Wednesday, 22 March 2017

30 Day Cowlean Challenge: Day Three: Are Calories Important?


Hi guys,

Weigh-in: 207.4 lbs
Calories: 3200 kcals (including 45 minutes of heavy lifting)

So far, so good. The number is decreasing nicely and I ate (as far as calories are concerned) a lot of food yesterday!

That’s why today’s post is about counting calories. For there to be a reliable relationship between calories and weight loss I would need to have burned at least 500 kcals during my gym session, which is unlikely. By picking up our trusty copy of The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living by Volek and Phinney (fair enough… it’s probably just me - C), we’ll see that on average, resistance training doesn’t help you to lose any more weight. What it does do, is improve the “quality” of the weight loss i.e. more of the weight you lose is fat, rather than muscle.

You might also mention water weight being the driving factor behind the weight loss, due to sweating in the gym. That’s a good point, but you must consider that I’d be drinking more water than I usually would intra-workout, and that the inflammation induced by exercise actually leads to higher water retention anyway.

Anecdotally, at one point in the past, I ate 1900 calories a day and lost weight slower than when I was eating 2400 calories! Not only that but when I was eating 2400 calories I had less fat to lose.

Counting calories is a useful tool for anyone wanting to put a roadblock in their habits. I’ve done it before on a couple of occasions and found it effective because it’s simple and you don’t feel restricted. Just hit your number each day. What’s good is that quite often you’ll get to the end of the day and actually need to eat more to hit your target. You get a good feel for what you’re putting in your mouth, because the journey doesn’t end there. You also have to go and log each item, and find out how many calories is in what. It’s an eye-opening experience.

But that’s where I see the importance of calorie counting ending. Use it for an introductory period, but when that’s over just eat healthy food and eat until you’re full. What you eat is vastly more important than how much you eat.

Is exercise important? Clearly. But food is more important, and as I said on day one, let your body reach it’s perfect health then the weight will take care of itself.

Until tomorrow,
Cowlean

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