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Calories and Weight Loss: The Truth You Need to Know

Updated: Jan 8

Have you ever heard that specific foods you eat dictate whether you gain or lose weight? Or that calories don't matter?

If you did, whoever shared the information either misled you or didn't know better.


Why some people succeed in losing weight on different diets, and others fail is not because of the diet or foods they are eating. It's because of the total energy (called calories) their body gets from their daily food and drink consumption.


There's a good chance you've heard this statement about calories before, too, and questioned if it was true. Many people doubt this seemingly simple notion because they've found it difficult to lose weight, even if they were recording their calories.


That's understandable because if 1 + 1 = 2, but every time you add 1 + 1, you appear to get a different number, you might begin to doubt if 1 + 1 does truly = 2.


Here's the challenge and the frustration I sympathize with:


The number we record are not correct even when a person records calories with as much accuracy as possible. The calorie numbers we enter in MyFitnessPal or on a sheet of paper are estimations. Your calorie target is an estimation. The numbers you write on paper or enter into an app will not be the actual calories you consume. They may be higher or lower. Furthermore, the target you're trying to achieve each day may not be what your body needs. It may be higher or lower.


What are your thoughts on this above piece of information? (Please comment below)


This could make you wonder what is the point of setting a calorie goal and tracking towards it each day.


Playing the thought out into action and not tracking, I believe, is a mistake, and here's why:


By and large, you consume the same foods each week. It might be a little different, but more or less the same. Recording the calories of your weekly diet gives you the estimated number of your energy intake. It may be an estimation, but that's ok.


With this knowledge, you can then pair your energy tracking with your daily weight, which can lead to one of three outcomes:

  1. If over the week, your weight has gone up, you can strongly assume you over-supplied your body with calories it needed and wanted.

  2. If your weight went down, you can strongly assume you undersupplied your body with calories it needed and wanted and made the gap up by breaking down fat (and perhaps muscle tissue).

  3. If your weight remained stable, you can strongly assume you supplied your body with the exact amount of calories it needed and wanted.

So, knowing the estimated number of calories you consumed and paired with the change in your weight, you can increase, decrease, or keep your energy consumption the exact same for the next week.


But, without this information, you are 100% guessing, possibly getting annoyed, and asking if your metabolism or hormones are the hidden reason for things not going the way you want or expect.


So, don't give up on calorie tracking just yet. While it may not be 100% accurate, it remains an essential practice in your weight loss journey.



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