Have you ever tried counting calories only to give up in frustration because the process was too confusing? Today, I'll explain why you shouldn't bother to count calories. Instead of restricting calories, focus on burning more calories automatically by increasing your resting metabolic rate. You'll find out how to do that in just a second.
The Calorie Myth:
If you've ever been on a diet, you've probably been told that you need to count calories to lose weight. There's just one problem: calorie counting doesn't work. Accurately estimating the number of calories that you take in each day is virtually impossible, not to mention incredibly tedious and time consuming.
The good news? You don't need to do it! The truth is, if you're eating the right foods, the right way, there's absolutely no need to count calories. Your body knows how much food you need for optimum health. You see, not all calories are created equal. Let's take a 300-calorie doughnut -- actually, let's not! That doughnut might taste good, but it will just give you a quick sugar rush followed by an energy crash, leaving you hungrier, sooner.
Now let's look at a vegetable omelet with the same number of calories. It's delicious and leaves you pleasantly full, with a steady level of energy for hours. To that end, here is your UltraMetabolism tip of the day: Eat these foods -- and many others listed on page 279 -- and your body will naturally program itself to lose weight: - Beans - Whole grains (Grains are not SCD legal for those with digestive/bowel problems - you will get more nutrition and plenty of fiber from fruits, veggies, nuts & seeds) - Fresh (raw) fruits - Vegetables - Eggs - Nuts - Seeds - Fish
Here's why: All of the foods that I just listed have one thing in common: they either contain little sugar, a lot of fiber, or both (not to mention they are jam-packed with healthy nutrients). That means that they won't raise your blood sugar quickly. Instead, your body metabolizes, or burns, them very slowly.
Your blood sugar helps control your appetite. Raise it quickly -- by eating that doughnut, for instance -- and you'll be starving in no time, ready for another doughnut. But raise your blood sugar slowly -- with fish, eggs, vegetables, or other healthy foods -- and you'll stay full for hours. What's the lesson here? Different kinds of calories have very different effects on the way your body metabolizes food and on how much weight you gain.
Here's the solution: Don't worry about counting calories. Instead, you should concentrate on choosing healthy foods - foods that are packed with healthy nutrients and fiber. Eating real, whole foods that fill you up means you'll naturally take in fewer calories. But that's not whole story. Even with this lighter calorie load, if you don't do something to burn the calories you're eating, you'll still have trouble losing weight.
Wait a minute! In our last lesson, I warned you about the perils of too much exercise.
That doesn't mean you shouldn't get any exercise at all. Exercise is essential to keep your body healthy, especially your bones and heart. But exercise a lot and eat less, and you end up starving yourself, which triggers you to end up overeating in the end.
What's a happy medium? At least 30 minutes of exercise, 3 times a week. And there's an even better way to burn more calories with less exercise. Here's the shortcut: increase your resting metabolic rate. That means you'll be able to increase the number of calories you burn ALL DAY LONG, even when you're not exercising.
And that brings me to my next UltraMetabolism key: Turn Calories Into Energy, Increasing Your Metabolic Power
Think exercise is your only way to burn calories? Most people do. If a little exercise is good for weight loss, a lot of exercise must be better, right? Not necessarily. True, working out harder helps you burn more calories while you are exercising. But you don't just burn calories when you're at the gym. In fact reading, cooking, watching television, and even sleeping burns calories!
Wouldn't it be nice if you could increase the number of calories that you burn then, too? Well, you can. As I said earlier, you can do this by increasing your resting metabolic rate. This simple means how much in the way of calories you burn by just sitting around, not actively doing anything. We've got thousands of little energy factories in our bodies called mitochondria. If you can make your body make more of those, and make the ones you have more efficient, you'll become a calorie burning powerhouse yourself.
How do you do that? Well, remember the "wind sprints" your high school gym teacher used to make you do? You might have dreaded them, but they're actually an easy, effective way to burn more calories. It's called interval training -- short bursts of very intense exercise followed by longer periods of lighter exercise. On page 169, you'll find specific, easy-to-do interval training programs for both beginners and more advanced exercisers. Believe it or not, this simple technique alone can increase your fat-burning capacity-even while you are sitting on the couch! Do it regularly and you could lose weight up to 9 times faster than you would with regular exercise.
The concept is simple: exercise smarter, not harder. That's it for now.
To your good health,
Mark Hyman, M.D.
PS - Tomorrow I'll tell you why you should actually eat more fat, but only the right kind...
If you can't wait until then and want to grab your own copy of UltraMetabolism, simply click on the link below right now:
Kay’s Note: Following a balanced version of the SCD foods will reset your metabolism so counting calories is not necessary . . . in fact you will not feel like you are dieting at all . . . leaving you free to focus on good nutrition. People generally lose or gain weight naturally (depending on what their body needs to do) by following the SCD.