3 Reasons Counting Calories is Ineffective for Weight Loss

When it comes to weight loss one of the first things people ask is “How many calories should I eat a day”? We’ve all been taught the old adage of ‘calories in, calories out’ which makes us think that there has to be a magic number of calories a day I need to eat for the weight to just come off. But the thing is we’re all unique! Our bodies are genetically different, our life experiences are different, and the way we respond to food is different which means we don’t fit into a black and white mathematical formula for weight loss. Here are a few more reasons why counting calories doesn’t help us lose weight or maintain weight loss.

1. Our hormones roll in our weight. Hormones are going to come up a lot when it comes to the way our body manages our weight. Some of the ways they can impact us are pretty well known with hypothyroidism being a major problem in the United States. Individuals with hypothyroidism have an underactive thyroid which can lead to unexpected weight gain. For more information on the thyroid, see our recent blog post here. Outside of our thyroid, there are other hormones that can affect weight gain:

  • Leptin is a hormone that is produced by our fat and tells our brain we’ve had enough to eat
  • Ghrelin is a hormone in our gut that is commonly called the “hunger hormone”, telling us when it’s time to eat
  • Cortisol is released during periods of stress

Imbalances of any of these hormones can lead us to misread our own bodies hunger cues and cause us to overeat.

2. Stress effects our metabolism. We live in a society where our lives are dedicated to getting ahead and being busy is a fact of life. When it comes to eating healthy and working out people regularly make excuses about being too busy. Unfortunately, all of the stress builds up in our bodies which can impact your weight loss goals. When we are experiencing high stress chronically our body is regularly producing cortisol to help manage it. One of the effects of cortisol is increased consumption of food. Not only that, but your insulin levels go up and your blood sugar levels go down which makes you crave foods that are fatty and sugary.

3. Lack of sleep impedes weight loss. I can’t stress the importance of sleep on regulating our weight enough. Consistently not getting enough sleep a night (7-8 hours for adults) causes a decrease in leptin, an increase in ghrelin, and compromises our insulin sensitivity. Additionally, it increases our fat deposition around our abdomen which is a known risk factor for many chronic diseases like heart disease.

What’s important to remember is weight loss and maintaining your weight loss are all a part of an overall healthy lifestyle that incorporates how we treat our mind and body. At CentreSpring MD each patient is seen as an individual and not a mathematical calculation. Our team can look at your lifestyle as a whole and help you with your weight goals without forcing you to count every calorie you consume.

Want to dive deeper?

Are you adhering to the above principles for best weight loss, but still not able to lose weight? There could be more serious underlying issues.

 With a unique diagnostic process, we guide you to your best self by connecting the dots of your health and history to shape a unique treatment plan because no two people are the same. We lead you in the implementation and monitor the results to optimize the plan according to your body’s needs.

 So what will you find as a patient at our office?

  • Longer appointments with your provider
  • Advanced technology and integrative lab testing
  • Conventional and holistic treatment options
  • Personalized treatment plans
  • Direct access to your provider 
  • A complete menu of traditional and holistic health and spa services

As you can see, at CentreSpring MD, we are committed to a new model of medicine with true patient centered, collaborative care – a safe place for your child to get the care they deserve.

Margot Witteveen, MS, RDN, LD, is a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) who joins CentreSpring MD after practicing in Atlanta since 2008. As an RDN, with a certificate of training in adult weight management, Margot counsels clients on weight loss, pre-diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, GI issues, wellness, and pre/postnatal nutrition.

Email appointments@centrespringmd.com to schedule a visit with Margot Wittenveen.

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Categories: Diet, Thyroid & Hormones