I’m going to talk about 3 of the little more well known hormones, and how to manipulate them. Ghrelin and Leptin are the hunger and starvation hormones that play apart in weight. Insulin is the hormone our body uses for glucose and energy.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17212793 (The role of leptin and ghrelin in the regulation of food intake and body weight in humans: a review.)
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17693746 (Influence of ghrelin on food intake and energy homeostasis.)
http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/60/10/2441.full (Fatty Acids, Obesity, and Insulin Resistance: Time for a Reevaluation)
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC380258/ (Obesity and insulin resistance)
There is research pointing at them being a leading contributing factor in obesity but more studies need to be done to be 100% conclusive on all the minute details. Ghrelin is the hunger hormone, while leptin is the stop “hunger” hormone, which makes it a primary factor to our body composition and your metabolism. Our bodies innately do not want to change, and they work against change to keep homeostasis.
What does that mean for us?
Leptin the reason we either Stop eating or Keep eating
Leptin plays a big role in metabolism where it controls us and tells us when to stop eating. Leptin is made from adipose(fat) cells, so the more fat we have the more leptin we make. The less fat we have the less leptin we make. Conversely, for weight loss we want more leptin. This would make us assume that the fatter we are the more we should be able to lose weight. This is where we start to see that there are laws, and ways the body should work and are supposed to work but sometimes they don’t work as planned. Our body is very adaptive and it isn’t as black and white as it may seem. Just like there is insulin resistance and sensitivity where our body adapts to it’s environment it’s put in. There is leptin resistance, We eat food, our body fat increases, leptin increases, our mind recognizes the leptin and we begin to stop eating. Leptin resistance is where your brain stops recognizing the release of leptin, therefore you don’t stop eating.
Did you read that last sentence right there? Are you sure? Alright, so that helps to explain why many people eat, eat, eat, and it takes a lot to get “full”. That is why Leptin can cause us to over eat which will in turn cause us to gain weight. So if we’re trying to lose weight we want more leptin production and less ghrelin, inversely if we want to gain weight we want more ghrelin and less leptin. That’s where the yo-yo comes in for dieting and why it can become tricky because when we try to eat less and lose weight you become more hungry. That’s where the struggle comes mentally and physically to being able to withstand the struggle of wanting to eat when we shouldn’t. It is important to learn to manipulate it and eat the right things to get full without over eating. The ways to fix this are to mentally and physically control our brain, our body and our environment. It’s funny how usually we know the right things to do, or that they’re rather simple, we just don’t do them. When we are able to grab reins on our body and tell it when to eat and not to eat, that is one of the most powerful moments that can help us for the rest of our life.
Ways to Help take control of your hunger and your life
The next big factor is Insulin. The problem with insulin arises with insulin resistance. This is the major factor that is correlated with diabetes. When our body begins to use insulin inefficiently it causes sugar build up in the blood, instead of consumption for the use in our body. Resulting where we need more and more insulin for our body to actually use the sugar. That is when the sugar begins to be stored as fat instead of being used for the body. That is why even if we are eating under the amount of daily calories, or maintaining the amount of calories that would normally be equal to calories burned, we could still gain weight. Cause the extra glucose throughout the day will store in our body. That is why some people struggle with weight, because their metabolic pathways and hormones are all out of whack, so they need to be returned back to normal. Then if we are having both leptin, ghrelin, and insulin problems we not only eat more food in general, we begin store more, and it creates a vicious cycle.
One of the worst things about it, is that it is not usually recognized in someone’s body until it is too late. When it is too late, that is when people are forced to change and get healthy habits. That is why it is important to create the right habits now.
Solutions to help rewire insulin
After that you can progress back towards eating grains but I would still recommend staying away from the white colored ones, the only one that is usually recognized as alright is potatoes.
Remember, when you learn to take control of your health you learn to take control of your mind, your body, and ultimately your life.
Fit Mind, Fit Body, Fit Life
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