Warning to any sensitive snowflakes who are about to read this…I’m not accusing you of lying or being deceitful…I’m only stating the facts backed up by science and explaining how fuckin easy it is to misreport food/calorie intake.
So please don’t message calling me horrible names!!!
I’ll also go into detail about HOW misreporting happens and how easy it is to do…
Let’s get to it…
Many, many, many of my clients come to me with the same goal…you guessed it…fat loss!
And pretty much all of these clients have tried and failed to get results, at least in the long term.
Most of them have tried some kind of diet plan in the past and pretty much all of them are extremely confused about how to achieve fat loss. I’ve talked about where this confusion stems from numerous times before and if you’ve been following me and reading my stuff for a while you’ll know it really gets on my (man) tits. Social media, mainstream media and general marketing are heavily to blame for bending the scientific truths behind fat loss and often just downright fucking lying about it.
Now of all the clients that come to me there’s one trend in particular I see a lot…
Client A: “I barely eat anything but I’m still not losing weight”
Client B: “I know I’ve got a slow metabolism because I only eat 1200 Calories a day and I’m still not losing weight”
Client C: “I’m pretty sure I have metabolic damage – I read that if your Calories go too low you’ll actually gain fat”
All of these scenarios have a similar theme and 99% of the time the answer to their problems is a simple one….
They are misreporting how many Calories they are consuming.
Now as I was careful to state before, people don’t do this on purpose, they’re not trying to be deceitful. It’s just that it’s really hard to accurately count how many Calories you are actually consuming.
Let’s clear up some of the myths you’ve probably heard about before
The “slow” metabolism.
You don’t have one! Good, let’s move on.
OK OK…I’ll go into it a little more…
“Slow” metabolisms don’t actually exist. It’s a made up thing. A concept that was coined from fuck knows where and gained so much traction it’s actually recognised as a common issue. Mental!
Genetics can play a small factor. A person of the same size, weight and age may have a BMR (I’ve talked about BMR is THIS article) variation of around 10-15%. This equates to around 150-300 Calories.
“But I’m a woman…what about hormones”
OK, gender does impact metabolism but not like you think it does. It’s simply because men carry more muscle mass and less fat.
A man and a women who both require 1800 Calories to maintain body weight would have about a 54 Calorie difference per day.
So basically….Fuck all!
Now in my experience women like to blame their menstrual cycle for a lot of things (CALM DOWN CALM DOWN I’m joking…kind of). Even the menstrual cycle doesn’t supersede Calorie balance in relation to weight management.
So, if you’re struggling to lose weight or have struggled in the past it’s not because of a “slow metabolism”
Metabolic damage is another crazy concept probably created by some crackpot who was still getting breastfed at 12 years old. The idea of metabolic damage (also known as starvation mode) is that if you eat to few Calories for too long then you enter some kind of mythical realm where your body starts to gain fat. Imagine for a second, a bearded man. That bearded man represents science – Now imagine that beard man
getting punched in the face…that’s what the concept of metabolic damage is doing to science. Punching it clean in the face.
In fact it’s worse than that….it’s kicking it right in the nut sack!
Now as ususal there is a slight caveat here..let me explain.
Whilst metabolic damage is definitely total bullshit, it IS true that as you lose weight you will require less Calories.
Let’s pretend you are an 11 stone male who requires 2200 Calories a day to maintain body weight.
If you diet for 6 months and drop your weight to 9 stone you’ll no longer require 2200 Calories a day to maintain bodyweight. Because there’s less of you. The 9 stone version of you only requires 1800 Calories per day to maintain bodyweight. This is known as adaptive thermogenesis and needs to be considered as you’re weight continues to drop during your diet.
It’s not very likely but there is a chance you are genuinely eating a Calorie deficit and still not losing fat because of a health issue. There are only a handful of conditions and medications that have an effect on metabolism but it’s important to note they do exist.
Probably the most common health issue that affects metabolism is hypothyroidism. If you have this the chances are you already know about it and are medicated as a result. If you’re medicated then your metabolism should be working just fine.
I’m not a doctor so I won’t say anymore on the matter…
If you genuinely suspect a medical condition or medication you’re taking is affecting your weight loss then go see a health practitioner K.
So, now we’ve cleared up the bullshit surrounding metabolic damage and slow metabolisms let’s address this misreporting Calorie intake a little further.
As I said previously, misreporting Calorie intake is a big fucking problem! And it’s an even bigger problem in the world we live in. That’s because our food environment is setting us up for obesity. Hence why obesity trends are insanely high. Calorie dense foods are everywhere we look and they taste fucking amazing.
Study after study has shown that misreporting Calorie intake happens. So many that I can’t be bothered to link them all. If you want to read them it’ll cost you your email so then at least I can send you tempting marketing emails. Click HERE if you want links to the studies.
You should probably just trust me when I tell you…misreporting Calorie intake is VERY real and VERY easy to do.
And just to reinforce that point even further…dieticians, who’s JOB it is to know about Calories and Calorie consumption get it wrong as shown in THIS study. Whilst the dieticians were better at reporting Calorie intake than the general public then still got it wrong by up to 223 Calories per day.
It’s not (entirely) your fault
It’s hard to pin point exactly why we are seeing such sharp rises in obesity but one thing that is almost certainly a significant factor is the food environment we live in today. It’s often described as the obesogenic environment. Our access to highly palatable, Calorie dense foods which are extremely cheap has never been more so.
People are extremely naive to the fact that processes foods contain as many Calories as they do.
it’s actually staggering how many Calories certain processed foods do contain.
Let’s take a look at the ever popular Dominoes pizza. A large pepperoni pizza from Dominos contains ~1760 Calories (data taken from Myfitnespal) Washed down with a can of Coke and you’re up to 1900 Calories. That’s enough Calories to put a high percentage of women into a Calorie surplus.
Let’s look at a typical breakfast…
-1 sachet of oats = 100 Calories
-1 portion of orange juice (same as 1 small bottle you can buy in shops) =~250 Calories
-2 slices of toast with butter ~ 300 Calories
That’s ~650 Calories just for breakfast. Probably consumed before 8am. Add some honey to the porridge and some milk to a coffee and you’re hitting ~ 800 Calories.
The health Halo affect
The health halo affect refers to the idea that if people are eating “healthier” options they either think they can or unintentionally eat more as a result.
Anecdotally, I’ve seen this time and time again with clients.
“How can I be gaining weight when I eat such a healthy diet”
Often they ARE eating a high proportion of healthy options. The problem is…even “heathy” foods contain Calories and it’s easy to consume too much of them.
Porridge is a typical example. Most people have NO idea exactly what a 30 gram portion of porridge actually looks like. It’s far less than you THINK it is! Trust me!
The health halo affect also appears when looking at the multitude of products that are advertised as:
etc etc etc
People either consciously or subconsciously assume that because a product is “healthier” they can eat more of it leading to excess calorie consumption.
Exercise distorts your perceived Calorie intake
In a similar vein to the health halo affect, exercise can significantly distort peoples perception of Calories.
“I’ve just done a 45 minute HIIT class which means I’ve earned this Dominoes Pizza”
Let’s work it out…
Likely Calories burnt in HIIT class 200-400 (Yes your Fitbit is LYING to you. You’re not burning anywhere NEAR 1000 Calories per class)
Calories from a Large Dominoes pizza ~1720
1720 – 300 = 1420 Calories.
1420 Calories AFTER we’ve accounted for your exercise.
You can see why the “I’ve exercised so I earned the meal” doesn’t fucking work! AT ALL!!!
The 20% leeway law
By law, food products have to give the Calorie content of the food. However, they are allowed a 20% margin for error. 20% is quite a fucking lot. It’s good to be aware that you may be eating more Calories than you THINK you are even when basing it on the food label of the product.
There is a way to overcome this problem:
Consistency in tracking
You’ll find that when using Myfitnesspal there’s a about zillion options when you type in a certain food and everyone newbie tracker has the same reaction:
“Which fucking option do I choose”
The answer is…it doesn’t REALLY matter. Get an idea of the most common figure and go with it.
The IMPORTANT thing is to stay consistent with that choice. If you’re consistent with it then you can eventually change it if you need to. The point is, it doesn’t really matter if it’s a few Calories out. If you eat the food a lot and always track it as the same option (same amount if Calories) and find you need to change your Calorie intake amount then you can…whilst knowing that your food options have been tracked consistantly before hand.
Let me expand with and example:
Let’s pretend Meredith is trying to lose weight…she’s tracking her Calories carefully. Every morning she has 2 shredded wheat with milk, a coffee, a banana and handful on nuts and she inputs the options on Myfitnesspal coming out at 400 Calories. She needs to hit 1600 Calories a day to stay in a deficit and lose weight. She thinks she’s hitting her target but for some reason she’s not losing weight. She’s been monitoring weight for 3 weeks with no loss. Little does Meredith know that the actual Calorie content of her daily breakfast is 600 Calories. No problem though…Meredith simply reduces her breakfast intake by 200 Calories and logs it as 200 Calories everyday instead. NOW the ACTUAL breakfast Calorie content is 400 Calories which is 200 LESS than what it was and that’s the only bit that matters.
PHEW!!! Does that make sense…
The consistency is the important part!
*This is an ongoing article which will updated soon, Updates will be shared on Instagram so make sure you’re following me*