The Great Calorie Debate

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Calories in Vs calories out as a model for weight loss, has been the go to standard and best practice for predicting weight loss ever since I have been alive, And no doubt your life too.

You, yourself have no doubt heard about it and have your own views, but in my experience it’s a two sided debate. You either believe it works or it doesn’t.

I believe it does work, and I recommended counting calories. But I like to think of it In a slightly different way. Calorie management.

Anybody can count a calorie, it’s the quality of the calories that make all the difference. Most people don’t even know what a calorie is. Have a guess? Not one single client has ever been able to tell me what a calorie is.

They just think it is this somewhat evil phenomenon that cause us to gain weight and it is an unknown thing.

What a calorie actually is a measurement.

Hear is the exact google search definition (Thanks google!)



Noun: calorie; plural noun: calories

  1. either of two units of heat energy:
    • The energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water through 1 °C (now usually defined as 4.1868 joules).

Noun: small calorie; plural noun: small calories; noun: call

    • The energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water through 1 °C, equal to one thousand small calories and often used to measure the energy value of foods.

noun: large calorie; plural noun: large calories; noun: Cal

So what does this mean for weight loss?

The body creates energy in the body by anaerobic and aerobic metabolism. Anaerobic mean without oxygen and aerobic means with oxygen.

The body uses both energy systems at different times for different jobs. The primary choice of fuel is carbohydrates and fat from food and fat from fat stores.

The theory of the calories in vs calories out model means that for any given day our bodies have a minimum required to stay alive and healthy. Then on top of that depending on how active we are our age and gender we need extra energy for daily tasks like working or exercise for example. You may have heard of the Harris–Benedict Equation? This is a method of determining calories in vs calories out and Basal Metabolic Rate

Which is a good theoretical indicator of our daily calorie needs. This is why I like and recommend your weight loss program needs to have calories managed in this way. And of course with out you having to get the pen and paper out to figure all this out. We do this for you inside our 8 Week Challenge in case you didn’t know.

If we know the baseline of our calorie intake we can then reasonably predict our future weight.

The problem is people do not know from day to day and week to week what there calorie intake is. Therefore when they try to lose weight with out having a baseline diet in place it’s setting you up for failure.

The MOST popular and successful weight loss programs of all time, weight watchers and Jenny Craig for example all count calories. Weight watchers call it points. Jenny craig they just put you on a meal plan which requires you buy their food. Lite and easy here in Australia is the exact same.

Why do you think this is the case.

Because it works.

Now,  I agree that some people will never have to count a calorie ever, whereas for others they absolutely need a system to do that.

All diets work. At specific times for different people. There is no size fits all solution. The reasons they all work is the fact that overall you end up eating less calories in the long-term.

And of course reducing calorie intake is the go to standard for weight loss. It’s been studied and proven time and time again.

The Minnesota Starvation Study is a prime example, And it isn’t very well know so i’ll give you a quick run down. Ancel Keys conducted an experiment to study the effects of starvation on human beings during world war 2. An experiment that would never be repeated again as it was. What they discovered was remarkable, the starvation response people exhibit behavior changes.

And they did this all by counting calories.

The main reason calorie counting doesn’t work is because people do not want to believe it does. Because it requires them to do the work and figure out what there calorie needs are and how much they need to burn fat.

The act of counting calories in my view is to educate you and get you to take responsibility for your food intake and results. Especially if you have been on many diets before and never kept the weight off. Going through the Yo Yo Diet Cycle over and over again. There is no possible way for you to know what your putting into your body.

So how can you get started with calorie management? Well the easiest way is to try my calorie management program we use inside the 8 Week Challenge. It take all the guess work out and makes the whole process super easy.

The hardest thing for most people is the actual process of figuring out your calorie intake, basal metabolic rate etc. Then going out and having to create recipes that fit your calorie budget.

What most people do is create a calorie deficit by exercising only. The thought process is here “just working it off” yet this isn’t a sustainable approach because fundamentally things do not change. You need to alter your food habits which is a whole other challenge. Most people are praying for that miracle cure, however it doesn’t exist.

Now, I do not count calories personally.

I feel like I am more in tune with my body and i know roughly what i am eating each time I eat. What do I mean, well when I eat something I am aware of it. I’m not eating mindlessly and paying no attention. Quite often i will stop myself or i will put off indulging in something because i already have indulged that day as an example.

In other words I am becoming self directed and monitoring my behavior in real time, making adjustments as I go along through out the day.

And this is what I encourage my clients to do, Monitor their own eating habits and make adjustments as the go. Paying close attention to how they feel after each meal and the following hours. Do you get bloated, feel tired or are you feeling amazing and full of energy?

However when I meet a client who has struggled their whole life with their weight the first thing we do is start monitoring the food they eat. Count calories and put together an eating plan that will become there baseline diet. When we have a healthy baseline diet to work from. Then we can accurately predict the future weight loss.

One Succesful Client in particular who did this lost 40 kgs in 9 months. How ever for the first 6 weeks not much happened. Yet once we got that baseline established the weight just fell off week after week. almost like clock work. All because calories where counted and the plan was stuck too. I go into it more in this video How To Lose Weight Slowly And Predictably 

So to sum up, calorie counting in my opinion gives the best prediction of weight loss especially if you seem to always be in this up and down weight loss yo yo cycle. Once we get a handle on the calories vs calories out model we can then be more flexible and intuitive with food being more self directed.

If you need some help with recipes I highly recommend you check out my clean recipes ebook as it identifies the calories in each recipe giving you more of an idea of what you are eating meal to meal. you can find out more below.

Find It Hard To Get Clean Eating Recipes?

If you are stuck for recipe ideas our Clean Recipes ebook has many gluten free options for recipes and meals to suit many different tastes, check out the link below for more. Each recipe show the calorie content and how many grams of fat, protein and carbohydrates is contained in each recipe so you’ll know exactly what fits your dietary needs.

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