Ditch the Calorie Counting

Calorie-restricted diets don’t work!

Can I get an amen? How many diets have you tried? The average adult will try 126 different diets in their lifetime! A recent survey of 2000 people conducted by One Poll found that 50 percent of surveyed would use Google to search for a diet, 27 percent would consult a medical professional, and 15 percent would rely on social media and self-help books.

Dieting is bad for your health.

A team of researchers at UCLA reviewed 32 long-term studies on dieting concluded that dieting is a consistent predictor of WEIGHT GAIN. Astoundingly, 60 percent of people regained more weight than they initially lost. Obesity has risen from 13% in 1980 to 39 % in 2016, while estimated caloric intake and energy expenditure have not changed. We are eating the same number of calories as 45 years ago, but we are substantially heavier!


Weight cycling or Yo-Yo dieting is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, inflammation, high blood pressure, and insulin resistance.

“Health should not be measured by a number on a scale or the size of your jeans.”

~Dr. Carl J. Lavie, Cardiologist, Author of The Obesity Paradox.

Definition of Healthy Weight

There is no objective scientific measure to substantiate a healthy weight. A Belgian statistician invented the BMI formula in 1830 using a simple mathematical equation to determine a healthy weight. BMI often incorrectly categorizes individuals with higher muscle mass as obese because muscle weighs more than fat. BMI does not evaluate body composition and has no scientific basis. A healthy weight is highly individualized and should be determined using a collection of diagnostic tools. Clinical measures like fasting insulin and blood sugar levels, inflammatory blood markers, cholesterol panel, waist circumference, and fat to muscle ratio are instrumental in evaluating overall health and risk for disease. Sadly BMI is used widely in health care settings as the only tool to define a “healthy weight.”


A Calorie is a Calorie Theory

For years it has been said that all calories are equal. During my recent physical exam, I had a medical doctor recite the “calorie in, calorie out” theory for weight loss. NOTHING could be further from the truth. The quality of your food has one of the most profound affects on your metabolism. Ultra-processed foods create inflammation and lack the necessary nutrients the body relies on for proper function. One hundred calories of carrots will have a completely different effect on the body than 100 calories from a sugar-laden candy bar. Inflammation, food sensitivies and nutritional deficiencies contribute to weight gain and binge eating.

“We will never get more of what we want by giving ourselves less of what we need.”

~Angie Wisdom Stastny RDN, Wisdom Nutrition


The Diet Culture and Deprivation Mentality

Are you HATING yourself skinny?

The diet culture is a multibillion-dollar industry designed to promote feelings of shame and discontent regarding our body image. Messaging from the diet culture can cause us to demand more from ourselves while refusing to give our body what it needs to function. Proper sleep, nutritionally dense foods, sunlight, and adequate movement are crucial to a healthy metabolism. Practicing mindfulness is also essential. Any thoughts out of alignment with your biology can cause proinflammatory signaling in the body. Negative emotions and thoughts of deprivation send chemical signals to the body to prepare for starvation and prompt the body to slow down metabolic rate while increasing fat storage. It is possible to hack your metabolism with negative thoughts! Learn to love yourself and speak life into your own body. A daily routine that involves supportive practices is crucial to overall health.


Emerging Factors

Energy expenditure and calorie intake averages have remained consistent over the past 45 years while body composition is rapidly changing. Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys ( NHANES) shows the average body fat composition has risen dramatically even in those categorized in the normal weight range according to BMI. So why is our body composition changing even though we consume the same number of calories and expend similar amounts of energy? A growing body of research points to several factors influencing how the body stores fat, including environmental chemicals called obesogens, food additives, artificial sweeteners, and carbohydrate quality.


In my next blog, I will dive into the topic of obesogens and how to rev up your metabolism without ever counting a calorie! Stay tuned!


Hi my name is Angie Wisdom Stastny. I am a registered dietitian and lover of all things natural!

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