Should You Be Counting Calories?
I’m very old school when it comes to health and longevity and I say that monitoring total calories is very important.
While many people are focused on macros, many have a tendency to ignore overall calories. See my other article on The Truth About Counting Macros.
One of the first books I read on diet and nutrition was Fit for Life, originally written in 1985. In the book Fit for Life by Harvey Diamond and Marilyn Diamond, there is one page (187) that says repeatedly DO NOT OVEREAT. Below that they quote “Even the finest, most nutritious food available will spoil in your system if it is overeaten.”
Some side effects of overeating:
- Weight gain
- Bloating and water retention
- Inflammation throughout the body
- Joint pain and arthritis
- Acid reflux and other digestive issues
- Diarrhea and other bowel issues
- High insulin and glucose levels
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol and triglycerides
Many people will often overeat, experience any or all of these side effects, and go for over the counter medications or prescriptions to mask the issue. Instead of overeating and taking meds, I have a better option for you.
This is where I suggest the 80/20 rule. You will eat 500 calories under your maintenance calories (BMR) 6 days a week, and one day you will slightly overeat and have some of the foods you love them most. One meal a week have that donut, or pizza, or whatever floats your boat. The only principle here is that on your overeating day you can only go to 1000 calories over your BMR.
What is BMR?
BMR stands for Basil Metabolic Rate and is the total calories you can eat in day with no little or no activity and stay the same weight. Most people are going to fall to between 1500 and 3000 BMR calories per day.
Very sedative people have a lower BMR and need to get up and get moving, if capable, to raise there metabolism. Super active people and athletes will have much higher BMR, some can eat as much at 10,000 calories day and not gain weight while training for their sport, especially if they are a swimmer or runner.
Michale Phelps comes to mind here…in his Olympic training days his calorie consumption was 12,000+ per day. Most people will never have this option of consuming so many calories and not gaining weight.
Finding your BMR is pretty simple. Don’t over analyze this, and try not to get too scientific. Monitor your daily calories and weight for a week. If you're are gaining weight, you're eating too much. If your weight stays the same then log that down as your BMR. Keep in mind that your BMR can constantly change due to an increase in metabolism from exercise, specifically lifting weights and adding lean body mass (muscle).
Count calories and DO NOT OVEREAT :)
- Dale Buchanan