For years, we have been told by experts that basically the main cause of obesity is that we consume more calories than we burn.
Because our “unburnt” calories are stored as fat, we gain weight.
This would mean that if we eat fewer calories than we burn, we automatically should lose weight.
This seems to make sense at first glance and as a result hundreds of diet programs have been sold based on this way of reasoning, but…is this reasoning correct?
If we take a critical look at this statement, we soon find that it is flawed in quite a few ways.
Reason 1: Not all calories are made equal
First of all, what is a calorie?
One calorie is the amount of energy needed to increase the temperature of one gram of water by one degree. So it is an energy unit.
When you eat food that is “worth” 100 kcal (kilocalories), then in theory that means that your body can convert that 100 kcal into energy.
At least, that’s the theory.
To be able to function, our body doesn’t just need “raw energy”, but also thousands of micronutrients, in the form of vitamins, enzymes and minerals.
Let us clarify this by giving an example.
Suppose two people have an appointment with a dietitian. Let’s call them “person A” and “person B”.
Both are advised to eat 2500 kcal per day to meet their daily energy needs. They are free to eat any food they like, as long as the calories add up to 2500kcal per day.
Person A decides to get to his daily intake of 2500 kcal by eating as healthy as possible, with large amounts of vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds.
Person B decides to reach his daily amount of 2500 kcal by eating exclusively junk food, such as pizza, donuts, cookies, soft drinks and chocolate bars.
So they both consume 2500 kcal a day.
For six months, person A eats as much plant-based food as possible, while person B eats pizzas, burgers, cookies and soft drinks.
What will happen to person A and to person B in six months’ time?
We can probably already guess the answer.
Despite the fact that person B consumes exactly the same amount of calories as person A, he is poisoning his body on a daily basis instead of supporting it.
For person B it is a matter of time before he has to deal with overweight, diabetes, intestinal problems and in the longer term much higher risks of heart and circulatory diseases (or worse).
Person A, on the other hand, has supported his body for six months with healthy foods, while eating the exact same amount of calories as person B.
This example shows is that the quality of the calories we consume is much more important than the quantity in our being overweight.
Like we said, our body don’t just need calories in order to function, but it also needs the right amounts of vitamins, minerals and fibers, things that are often lacking in processed foods.
Focusing purely on the number of consumed calories means that we are not focusing on the things that are really important to our body.
Reason 2: Starvation makes our body cling on to fat
Another consequence of focusing exclusively on reducing our caloric intake is that it messes up our body’s energy management, also known as our metabolism.
The idea is: “If I eat less calories than I burn, my body will burn “excess fat”, so I will lose weight.”
In practice, however, it doesn’t work this way.
At the moment that we decide to eat drastically less calories than we normally do, we are basically telling our body: “Be ware! Food is in short supply! Don’t waste our energy!”
For example, some diets suggest to consume around 900 kcal per day. If we go to 900 kcal per day overnight from, let’s say, 3000 kcal per day, we actually say to our bodies: “There is a famine going on!”
When our body finds itself in a crisis situation where food is scarce (and our stress is high, because the two go together), our body reacts by holding on to our fat reserves, so that we are able to survive longer under these harsh conditions.
Our energy-consumption rate is drastically reduced, so that we do not waste too much energy; our body ends up in a kind of “energy-saving mode”.
As a result, our body does not want to lose weight, because then we would be in a life-threatening situation.
So by limiting our caloric intake, we are essentially telling our body to be extra thrifty on our fat stock and energy and our body lowers our metabolic rate drastically in order to save energy.
If this continues for a long time, we can seriously disrupt our hormonal balance (it will affect our thyroid gland), causing us to feel sluggish and tired, while we can’t lose weight.
Reason 3: Counting calories is not natural
Fact: animals do not count calories.
This may sound strange, but it is true.
You will never see a gorilla in the wild visiting a dietitian to ask him how many calories he needs to eat per day, how many grams of tree leaves he can eat with his breakfast and whether he might get a too high blood sugar level from eating too many bananas.
Animals in the wild are so connected to their natural environment and listen so well to their bodies that they automatically make the right choices on “instinct.”
Because we as humans have almost completely lost our connection with nature as a result of the ongoing industrialization and have been eating more and more processed, addictive and artificial food, we have made it very difficult for ourselves and our bodies to instinctively know what we should eat and in what quantities.
All of a sudden we have been flooded with technical terms such as “omega-3 and omega-6, low-fat and fat-free, fast carbohydrates and slow carbohydrates” and a whole series of other terms whose existence we have only known about for a very short time, including “counting calories.”
In this respect, it would be a good idea to take our friends in nature as an example (the animals) and also the still remaining human tribes who have a strong connection with nature, in which overweight does not even occur. The members of these tribes (such as for example the Brokpa tribe of Ladakh, Tibet) have probably never heard of a calorie, but are active and fit well into their 90s. Diseases such as obesity, heart disease, cancer, diabetes and arthritis are completely unknown to these tribes.
The conclusion? It is not the calories that make the difference, but how well we take care of our bodies in the most natural way possible.
Reason 4: Low-calorie products make you fat
A very simple example is Cola Zero. The name of this drink alone shows that the focus is completely on how many calories the drink contains.
We are supposed to think: “It doesn’t contain any calories, so I don’t get fat.”
Why is it then that so many people do get fat by eating and drinking sugar-free and low-calorie products such as Cola Light and Cola Zero?
The reason is that our fat burning ability is not related to how many calories we consume, but whether our body has the vitamins and minerals available to burn our fat efficiently.
We have often been told that fat is “bad” for us, that we should not eat it and that if it shows up on our body, we should get rid of it as soon as possible.
However, what many of us don’t know is that fat is our body’s favorite type fuel! When we are in an “average state” of activity, our body prefers by far to burn fat, and not carbohydrates or protein.
So why is it that when we are overweight (and therefore have a lot of fat on our bodies) we can’t seem to burn our fat while eating low-calorie and low-fat products?
One of the causes is that in order to burn fat, our body needs certain vitamins and minerals. Just as we need several critical ingredients to make a cake, we need several “ingredients” (in the form of micro-nutrients) to be able to burn fat efficiently.
If those vitamins and minerals are not sufficiently present in our body, then our fat burning ability suffers greatly.
Because our body then is not able to burn fat efficiently but still needs energy to function, it then ask for carbohydrates and sugars, because these can be quickly converted into energy.
We then get increased cravings to eat carbohydrates and sugars.
If we then start eating carbohydrates and sugars, our body tries to get its energy from burning these carbs.
But what happens to the excess of carbohydrates and sugars?
They are converted into fat!
We then end up in a vicious circle where our body wants to burn fat but cannot burn it, then asks for sugar and then converts the excess sugar into more fat.
The result is that we get fatter and fatter with tremendous cravings to eat sugar and carbs, but at the same time we are not able to get rid of our fat, even though we are eating “fat-free” and “zero calories.”
Reason 5: Being slim does not mean being healthy
If we feel “too fat,” usually our biggest wish is to be “slim.”
However, “being slim” or “being skinny” are misleading terms.
We can look “beautifully slim” on the outside, but that doesn’t say much about how we are in terms of health on the inside.
On the outside everything may look good, but on the inside, a lot of things can be severely out of balance.
Focusing on “being slim” by counting calories, eating low-fat products and exercising without focusing on our health can have very unpleasant consequences in the long run.
But how can we be “slim” without focusing on “getting slim?”
Fortunately, our body is very clever.
Having a healthy body automatically ensures that we maintain our “ideal” weight.
If we are not at our ideal weight, it is an indication that there are processes in our body that are not balanced.
This is also the case with being overweight.
Being overweight means that our body is out of balance, and not necessarily we are “eating too many calories” and are “not exercising enough.”
If we restore this balance in a natural way, then our body will automatically try to get to its ideal weight.
To really restore our balance long-term, the “natural” part is very important.
If we were to subject our body to all kinds of artificial (and unhealthy) solutions such as starving ourselves, diet shakes, low-carb diets and low-calorie diets, we are only making sure that our body gets more and more out of balance.
Even if we manage to lose weight this way, there is a very big chance that we will gain it all back as soon as we stop “dieting” or even worse: opening the door for all kinds of other ailments that can arise as a result of this imbalance in our body.
So, if counting calories is not the solution…what is the solution?
As we have noticed throughout the text, there is generally a very simplistic view on obesity.
In reality, our weight is determined by many deeper lying factors that are completely overlooked by the average diet.
Issues such as stress, hormonal imbalance, metabolism disorders, thyroid failure, our sleeping patterns and toxicity levels are all factors that have a major impact on our health and also on whether we are overweight or not.
If our body is in a healthy and balanced state, then being and staying at our ideal weight is effortless, because it is the natural state of our body.
Focusing on restoring our health first is also the big difference between the “orthomolecular approach” and the “conventional approach” to health issues, including overweight.
The first goal of an orthomolecular therapist is always to restore the balance of processes in the body by addressing the factors that have the greatest influence on this imbalance.
For some of us stress will be the main cause if this imbalance, for others the cause can be found in the diet or hormonal problems.
Often it is a combination of several factors.
Once these factors are known and addressed, it is a matter of time before the body automatically returns to its own ideal weight.
All this can be achieved without diets, without calories, without starvation, without hours on the treadmill and above all in a healthy and also permanent way.
Perhaps the orthomolecular approach sounds new or is unknown to you and you would like to find out more about what an orthomolecular program looks like and whether it is a good fit for your needs and wishes.
That is why at Beauté Totale we offer a completely free consultation.
That is why at Beauté Totale we offer a completely free initial consultation!
The free initial consultation provides you with the opportunity to ask questions, to get to know the
therapist and to see if the program is the right fit for you.
If you feel positive after the first meeting, we can proceed to plan the intake interview.
You can also read more about the orthomolecular approach HERE.
Based on the information from the intake, a personal treatment plan will be drawn up, which is fully tailored to your wishes and needs.
Sometimes other (chronic) health issues are uncovered during the intake interview.
For example, health issues like feeling sluggish, having little energy, headaches, digestive problems and stress related complaints.
The orthomolecular approach can be very effective in addressing these issues.
Do you want to lose weight in a healthy and permanent way?
Or do you maybe suffer from health issues where you are insufficiently helped by
conventional health care (for example: headaches, hormonal problems, feeling tired,
diabetes, eczema, allergies, bowel problems etc.)?
Then sign up for a completely free initial consultation with Niko!
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