top of page
Ep. 05: Calories - Should You Count Them?

*This has not been edited for errors 


Hi, welcome to this week's episode of weight loss. This week I'll be talking with you about calories, but a hot topic in nutrition, weight loss and dieting world. I'll break down what a calorie is. And then I'm going to have a debate with myself about why you shouldn't have calories versus why you should count calories. I'll go over eating a food journal and some things that you need to make sure you stick around until the end because I'll be sharing the tip of the episode. If your team calorie counting, you'll want to hear my step by step instructions for starting a food journal. So don't miss it. Alright, let's get started.


Honestly, I feel like I need a disclaimer or something to go along with this topic. It's so contentious. And I say that I love feedback. But please don't send me hate mail about this topic. I've said it before. And I'll say it again, what works for some doesn't work for others and vice versa. Okay, well, I guess that was my disclaimer, let's get into what a calorie really is.


Essentially, it's a unit of energy. It is defined as the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one gramme of water by one degree Celsius, calories to provide energy. And we talked about calories in terms of our total energy expenditure. And this is three different categories. The first is calories burned through exercise and non exercise. calories burned through digestion, also called the perfect effect. Face the temperature of one gramme of water by one degree Celsius. calorie is in food provide energy in heat, and we talked about calories in terms of our total energy expenditure. And this is made up of three different categories. The first his calories burned through exercise and non exercise, calories burned through digestion, also called the thermic effect. And lastly, calories burned through basic function, breathing, circulation, etc.


So you might be wondering, well, what's my total energy expenditure? How many calories do I so there are lots of different ways in order to estimate how many calories that you need, there are what you would consider gold standard ways to estimate it. And those can be expensive, you know, there is the DL w method method, which stands for doubly labelled water labelled water there and hard to come by. And usually you have to, you know, be part of a programme or be going to a clinic and paying for those types of tests. The other free way that you can figure out how many calories you need is through some mathematical equations. So there are a couple of equations that have been tested through research to show that they are fairly accurate at estimating your caloric requirements. A couple of examples would be the Harris Benedict equation and your equation. All of these, estimate your resting metabolic rate, which is that basic function, part of the total energy expenditure so your resting metabolic rate?

is how many calories to just your basic body, your heart, breathing, etc, then your resting metabolic rate. Figure out what your total energy expenditure is. around calories is that calories alone do not indicate how nutritious a food is and the type of calorie you know it doesn't contain vitamins or minerals, protein fibre, or is it an empty calorie, an empty calorie would be something like you know drinking a regular can of pop. It doesn't really contain any nutritional value but it contains calories. It's important to remember that calories alone do not discern whether it is a nutritious choice.


This brings me into the concept of calories in versus calories out. This concept is I would say over you This is this concept doesn't matter, rather than number of calories is what is considered So just going back to what I said Previously is that salary doesn't indicate how the purchase. So the calories versus calories out concept desmin I take this into account and very overly simplified saying that calories consumed is more key than the nutritional value of the calories that you work. Consuming. The concept stems from the fact that one pound of fat In our bodies is equivalent to 3500 calories. So theoretically if you consume 500 calories less each day or you burn an extra 500 calories for a total deficit of 3500 calories. In a week that you would lose one pound Her week. So we do use this concept When we're talking about, you know, total energy expenditure How many calories Do you need so I'll go into that in more detail. As well it's just the face Sick, very simplified concept that one pound of fat is 3500 calories and so you need a deficit of 3500 calories. In a week, in order to lose one pound, this calories in versus calories out concept assumes that you know the calories in orange. So like a whole Let's say navel orange, are perceived to be the same as the calories consumed from a candy bar. So obviously this is very overly simplified because you're probably thinking well an orange and a cane. You are not equivalent. But this is you know the foundation of this calories in versus calories. Out concept and people do use calories and versus cow jury's out to lose weight. So It's just I want to give you some background so that you can kind of understand the basic of where this all comes from.


All right, so let's get in to our debate against me. And I was not at the a club or anything like that, sobear with me.I'm going to start off with Debate against calorie counting So why you should not count calories. So here we go. One equals 1x equals x calorie equals calorie. I think that you should not count calories because it doesn't matter. Before quality should Trump won calorie counting Let's not focus on Long Term household Are you You can lose weight easily. very simplified contracts. However, he has even brought Gain Deciding long term stainable habits, you are more likely to repeat Are we And the majority of people who lose weight regain that one Three years. You Really don't want this and it is not sustainable, which everybody knows that I love sustainability. Also, I would like to mention another reason to not count calories is that your body is not a math equation. It does not take into account your genetics, your weight loss history, your activity. So, we're not as simple as a math equation. And so we shouldn't treat our weight loss journey in that way either. Another point against calorie counting is that you can become obsessed with counting calories, and it can get you losing sight of what your real goals are. And it can create negative associations with food in terms of feeling like you have to weigh your food measure all your portions, it can become a little bit obsessive for some people. Plus, counting calories is lots of work and there's a pretty steep learning curve in order to figure out what you're doing. 


Now team for calorie counting reasons why I think you should count calories. calorie counting provides an amazing tool for agitation, and burning. You can learn so many things about yourself and your eating habits. From counting calories. You can learn about how many Learning, you can learn so many things about yourself and your eating habits. From counting calories. You can learn about them. Coffee tellers or prospects are a part of that protein Have you learned about portion sizes? How much Pasta Are you eating? cereal Are you pouring into that bowl Oh my gosh Are you eating five cups of watermelon One survey it really really provides you so much education on what you were eating and what you were doing on a day to day basis A lot of food consumption. And calorie counting really helps you to be more mindful of the choices you're making. Because you have to be terms of value of your food. calorie count of your food and how much you are eating. Another reason that you should count calories is a great foundation for moving forward in your weight loss or health journey. You learn about your body what you need as an individual and make adjustments as you go for a little bit of trial and error, but it really helps gives you some perspective on what you're doing. Another great reason for calorie counting is accountability. And we all know that accountability super important for sticking with your goals. calorie counting helps you keep you accountable to yourself. And if you're working with somebody else, they can also keep you accountable. Because they can use it as a tool while you're working together. Generally when we're calorie counting, we're keeping a journal. So some other benefits are that you're recording your week. We are very forgetful if I asked you to detail what you ate last Today, you probably would struggle to tell me, so if you've written it down, then you don't need to worry about it. Just Look it up and you can see how the portion of your week when you It also paints a great overall picture of what is working and what isn't working and where you can make adjustments. So that you can be more successful in the long term, calorie counting is not just about counting calories. It's about Giving yourself that picture. So That you can learn, be educated and be held accountable and be the most successful at the goal. You are setting for yourself.


All right. Who won the debate? It's hard to say. If judges are still out on that one I'm just going to go ahead and say that I'm really team in the middle between how Counting calorie counting. It's all I really do encourage quiet And to keep a journal Is there any way journal is the best way to practice endpapers, whatever works best for you. Do not follow the concept of calories in versus calories out. Because the quality truly does matter. A calorie does not equal account. Valerie, and I really get clients to look at more than just calories. is really our starting point. I want you to be looking at yourself. protein in your fibre And how many carbs are you eating and When are you eating it in your day? Yeah, what is is working best for you and how do we shift things so that you can be the most successful? So I really, really believe that it is a great learning tool. To help you along your journey, and obviously like if we're going to use a metaphor, we have a toolbox. So lots of different things that we use in order to achieve goals and it is just one thing that we do amongst many others in order to help you go Long your path must be to keep a journal forever. You don't need to count calories forever. It's not like once you start you can never ever stop. If you start and you don't like it, then you don't do it. If you start and you love it, great then you keep on doing it. So it's not like You have to keep on doing it. Once you start It's you're not really shackled to calorie counting. I'm really In the middle, I do encourage class to count calories and Using air quotes here, but if you don't want Do it then that's okay with me too.

All right, 
let's now move in To keep you up To journal and some things that you need To think about when you're making the decision About Whether or not you should count calories, whether or not you should keep a food journal. So it's really important to start off thinking to yourself, what works for you? What kind of person are you more Hold for example mean calories and output. If you The practice is positive and Wall Street It is something that you could think about including If you're finding it De motivating, like you stressing about weighing your to Azure Portions you cannot be Girl You know how much Whatever chicken and egg Rice you should eat You're just generally feeling I'm sad and frazzled Without it, then it's probably something If that's not going to be a benefit for You know, I really am big supporter of trying, it doesn't work, then we stopped doing it. So you're never going to know whether you're going to like it or what You're going to hate it until you've mentioned it. Yes we another thing to think about is calorie counting and keeping The food journal are really just one tool and of many different things to help you achieve your goals and I know a lot of is So it is important to also think about mindful eating. It's Also important and journaling out Beside the picture You've got A lot going on, you're probably not going to run Number one, you know what you did three days ago. And so It really helps you to To look back and be more mindful About your food choices because you have to write them down and think about it a little bit more before you put the food in your mouth at all. So BCP a little bit more mindful when you are making decisions about like you are going To eat, so I'm going to do a whole episode on mindful Because it's so, so important It's very You know, important to address mindful and mindless eating. And so stay tuned because I'm going to do a whole episode on that topic.


Okay, so this brings me into my tip of this week. If you are team do not Have calories and I swear to you in that crate today. Thank you for stopping See you can keep listening Because you know, maybe You're going to change your mind down the road and so You're going to need to know how to Do these steps my tip this week is how to start a food journal. And I would probably say that you know, when I work with clients, 90 or so percent of the people I work with do tend to keep a food journal So let's go through this step. And I've actually created a super helpful step by step. Guide for you that details care Pretty simple stuff that you need Do you know where you should get started, you believe that you shouldn't use excetera. And I need a little handy guide for you. So you can go and head on over to my rabbit, which you can find Laura slash podcast. And that's Laura Vermander graph calm slash podcast, Episode Five, go on over there after you're done listening and grab the guide, and it will walk you through all the steps in much more detail. So I'm just going to walk you through them now quickly. But I do encourage you to download the guide and use it to help you get yourself set up. As always, leave a message me and ask me any questions that you might have as you go along. You can message me on Instagram at Laura v dot weight loss coach. Okay, so let's go through the steps.


Step one, choose how you're going to journal and then stick to it. Is it an app? Is it a Google Doc? Is it pen and paper? What works for you. Step two, calculate out your daily calorie goal. I'm not going to go into detail because it's all detailed for you in my step by step guide, but I walk you through the steps in terms of entering your height and your weight and your information and how to figure it all out. So you can calculate out your daily calorie goal. If you are going to only do pen and paper, then you can skip this step, step and move on down to the next step. So step three is personalise your goals mouthwear. It is a little bit of trial and error. In the guide, I do have a basic, foundational way that I started off all my clients and then we can adjust. So essentially, it's personalising your calorie intake, the percentage of carbs that you want to eat protein and fat. Again, if you're doing pen and paper, you don't really need to do this step. So you can skip on down to step number four. For that a SMART goal you really didn't think I was going to go through do, we need to set a SMART goal around keeping the free journal to get you going, because as we talked about in the last episode, setting SMART goals is really important for you accountable, and on track of progression, progression, progressing through your Step five is the basics of what is called the handy worship method. Again, this is in the guide. There's like a little link and visual finger for you guys. Basically, you know, I don't believe that you need to weigh your food or you know, measure everything out unless you want to, you can just use your hands as a very basic way to estimate the portion sizes that you are eating. And the last step Step six, learn learn learn. Learn more about yourself. Learn more about your habits, learn more about your choices. Okay, so those are the six steps to get you started with a food journal. Please head on over to my show notes. Grab the guide and walk yourself through the steps in detail. You can grab it at Laura slash podcast, Click on episode five, Laura slash podcast, Episode Five. If you have any questions, please message me. And if you really don't want to keep a food journal, I do say try and give it a go. And if you don't like it, then you can get this week I talked all about calories, what a calorie is and the very simplistic concept of calories in calories out. I had a very riveting debate with myself about whether or not you should count calories that I went through the things that you need to consider for yourself when making your decision. And lastly, my tip this week, I walked you through the six steps to get you started with setting up your food journal. Go on over to my show notes. Grab my step by step guide for more details. All the links and information that you need.

Transcribed by

bottom of page