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Intuitive Eating: Is a Calorie Just a Calorie?

Is a Calorie Just a Calorie?

I have met many personal trainers and fitness enthusiasts over the years, and many of them take on the “calories in, calories out” philosophy as a whole. Are they right? This is the general thought in many nutrition programs and in worldwide health and fitness facilities today. There is some truth to it, but can individuals really eat whatever they want, so long as they burn the same number of calories that they have taken in? Let’s take a deeper look.

“Calories in = Calories Out” is a bit over-simplicified

Believing that a calorie is simply a calorie, regardless of the macronutrient ratios, is nothing but over-simplification of a much deeper scientific answer. In working with hundreds of clients, I have witnessed over and over again the incredible impact the “type” of foods you eat can have.

If I were to put two clients on a 2,000 calorie diet, one eating nothing but fat free corn flakes with fat free milk, and the other eating only dark meat chicken and green beans, the results would be staggeringly different. There is just no comparison what the outcome would be. The body fat composition of these two individuals is simply incomparable, even with both clients on the same workout program.

Is a Calorie Just a Calorie?

A Calorie Case Study

For example, Sue is a naturally thin gal. She can eat most anything put in front of her and can easily stay nice and lean. Diane on the other hand, has natural feminine curves and has to watch every morsel she puts in her mouth, not to mention finds she needs to hit the gym almost daily to keep the weight from packing on.

So what’s the difference?

If both ladies were to eat a large frappacinno from their favorite coffee shop, or stop at the local fruit-smoothie place on the corner (consuming 100-200 grams of sugar), their body responses would show to be quite different. Since Sue is naturally thin, her body might be able to properly secrete the right amount of insulin to shuttle the mass amount of carbohydrates to utilize as energy.

Diane on the other hand is a different scenario. Eating this same sugary treat may be disaster to her body,  causing crazy blood sugar spikes and sending out way too much insulin, often resulting in the calories being stored as fat. None of this is to say that anyone should be consuming such items in their daily diet, regardless of their metabolism or body-type.

The type of food can affect different people in different ways.

Now don’t get me wrong, total calorie intake does have an impact, but it is only part of the entire puzzle. Every body is different. Every body assimilates food differently; requiring a different macronutrient ratio to function at optimum. When eating foods right for you, the body naturally finds its comfortable weight. Granted there are other components to this nutritional puzzle, such as hormones, stress levels, sleep patterns, water intake, etc. which we will get into in later articles.

Is a Calorie Just a Calorie?

The bottom line…

Calories do play a significant role, it’s just simply not the whole story. This doesn’t have to be an incredibly complicated balance to discover, but when you do find the balance that’s right for you, hunger cravings dissipate, weight finds it’s naturally place, energy levels out, mood stabilizes, and food anxieties tend to drop off.

We are all different. One “diet” is not the right “diet” for all. There is no one-size-fits-all deal. One person’s food is truly another person’s poison. Perhaps it’s time to find out what works for you. Most fitness fanatics and nutritionists don’t want to hear this, nor do they want to believe it. I challenge you to find out for yourself.

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How do you find your “right” diet?

Good news, Dr Carol Griggs has JUST released her new book, “Intuitively Your Type: Nourishing through Nutrition” where she walks you through a self study to discovery what works for your body.

carol griggs
Dr. Carol Griggs, Ph.D.
Dr. Carole Griggs, Ph.D. is an international speaker, teacher, coach, university professor, writer, and pioneer and leader in the areas of integrative Wellness and Nutrition, and Conscious Awareness (non-duality). She is also the co-founder & CEO of Live Infinity, co-owner/developer of Wall 2 Wall Fitness and Wellness app, co-founder of Pacific Wellness, and founder & CEO of the nonprofit Conscious World Alliance.

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4 Comments

  • Sara @ saralouyoga

    Sometimes it’s easy to forget but when we fuel our bodies with REAL foods no matter what the calories, our bodies feel so much better…thanks for sharing! xo

    Reply

    • Teresa

      Right? I’m reading Whole right now by T. Colin Campbell and it’s such a good reminder to not overcomplicated food or get caught up in the details of the math because it just doesn’t matter as much as the food itself.

      Reply

  • Elizabeth Martin

    Very interesting article Teresa! I do strongly believe that everybody is different in regards to food assimilation. I’ve been struggling for years to find what works best for me but when i finally did, everything seemed to just “tick”.

    Reply

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