Calorie Counting; Unsustainable Pseudoprecision

We are a fat nation; over 100 million American adults, or 42% of the population are obese. This number stands to become the majority by 2026 if trends from the 21st century continue.

Most people think the solution for fat loss is simple; if we eat too much and don’t get enough exercise, in order to lose fat we should eat less and move more. Modern nutritional experts view the body like a combustion engine in this regard, defining weight loss as a function of calories consumed and calories burned.

And while this viewpoint is not false, my experience suggests that this framing of the situation results in individuals making predictable yet often incorrect assumptions about what sensible steps they should take to lose not just weight, but fat.

While most dieters know they need to eat fewer calories, few realize the futility in tracking them precisely. Even fewer realize that it’s not certain that they actually do need to eat fewer calories.

It is also not widely known that the FDA permits food companies to be off by up to 20% in their caloric labeling. In practice, we know that’s just the speed limit of the industry.

You might wonder how else someone could know how much to eat if not for counting calories. While I do think that estimating calories is a useful skill to attempt to practice for a short period of time, ultimately the goal of a diet should be to teach the practitioner how to understand their sensation of hunger well enough to know how much food to consume and of what variety, while also understanding and avoiding the triggers that distort this intuition.

A bottom’s up approach takes into account human physiology and uses it to create a sustainable plan. The state approved approach steers the practitioner to a structured plan that frequently disagrees with the practitioner’s physiology. It’s no surprise that these plans are not practiced with any great popularity.

A lot of what I did during my physical transformation was to figure out bottom’s up approaches to sugar cessation, training and everything else that feels cumbersome about fitness. This allowed me to lose fat while doing an enjoyable training plan, eating delicious food, without ever intentionally cutting a single calorie.

I created what I believe is the most sustainable and enjoyable plan known to man. And while I’m certain that what worked for me will not match perfectly with what works for you, I know what’s worked for me has worked for many others and that at least some of the bottom’s up shortcuts are transferable.

I share a lot of my anecdotes Twitter @alexfeinberg1. If you’re interested in learning more, please ask me as I could talk for days about this subject.