Calorie Balance

- POSTED ON: Jun 16, 2017

During my lifetime, I’ve lost and regained a great deal of weight.  For the past 11+ years, I've maintained my body at or near my “normal” BMI range.

I’ve experimented with many different diets, lifestyles, ways-of-eating, and non-diets.  See ABOUT ME. 

After all these years, here’s the most important basic fact that I’ve learned about losing weight and keeping it off.

How to Lose weight:
Sustain a caloric DEFICIT.

How to Keep it off:
Sustain a caloric BALANCE.

Various diet “experts” exist who dispute this law of calorie balance.  I’ve spent a lot of time studying and experimenting with that issue, and it has become clear to me that manipulating micronutrients does NOT “open a rift in the space-time-insulin continuum to transport body fat into the fifth dimension”.

I find it helpful to deal with Reality.

There are lots of methods of dieting including low-calorie, low-fat, low-carb, high-fat,  ketogenic, intermittent fasting, whole foods, unprocessed foods, food exchanges, etc. etc. etc.

However, cutting calories is the basis for every effective weight-loss diet because the only way to lose actual fat is to consistently get one’s calorie intake lower than one’s calorie expenditure. So in actuality, the bottom line for weight-loss is the average daily calorie number.



There are essentially 3 issues involved in all Diets,

The main food issue is: AMOUNT; and two sub-issues are: KIND and FREQUENCY.

  •  AMOUNT -- of food eaten
  •  KIND – fundamental nature (micronutrients) of food eaten
  •  FREQUENCY of eating food

All Diets involving weight-loss or maintenance of weight-loss place restrictions on one or more of those three food issues.  The fundamental purpose of each of these restrictions is to reduce a dieter’s calorie intake. 

Some diets Directly restrict the food AMOUNT; while other diets Indirectly restrict the food Amount by restricting the KIND of food eaten, and/or the FREQUENCY of eating.  For additional information on this issue, see: The Essence of Diets

Every weight-loss diet requires that, … through some method, … attention be paid to how many calories one consumes, and how many one is burning.

ANY diet will lead to weight loss if one is in a caloric deficit, even one that is based on Twinkies, Doritos and Oreos, like Professor Mark Haub’s junk-food weight-loss experiment diet.

Some Diet Experts discount the importance of calorie restriction in order to get dieters to focus on their recommended way-of-eating. 

For example, Dr. Jason Fung, a proponent of Intermittent Fasting, refers to it as CRaP (Calorie Restriction as Primary).  While he doesn’t deny that a calorie deficit must exist for weight loss to occur, his claim is that calories aren’t the First and Most Important consideration. 

Calories are what matters for weight loss, but that doesn’t mean that all foods are equal, or that one shouldn’t pay attention to the specific foods eaten, because quality affects quantity. Low quality foods tend to be higher in calories and lower in nutrition.

There are “experts” everywhere who will tell you exactly What, and When, and How to eat. 

But food issues are very personal, and many of these involve a need for self-experimentation to find out which food restrictions will cause weight-loss without making one feel suicidal.

My personal choice is to track and record all my food intake in a computer journal which provides me with a calorie count. 

I have consistently done that every day for the past 12+ years, and I plan to continue with that practice. 

Calorie Counting gives me the Freedom to make my own individual food choices.

But with Freedom comes Responsibility, meaning that for ME, it requires consistent Food Tracking.  See: Freedom and Calorie Counting.   At the beginning, doing this can seem time-consuming and tedious, but for ME, it has now become a rather enjoyable habit. 

Accuracy or lack of accuracy is always an issue when counting calories, but I do my ultimate best to weigh, measure, and record consistently and accurately, and I am willing to trust that my personal best efforts are good enough.

While it is impossible for any calorie count to be totally accurate, it is possible

Consistent Effort,
and Honesty

…. to get calorie numbers that will provide successful weight-loss and maintenance. 

Research studies have shown, again and again, that the more regularly a dieter keeps a food log, the more weight the dieter loses.

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