Don’t Count Calories; Count Your Blessings

Counting calories will a) drive you slowly insane and b) is based on HUNDRED year-old, dinosaur obsolete science. I KNOW we all came of age in the 80s/90s when we were taught to count every iota of food as a calorie and log it diligently in a Lisa Frank planner and hope to the good lord you came in at a deficit each day when you attempted to count how many calories you “burned” in a workout.

2018 is here. Beyonce is the only thing still relevant from the 90s, so get that calorie attitude OUT of your head, and welcome yourself to the liberating unexamined calorie life.

A Calorie, which is actually spelled with a capital ‘C’ because it’s a kilocalorie, is the amount of ENERGY (also can be known as heat) that it takes to raise one liter of water by one degree Celsius. We can measure the amount of kcals in food by putting in a special oven called a bomb calorimeter, essentially, blowing it up, and measure the ENERGY emitted. But guess what?! 1) Do food companies LIE or MISREPORT calorie info? You bet. Are they legally allowed to be +/- 20% off when reporting? YEP. See how this counting business is a fool’s errand?

Oh, and not only that – even if I told you that 1 ounce of almonds has PRECISELY 183 kcals – your body may not ABSORB all of them, for a variety of reasons ranging from prescription drugs to innate metabolism to hormonal involvement to the time of day to the presence of caffeine to just… no known reason. AND perhaps your sister / friend absorbs more or less kcals from that SAME portion of almonds. This is getting all sorts of absurd – wouldn’t it just be better to skip this nonsensical math?!

There’s also a silly foible that 3500 kcals = a pound. This is comparing two distinct units of measurement and makes zero sense. There is no ENERGY in a POUND of body weight, strictly speaking (though, yes, tissues can store energy, but that’s a not a discussion for this blog!). Kcals = energy. Pounds = measure body weight. No such thing as equating them.

AND kcals are not EQUAL in the body. You think your body metabolizes a handful of Sour Patch Kids in the same way as an apple, though both are roughly around 80 kcals? Heck to the no. You can be MALNOURISHED in so many ways and be intaking enough KCALS. Conversely, you can also lose body weight (though likely mostly muscle mass) by restricting kcals regardless of diet quality – though this is NOT healthy/sustainable.

I haven’t counted calories since the ‘90s, and neither should you. Let’s focus on eating REAL, mostly non-processed, delicious foods, moving our bodies to use that food as fuel, and only using the nutrition facts to make sure the INGREDIENTS, not the NUMBERS, are #essenceapproved.

Essentially Yours,

For more reading on this subject, click here.