4 Reasons Why Counting Calories Doesn’t Work


We have all heard the calories in calories out mantra.  All you have to do is burn more calories than you take in. However; what if this is only one part of the weight loss equation?

Have you ever had a friend that could eat anything and not gain a pound, while you look at a slice of cake and gain 10  pounds?

In this article, I’m going to explain why the typical mantra of counting calories is only one part of the equation and is not the ONLY cause of weight loss.

Your body is a complicated biochemical machine, and to limit your body to a wood and furnace concept, is an outdated way of thinking.






Reason #1 Not Sustainable


When counting calories, you are thinking mostly about well, the calories. You’re not thinking about the nutrients that the calories contain, or how sustainable your diet is for the next 20 years. You’re merely thinking about reducing calories so that you can lose weight.

Reducing calories may work in the short run, but is NOT sustainable. An article posted by the New York Times shows how the contestants on the famous TV Show The Biggest Loser gained all of their weight back after dieting on the show.

Does this mean you are deemed to a life of weight going up and down?  Not at all! Choose a sustainable diet for your lifestyle whether it is the keto diet, vegan diet, raw diet and stay with it.

Turn it into a lifestyle.

I find that after a couple of months on a particular way of eating that I enjoy ( like the keto diet) I find it fun going to restaurants and searching for something that fits into my lifestyle. I don’t even miss the cake, pasta, and pizzas. Yes… you read that correctly.


I don’t miss pasta.




Reason # 2 Your body is not a heat engine  


The whole premise of burning more calories than you take in is reliant on the assumption that foods generate heat, and our bodies are mainly a “ heat engine.”  Creating heat from foods is not the only factor your body takes into consideration when allocating calories. Lumping all calories into one category is an overgeneralization.

Various foods have different uses and benefits for the body.  The body will react and allocate a Starbucks frappuccino much differently than a bowl of broccoli.

As said in Primal Mind Primal Body….

“Proteins go into the building, rebuilding or maintaining your muscles, hair, skin, bones.

Fats, one of the essential macronutrients help to build, rebuild and maintain cellular membranes, stabilize the nervous system, support the immune system, and many other vitally crucial body processes.

Carbohydrates play a minimal role in the health of your body. Less than 2 percent of your bodily structure is composed of carbs, and any processes that your body manufactures using carbohydrates can be completed without the presence of sugars.




Reason #3 Decreases Efficiency of Metabolism


One of the most significant factors for the weight gain of the contestants on the biggest loser was their resting caloric outtake went down.  This resting calorie reduction means at a resting rate they were burning fewer calories after being on the show YEARS later. Due to extreme calorie reduction and strenuous exercise for an extended period; the contestant’s metabolisms were less efficient at burning calories.

What you want to do is to make your metabolism more efficient. Improving communication and signaling between cells and tissues by controlling your hormones through proper diet and exercise.

An example of making your body more efficient would be the Kekwick diet. They took subjects who were overweight and placed them into three groups. Each group received one thousand calories per day.

One group was fed 90% Carbs

The second group 90% Fat

The third group 90% Protein


You would think that all group members lost the same amount of weight due to the calories being the same.


Nope. Not at all.

The group receiving 90% carbs GAINED .24 pounds. That’s right; they gained weight on 1000 calories.

The group receiving 90% fat lost an average of .9 pounds.

The group receiving 90% protein lost an average of .6 pounds.


The take away from this research is to find ways to INCREASE the efficiency of your metabolism. You can eat the same amount of calories,  but you change up the macronutrients and get an entirely different effect on your weight.

Read the study here 


Reason # 4 The Hormonal Effects of Calories





Different types of calories produce different hormonal effects in your body that control hunger, energy levels, and brain functions.

Calories from carbohydrates are different from calories from fat and trigger different hormonal signaling.  Have you ever noticed when

you give children sugar, they get hyper?


Or, you always have room for that dessert, but there is entirely no way you can eat another side of broccoli loaded with butter?  Or, you can eat 3000 calories worth of chips (one big bag) but be hungry 2 hours later?

Or what about those crashes after lunch? Isn’t eating supposed to give you energy?

I’ve often heard people tell me (when I foolishly being a conversation about weight loss) you can eat 1000 calories of a snickers bar and lose weight, the same amount of weight if you would eat 1000 calories of broccoli.

I always wonder if those people ever ask themselves….

Is eating 1000 worth of calories in Snickers bars healthy or sustainable?

Would it make you hungrier?

How would your body feel after that sort of diet?

Would you have more mental clarity?


Quality of calories matters way more than quantity. Not only is counting quality over quantity more sustainable but also healthier and safer. Certain foods spike hunger and can make you hungrier, therefore, leading you to eat more food. Other meals will cause you to be full on a lesser amount of calories.


Find a diet that suits you and your body, and make it a lifestyle. It’s always an adventure to go to grocery stores or a foreign country and find food that is suitable for my lifestyle.





Kekwick Pawan  Study:


2) https://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/02/health/biggest-loser-weight-loss.html