Saylor Wellness


Calorie In - Calorie Out Myth

Every week I listen to women who are incredibly upset by not being able to lose weight, no matter how little they eat or how much they exercise. They are trying so hard to make the approach of counting “calories in, calories out” work for them. But when they don’t lose weight, their family, friends — and even healthcare practitioners — tell them they just need to try harder.

Here’s how one woman described her frustration with trying to lose weight before joining our Gr8Life Program:

"I'm trying so hard to lose this weight. I hired a personal trainer 6 months ago. I'm exercising hard and watching everything I eat. This is the most I have ever done to lose weight. I went to buy a new dress for a reunion and was so disappointed that I was the same size. Six months of real effort and no change.” - Michelle (more below)

I don’t believe any woman should have to make this effort to be disappointed as if her body betrayed her. If you know what it feels like to try and try to lose weight without success, I understand. I want you to know there could be very real, physical reasons you aren’t reaching your goals — reasons that do not directly relate to counting the number of “calories in, calories out”:

Your body could be blocking weight loss.

Food is information — and you may not be getting the messages you need.

I know you have the power to lose weight. But what I see every day is that change can only take place when women take part in weight loss programs that really pay attention to the variations in their bodies and the foods they eat. With our Gr8Life Program for Weight Loss Resistance, I hope all of you who have struggled with other dieting plans will be inspired to work with your body to achieve lasting results.

Your body could be blocking weight loss: is too stressed to lose weight

Many women today experience metabolic imbalances that block weight loss. A metabolic imbalance means there is an underlying issue in your body’s physiology that causes tissue (fat) to build more quickly than it can be used. This will happen no matter how closely you count your calories, and makes it extremely difficult for you to lose weight.

Often, women aren’t aware how metabolic imbalances in their adrenal, thyroid, sex hormone, or neurotransmitter pathways can prevent weight loss, even with proper diet and exercise. This common issue is known as weight loss resistance.

A good example of this is a single mom who works full shifts at a clothing store and chases two toddlers around the house. Even though she is constantly dieting and somehow managed to work out at the gym every day — she is gaining weight!

I realize the issue causing her weight loss resistance is an adrenal and hormone imbalance — and it wasn’t going to be resolved by upping her reps at the gym. Our adrenal glands are responsible for the release of the stress hormone cortisol, a critical survival mechanism. But for some women, stress leads the body to respond as though it’s in danger and it “holds on” to weight as a form of protection. More exercise can make the problem worse. She was working out too hard. This was true for Michelle who you met above.

If you have an adrenal imbalance, what your body needs is time to heal. In Michelle’s case, she agreed to make a few simple changes:

Reducing the intensity of her exercise to dial down the stress hormones circulating in her body.

Eating three balanced meals a day and two snacks to level out the spikes in her stress hormones.

Taking a combination of bioidentical hormones to relieve some of the stress burden her body was experiencing and her estrogen dominance.

Food is information — and you may not be getting the messages you need:

The very nature of the foods we eat, how we eat, and when we eat all add up and make a difference in how we metabolize our food — and whether we gain, lose, or stay the same weight.

For example, 200 calories of high-fructose corn syrup salad dressing sends very different information to your genes and metabolic pathways than 200 calories of extra-virgin olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Those differences are why many patients become so tired and frustrated — not to mention hungry. They often will persistently track calories on a spreadsheet without thinking about their food choices.

Like most of us short on time for cooking, in a typical day, they will grab a quick bowl of cereal for breakfast, heat up a frozen burrito for lunch, and sit down to her largest meal in the evening after work.

When I review weekly calorie totals, I see plenty of prepackaged low-fat foods and diet frozen meals — but few fresh, whole foods. And since different foods are digested, absorbed, stored, and burned very differently — Many of our food choices are just as important to our weight-loss efforts as the number of “calories in, calories out.”

Many of my patients question why they shouldn’t drink diet sodas. I ask them to name two people that they know who switched from regular soda to diet soda and lost weight. Since 1994 I have not had anyone name a single person. If calorie in - calorie out was the answer everyone who switches should lose weight. One soda a day exchanged for one diet soda should equal about 12 pounds of weight loss in a year. So much for the calorie in - calorie out myth. On the Gr8Life Program you will learn what really works to manage you weight.

In addition, there is new research highlighting the importance of the relationship between food and our genetic makeup — another crucial reason why what we eat is often just as important as how much we eat!

With the Gr8Life Plan you learn:

  • How to eat
  • What to eat
  • When to eat
  • How to eat to burn fat

I also constantly remind patients that our bodies adjust metabolically to the number of calories we eat. I often see that when women track calories too closely — on a spreadsheet, for example — they drastically reduce the number of calories they eat. Unfortunately, doing this can actually teach our bodies to burn fewer calories, because our bodies think they need to conserve energy.

We keep moving forward

As you can see, the notion of “calories in, calories out” is truly a myth — even though it gets so much attention from the medical weight loss experts, headlines and fitness gurus. That’s why it’s so important to me that you have information and support you need to make changes that will really work for you.

Remember what we heard from Michelle at the beginning of the article? Here’s what has happened recently, after making the simple dietary and lifestyle changes recommended in our Gr8Life Program:  727-938-9966

“Every week I see results in how I feel and how my clothes fit. The first week I lost 4 pounds and the second week I lost 3 1/2 pounds. My hair, skin, and nails are better and my thought processes are clearer. I joined the program initially to lose weight but found so much more. Balance your mind, body, and spirit — and the weight will take care of itself.”