Sunday Q&A – Calories In = Calories Out. Or not.

Q: I’m so frustrated. I count calories everyday using an app and I think I’m pretty good at it. I saw a dietitian and she agrees. The problem is I keep gaining weight! I eat 1600 calories a day and I don’t understand how I can gain weight. What should I do?

A: It can be so frustrating to do all the things you’re supposed to do and still feel like you’re failing. The worst part is the negative self-talk you say to yourself because you’re not reaching your goal. Calories are complicated and our type-A personalities like order and logic so it makes sense that calories in = calories out. But truth is metabolism is WAY more complicated than that. A few things to consider

  • Have you dieted before? If so, you’re metabolism isn’t going to respond like someone who has never dieted. Take yourself now and yourself pre-dieting at the same weight. You now will use less calories to just exist than your pre-dieting self. Crazy right? This can change but in general, our metabolism adapts to stresses that threaten life and losing weight and food scarcity are some of those stresses.
  •  What kind of calories are you eating. Some people tend to crave more food if they eat more carbs/sugar. It’s just the way some of us are wired. If you eat sugars cereal for breakfast you’re stuck craving the next sugar fix all day…and always falling short. Sound familiar?
  • If you’re not eating whole foods most of the time, your calorie count could be off by 20% – read my post here: On a 1600 calorie diet, that 320 calories and could leave you with a 32 pound weight gain in a year if your body didn’t self-regular your hunger and metabolism…yikes!

There’s a great article a few dietitians did in Men’s Health you can read here about the topic:

So here’s the deal. You might not ever lose the weight. I’m not supposed to tell you that because the diet industry would crumble. But the truth is that many…most…people NEVER lose the weight and keep it off. Think of the biggest loser where people lose 100+ pounds in a controlled environment. A few years later most are back to where they started or much heavier than then they started. This is complex and this post is too long already, so I’ll chat about that more later.

So what can you do now? Think about the following:

  1. Why do you want to lose weight? Get really specific. Write out at least 3-5 reasons
  2. What can you do to make each of those 3-5 things happen? What can you do today, this week, this month and in the next 3-6 months?
  3. Who can help you?

To get started on these concepts, I created a booklet you can download for FREE here:

As always,  I’d love feedback. Let me know what you think about the booklet and this post. And let me know how I can improve my message to help you achieve complete wellness!

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