CALORIES IN VERSUS CALORIES OUT. A MODEL THAT FAILS YOU.

You’ve spent hours researching the right amount of calories to eat for your body type.

You’ve tirelessly tracked your meals eaten versus calories burned in apps and food logs.

You’ve said “no” to food when what your body was saying was “yes” more times than you can remember.

And now, you’re burning out.

Today’s post and videos introduce you to:

  • How the “calories in versus calories out” model fails you
  • Tips for how to make changes that impact your body’s signals

Looking for accountability partners in your health and wellness journey? Join the Soulful Creatives on Facebook for support.

THE FAILURE OF CALORIES IN VERSUS CALORIES OUT

People have been following the model of calories in versus calories out for a long time.

And the general belief is that in order to be healthy and to lose weight, you must always consume fewer calories than you burn or burn more calories than you consume.

We know that this model doesn’t always lead to health or optimum weight, however.

For instance, there are some folks who believe that you can eat whatever you want and still be healthy as long as you do not exceed your daily calorie intake.

So, 1200 calories of fruits, vegetables, and protein are viewed the same as 1200 calories of donuts.

Calorie-wise there is no difference. However, the way these foods perform in your body is very different and the risk of inflammation, weight gain, and disease is greater on a 1200-calorie donut diet.

So, you can see in this example how this model fails to accurately address health and weight concerns.

Today, I’d like to dive into other examples of how this model fails us.

Issue #1: The “calories in versus calories out” model fails to acknowledge the complex systems that work together in the body and puts all of the responsibility of health and weight on the number of calories consumed.

Our bodies function through a multitude of complex systems, which all feed into one another.

The food we eat influences our hormones and metabolism, which influences our sleep cycle, which influences our ability to heal and maintain a healthy weight.

Our sleep cycle also influences our hormones and metabolism, which turn influences our ability to heal and maintain a healthy weight.

How well we heal influences the level of energy we will have each day, which influences whether or not we can exercise effectively, make healthy food choices, and sleep well.

I could go on.

But the point is this. 

You could eat the exact right amount of and even the right type of calories each day, but if the other systems in your body are not functioning properly, you will struggle to maintain proper health and weight.

So instead of relying entirely on the “calories in versus calories out” model, it’s important to step back and view our health from a holistic perspective.

How are all of the systems operating together, and what steps should I take to impact System A versus System B, so that I reach optimum health?

Issue #2: The “calories in versus calories out” model disconnects you from your body and leads you to mistrust your body’s own signals, which makes you susceptible to burn out and influence from outside beliefs.

In other words, if your body is constantly sending the signal to eat, but you are constantly ignoring it or telling yourself “no”, you are shutting yourself off from your own signals.

If your body is constantly sending the signal to rest, but your constantly fueling up on caffeine, you are likewise shutting yourself off from your own signals.

And yes, not all of the signals you receive should be acted on.

Things like too little sleep, too many carbs, caffeine, changing hormones, even too much blue light can create a ton of mixed signals in your brain and body.

But if these things are in order in your life and you’re still ignoring your body’s signals, then you might be cutting yourself off from real wisdom and giving your power over to a belief that may not actually be serving you.

Instead, our focus should be on building trust with ourselves, with our body’s signals, and with the ancient wisdom in our body so that we are led by that instead of dogma, gurus, and marketed ideas.

Issue #3: The “calories in versus calories out” system can lead to obsession over calories consumed and feelings of shame and guilt when “too much” food is eaten.

This can lead to disordered eating or a failure to choose healthy habits consistently.

Instead, it’s important to recognize that our bodies vary in the amount of and type of calories needed and fluctuation in calories consumed is a normal, natural process.

Issue # 4: The “calories in versus calories out” system creates blindspots in health evaluations by health care providers.

When people struggle to lose weight, regain lost energy, or achieve other health and wellness goals, the number of calories consumed is assumed to be the culprit.

By focusing entirely on calories consumed versus burned, providers fail to consider what else might be impacting your weight and health and potentially leave the door open for undiagnosed or worsening disease.

So, is there a place for the “calories in versus calories out” model?

Yes!

In fact, at the beginning of your health journey and until you can confidently say your body’s signals are coming only from you and not outside influence, I actually encourage monitoring the number and type of calories you consume and burn.

But you should avoid an over-reliance on the calories in versus calories out model alone.

HOW TO MAKE CHANGES THAT IMPACT YOUR BODY’S SIGNALS

If you’re currently struggling to confidently trust your body’s signals, how can you make changes?

Think of it as a science experiment.

Ask yourself what are the variables that are influencing my health/my weight right now?

Start with what’s easiest for you.

Once you’ve identified all of the variables, start making change with what’s easiest for you.

And make changes to one variable at a time.

Monitor the impact of the changes you make.

And pay attention to how the changes influence your body’s signals as well as the other variables at play.

Leave room for error.

In any science experiment, there is always room for error. 

In fact, without providing for errors, most experiments would fail.

So leave room for error in your journey and remember to enjoy life.

Looking for accountability partners in your health and wellness journey? Join the Soulful Creatives on Facebook for support.

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