Counting calories is nothing new. Many people wishing to lose weight try the method of calorie counting to achieve their goals. This can certainly be an effective tool for losing weight as well as weight loss maintenance. However, new science gives an interesting perspective on calorie counting.
Following the science of how we lose weight can help establish more effective and long-term weight loss plans. Those plans can also help us achieve our desired results and also to keep the weight off for life.
But what does the new science have to say about counting calories?
The New Science On Calorie Counting
New science suggests that the quality of calories is perhaps more important than the number of calories consumed. This can be good news when you are eating a minimal amount of calories but you are still hungry.
The idea is that consuming additional calories from whole and clean foods may yield better weight loss results than restrictive dining.
This means if you are on a 1500 calorie diet and you’re still hungry, eating an apple or some carrots with hummus won’t necessarily push you over the edge. You can still achieve your weight loss goals even if you eat more, as long as it is the right food.
What Are Quality Calories?
While simple math tells us that burning more calories than we consume cameras on a weight-loss. However, the fact is that not every calorie is created equal.
For example, a small bag of chips is about 300 calories. On the other hand, 300 calories can also equal one hard boiled egg and a handful of almonds.
Clearly, you are receiving better nutrients by choosing hard-boiled eggs and almonds versus the small bag of chips. This is where calorie quality comes into play.
Instead of primarily focusing on calorie count alone, perhaps a better approach is to focus on nutritional intake as a whole. Calories are only part of the equation when it comes to weight loss and maintenance. There are other macronutrients to consider, including proteins and carbohydrates.
One popular regimen that is embraced today is the program IIFYM. Otherwise known as if it fits your macros, this is another powerful tool that can help you achieve weight loss goals.
In the world of dieting, we are trained to believe that strict and specific diets are the only solution to drop pounds. While some diets choose to eat low carb, low fat, and low calorie, there is another approach that turns the stereotypical dieting stigma on its head — IIFYM. Otherwise known as If It Fits Your Macros, IIFYM is almost an anti-dieting option of eating whatever your heart desires, as long as it fits into your macros.
What Are Macros?
Macronutrients consist of three food groups: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Your ideal amount of macros depends on your individual goals and fitness levels. The easiest way to determine how many macros are needed to meet your goals is by using an online calculator. Depending on whether you want to lose weight, gain weight, or build muscle, you will need to consume a specific amount of macros per day to see results.
The IIFYM Balancing Act
Although you are technically allowed to eat any food under the sun with IIFM, the strategy is not about indulgence. IIFYM aims to promote a healthy balance of eating fresh foods and lean meats, while still allowing yourself the occasional treat or fast food meal. For those who are committed to a healthy life, it will eventually become evident that different types of food have different effects on the body.
For example, consuming a double cheeseburger at 26 grams of protein will hit your target protein intake for lunchtime. However, there is a chance you might feel tired and sluggish after eating it. If you consume chicken breast, broccoli and rice for the same 26 grams of protein, you will likely feel much better physically and mentally.
Regardless of which menu item you choose for lunch, as long as it fits your macros, it is fair game.
Benefits of IIFYM
Those who follow the IIFYM way of eating will enjoy balance and flexibility in their eating habits. Many dieters will throw their healthy eating attempts out the window if they slip and choose to eat a cookie. With IIFYM, eating a cookie is perfectly acceptable. However, it is important to keep track of your macros and choose healthier options for the remainder of the day. If that cookie takes up your entire carbohydrate allotment, be sure to eat foods low in carbs for the rest of the day to stay within your macros.
If the IIFYM strategy is followed correctly, it will help create awareness of nutrient intake.
Whether you choose to eat clean or chow down on forbidden foods, IIFYM can help you shed pounds, build muscle and help you find balance in your eating habits.
If your goal is to lose weight, another aspect to consider for weight loss is exercise. Exercise helps you become physically fit and even improve your mood.
When it comes to exercise for weight loss, choosing something that you enjoy is a major part of the battle. It is unrealistic to expect a client to run a 5K for weight loss, when that client does not enjoy running.
In fact, lack of enjoyment is one of the major reasons why people will give up on a fitness routine. Lack of time is another big hurdle for many.
If you are wondering what the options are for high calorie burning workouts, consider the following. Doing intense workouts can help you maximize calorie burn in a shorter amount of time.
- Running: many people have a love-hate relationship with running. However, it is one of the best exercises for burning an intense amount of calories in a short amount of time. Depending on your weight and fitness, you can burn anything between 500 to 800 cal per hour.
- Jumping rope: jumping rope isn’t just for school-age kids. It is an intense workout that can scorch calories. In fact, you can expect a burn up to 10 calories per minute jumping rope.
- Kickboxing with a heavy bag: Yet another calorie burning exercise is kickboxing with a heavy bag. You can burn between 400 to 600 cal per hour, depending on weight and fitness level. If these exercises seem like too much for you, rest assured that there are lower impact exercises that can pack a punch. For example, swimming is an excellent option for burning calories that is easy on the joints.
Meanwhile, even walking can help you burn calories when you want to lose weight. Taking a daily walk for 30 minutes to 1 hour can be very advantageous!
Don’t Forget About Strength Training
Did you know that strength training can help you burn calories while at rest? Incorporating strength training into your fitness routine is a great decision for people of all ages and fitness levels. Each pound of muscle burns roughly 6 calories per pound while at rest.
This means that the more muscle you have, the more extra calories you can burn while resting. Keep in mind that even while you have more muscle, you must continue to be active. Muscle mass is not a pass to being sedentary.
So, how do you build muscle in the first place for building calories at rest?
Building Muscle Begins With Commitment
When it comes to building muscle, there aren’t really any shortcuts. Be sure you are willing to commit to a lifting routine to get the results you’re after. If you are new to lifting weights, chances are you will find yourself lifting heavier week by week if you stay dedicated.
The trick to gaining muscle is lifting heavier weights at lower reps; you want the weight to be heavy enough to where you are completely exhausted by your last rep. If you get to the end of your reps and you feel like you can keep going, your weight isn’t heavy enough.
Proper form when lifting weights is absolutely crucial to avoiding injury. If you’re dedicated to losing fat and gaining muscle, take research on proper form very seriously. We must emphasize the importance of exercising in proper form, so be sure you are executing your lifts correctly when you start your program. Don’t be shy to ask for help if you aren’t sure; a personal trainer can help put you on the right path.
The trick to losing fat and gaining muscle is consistency, dedication, and diet. Staying on point with your diet while diligently hitting the gym is the best way to get long-lasting results. If you need professional help with counting calories in determining the right macronutrients for you, contact us now to get started.