Editorial: Counting Calories

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Counting calories is the key to successful weight loss.

Fruits and vegetables with calories labels

I am sure that you are often frustrated by your failed attempts to lose weight. You have tried just about all the weight loss techniques. Like many of you, I don’t really discuss my diet or calorie counting amongst my friends. I am often embarrassed about my failures and let’s face the fact that most of our friends are just no interested. The fact is that we often wonder why our slim friends are able to keep the weight loss and we continue to struggle.

Many people feel uncomfortable with calorie counting. I have to admit that I feel a little ‘weird’ about calorie counting. The fact is that even people of normal weight count calories. If you feel like you are doing something wrong, I can reassure you that you are not doing anything wrong and calorie counting is completely normal.

You may wonder how your friends can maintain a healthy or lean weight eating intuitively. The fact is that they cannot. There is no magic bullet for weight loss. Losing or maintaining a healthy weight is the same in nearly everyone. You must maintain a healthy number of calories and if you do not, you will gain weight. If you gain enough, you will gain weight around your waist and develop insulin resistance.

The key to weight maintenance is keeping your average calorie intake at the same level as your requirement. I am not saying that slim people do not splurge, but they do tend to drift back to their baseline. Exercise is not the answer, but exercise does help. Some folks have better genetics and faster metabolism but even those folks can eat their way into obesity.

You can lose weight without counting calories. The key is controlling portion sizes. You can do so with calorie counting or counting and limiting portions of each food. Embrace the skinny you and focus on eating healthy foods with healthy portion sizes and weight loss will come without effort. Choosing foods like fruits and vegetables, which are more filling per calorie than most processed snack foods, can lead to weight loss more often.

The bottom line: Calorie counting works. There is no magic bullet, but if you focus on portion sizes, count calories, and eat healthier foods, weight loss and maintenance will come easier. Not all calories are the same. You must choose calories wisely so that they promote satiety.

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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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