FitMitTuro Fitness Podcast

Counting Calories: Debating the Pros and Cons for a Healthier Lifestyle

June 29, 2023 Turo Virta
FitMitTuro Fitness Podcast
Counting Calories: Debating the Pros and Cons for a Healthier Lifestyle
Show Notes Transcript

I've got a juicy episode for you that tackles a question as old as time: To count calories or not to count calories? Prepare yourself for a rollercoaster ride through the pros and cons of this dieting trend, sprinkled with a dash of humor and a spoonful of motivation. Let's dive in!

Picture this: You're juggling plates of kale and brownies while attempting to count every single calorie. It's like trying to catch a slippery fish with your bare hands. In our calorie-counting chronicles, we unearthed the good, the bad, and even the bottomless bag of chips. Yeah, I've been there too.

I´m here to empower you with the wisdom of creating your own rules. Who needs a calorie-counting police force anyway? You're the captain of your own health ship. So grab that pizza slice and decide how you want to sail through your dietary adventure.

But wait, there's more! I´m about to reveal the hidden truth behind failure. Cue the dramatic music. Contrary to popular belief, successful people don't have an immunity to failure. In fact, they often have a long list of flops under their belts. So, dear dreamers, don't let the fear of failure hold you back. Embrace those faceplants, learn from them, and soon you'll be doing the victory dance.

Ah, the four seasons of life. No, we're not talking about weather patterns; we're talking about the seasons that shape our existence: winter, spring, summer, and spring again...wait, did I say spring twice? Well, that just proves our point: life is full of twists and turns. Progress is different for everyone, like picking your favorite ice cream flavor. So take small bites and savor the sweetness of every tiny victory.

Now, let's tackle the nitty-gritty of tracking calories and protein. Sure, it sounds like a meticulous task that could send you spiraling into a calculator coma. I've got some neat tricks up our sleeves. With the help of cutting-edge technology, tracking calories and protein can be as easy as swiping right on a dating app. Swipe, track, and conquer!

But here's a friendly warning: Calorie counting can be like falling down a rabbit hole. Before you know it, you're obsessing over numbers and forgetting to enjoy the food on your plate. That's why we're introducing you to the magical realms of intuitive eating and mindful eating. It's like a food adventure where you learn to listen to your body's cues and develop a healthy relationship with food. Bon appétit!


  • The pros and cons of calorie counting. 0:00
  • Rules that lead to the same result. 2:32
  • There is no right way to do intermittent fasting. 4:56
  • How to know when to quit. 7:57
  • How to overcome the fear of failure. 10:30
  • How to take a little bit less. 16:05
  • What are the pros and cons of tracking calories? 18:50
  • The importance of accountability and motivation. 21:46
  • How long does it take to track calories and protein? 24:50
  • Calorie tracking can become an obsession. 27:47
Turo Virta:

Hi, and welcome to this fitmitturo fitness podcast episode today's solo podcast I'm talking about calorie counting if that is what our approach and what our cons of calorie counting. But as there is for, it's a very good way for someone to become more aware of what they are actually doing. But before going into those pros and cons, I wanted to talk a little bit about how it's going to impact your way of seeing how you are changing the way you think about food, exercise and your body. So this is this is something like what I what I get, most of the time I get Christians that but I don't want to count calories, or I I'm doing it but I do it maybe wrong. So why you should be actually thinking about it like that most of the people when you are when you are having you're trying to lose weight, you are not actually aware you may be get somebody some of your friend or family member is telling you that you should be it's called for Weight Watchers, let's go for keto, or you see some of your friend is having some success with some kind of diet. And then you are thinking that this is this is I must be trying this because that's working for someone. And obviously, they are all diets, they are they are working for the same reason. And that is because they create calorie deficit. So it's, it's I'm sure that you have heard about it, I don't need to explain what calorie deficit is. But it's in simple words, it's basically it says that you are eating less calories than you are putting your energy out so so that calories you are taking in are less than you are putting out what is common wood, it's all combination of an amount of calories your body needs, while you are resting when you don't do when your body is escaping your life amount of thermic effect of food which is highest in protein, it's called an activity like things like taking stairs smoking, and then there's also those amount of exercise calories that you burn, which are by the way, only five pros and so most of the people focus on improving that 5% But I'm not going to explain that more but so all diets are working because you create that calorie deficit and and they are usually the problem with the most of the diets they follow some rules. So you have in some diets, you get some points. So you have the amount of points which you are allowed to eat, you are following rules that you have to you have some eating time like intermittent fasting, you follow strict eating time when you are allowed to eat and then maybe it's a matter of like Tito, you are not allowed to eat carbohydrates. So you are limiting one one food or you are you are cutting all suckers out. So those are just examples of those kinds of rules what you create for yourself, but they are all leading for same same result that you are creating that calorie deficit or you are in that doesn't matter what your goal if your goal is to maintain your weight and you're supposed to be eating as many calories as your body needs. So this is this is something what is kind of liberating for most of the people when you have some kind of amount of calories what your goal should be. And then it's kind of that it's like in my all my goals in progress, I will never tell to anyone what kind of way they are, they should be doing what they are doing. Like because we are all individuals and what whatever works for me is probably not going to work for somebody else. So it's kind of my job as a coach is to provide you strategies, how you can create rules that you feel confident of doing, and not just copying those from your family member or friend will have had some success with that and that is when you start to reframe your thoughts that you have this is your whole like let's say I use it it's you can think it in your calories or something but I used to think it like a like if your goal is for example safe money, you have some specific amount of money in your mind what do you want to have in your bank account and there are several ways how to do it you can either try to try to you work you get 10 hour 10 euro or dollar per hour for some work, you can count it okay, if I work this many hours I get there, or if you have some product, which you buy, maybe need a little bit more time to create, but then when you when it's done, you can sell it once and you have it's the same same kind of different process, but you are getting ending up for that same outcome and this is exactly the same thing with with a calorie deficit and dieting. So there are there is not one right way to do it. There are many trying to raise and it's, it's there is no right no wrong way to do it. And it's kind of your job, what you actually enjoy doing the most is the right solution, what is going to go in to help you. And this is, this is one of the biggest reliefs, when I when I work with the people, when they get that thing that, oh, I don't need to, I don't need to do everything I don't need to create, you have just basically the principles that outline what is what matters the most. And when you focus on those things, what matters the most, it's the time when you are making at least a fourth and still get enough results to keep going. And then what how it's helping you that you are kind of leading that because it's not, it's not, it's not that you don't have those you don't when you create those your rules for yourself, you don't have that kind of beating up yourself like that, if you are if you take those rules from somebody else, let's say that you decide to go for intermittent fasting, and you are ending up that your eating window will be from 12 to 8pm, eight hours, let's say that's very common. And for some reason, you are starving like 1130. And then you let it go when you say okay, now I need to eat I'm I'm going I'm starving, you are breaking the rules, and then then you are having that one thing, and you break those rules. And then you are like that pocket, I already screwed it up that it says it doesn't matter anymore, I can now eat whatever you want. So this is often what is that what is leading when you use those rules from somebody else, or you decide that now I can't eat sucrose, but then you are as a somewhere seeing some delicious doughnuts or ice cream or something or, or and then you're like to die can't have a habit, but then you can't tell yourself that I don't like you don't have that kind of willpower anymore. And then you are ending up you are eating it. And then that's the moment often when you can't anymore control yourself and you feel that you don't have the power, it's your fault. Because if you would be following that plan, and if you would be able to say no, you would be still reaching those goals. And now when you can't follow somebody else's rules, it's you feel kind of like a failure. So, these are these are kind of things what is what are most common reasons why you keep failing when you are when you need to and how to overcome them, then in then in software, so then how to actually fix them how to reframe your thoughts is that first thing is to, first of all, is to make decisions that you are going to success. And this is this is one of the scariest decisions, what do you have to make, because if you know if you really think that you are we are going to fail everybody we are going to there is going to happen there is I don't know any person and I know pretty successful people. But I don't know anyone who have never failed. And usually the most successful people they have failed the most because it means that they have been able to try something different, and that they are not afraid to try different things. And but when you make this course I'm here to give you confidence, if you make a decision that you are going to have success, you are going to have success. Because until you don't quit, it will be only a matter of time before you will have success. So and this is where most people when they end up quitting, they are thinking that now I'm when I'm not seeing fast enough results. I'm not. It's not going as I would like or I'm not able to follow those rules. I'm I don't have free power. This is the moment when most people quit. But when you have made that success that I'm going to success this time, and it doesn't matter and sooner you understand that this is not going to be it's not a race, it is when you are changing, like let's say that somebody who is 4050 years old and have had the same kind of habits which are which have created from your childhood, you have had your relationship with your parents, you might have friends, you have your spouse, who have all these things and what you have kind of doing everything every time for decades. And now you are expecting most of the people expect that when they are starting on Monday that you are able to change kind of everything at once and be good for the rest of your life. That's that's if you really think that's that's really unrealistic to expect that so that you can expect that there will be some times that it's not going to it's going to be challenging, you are going to fail off or feeling that you are failing off track. But once you make decision that you are going to success, it will be only a matter of time. And that was the only way to fail is to quit and that when you really think that it really is like that and sooner you understand that this is going to be This is meant to be for life not for for a month, week 30 days some challenge, this is this, this will that you will start to change everything and your thought process it becomes so much more easier. So, and then when most of the people, what is what is one of the thoughts from from your life, why you have actually failed in a best, which this is something what most people question what they are never asking themselves. So they are, they are thinking that, tell me what to do. And if I may say that I have I would have I would give you 10 different strategies, but I don't know what is working for you. But then if you first know that, at least, why you have this is that fear of failure. Like if you have if you have had some kind of success with your diet, let's say that you have done keto with what you think is a success that you have lost weight with keto for first month or something, but then you have gained everything that is not actually success, because you are not successes that you are, you are able to make progress and maintain that also after. So if you have had some kind of success in the beginning, like I said, diets work for a very simple reason. But if you are not able to maintain it, it's not it's never going to be success. So what was the reason if you really think that what you why you why it was not working in the past, were you craving something where you kind of hungry all the time, and you couldn't keep it up. And when you know those failures, why they were missing, like most of the people, they try to go too fast. And that is why they end up, they end up starving, they cut carbs out, they don't have energy to work out to live. And those are all then at some point leading that you don't, it might work very well. First time when you eat something new you are trying. But when you are doing it for several times, it's at some point, it's not going to work anymore. And if you can demand some to do something for let's say at least five years from now, it's not it doesn't matter what you are doing, because you are not going to be able to maintain those your results anyways. So when you acknowledge why you have done something wrong, that is the first step to create a better future, then, then, like I already talked how you are then you are learning to use those feelers like if your goal is to have be, let's say that more confidence more healthier relationship with food, when you when you use those feelers as a lesson, and you are not repeating the same mistakes over and over again. Because that is that is adding like I used this example before losing weight with keto thing, gaining everything back. And then thinking that I need to do it one more time. Because time wasn't right, I didn't have real power, you are repeating same mistake over and over again. So if something is not working, it's not I'm not saying that it's a bad thing. But but that you are you you need to understand and learn from those mistakes that you are not repeating that same cycle over and over again. And that if you if you have always if you have I know that all most of the people like who I don't know anyone who would like to get fast results, but when it comes to fat loss, weight loss, if you're if you are trying to speed up the process goal finding the fastest way of the universe to lose weight, it's not going to cause it's, it's very simple, then you are eating just even less than usually. And if you try to choose the fastest way, it's probably going to be the most unsustainable way you will find so don't repeat mistakes what you have done in the past. And then you'd like how you could then learn to make progress I even while you are being in busy at work with or with the family or something is happening in our life. And the status quo of life is always it's kind of seasons, if you think like a year, there's always or at least I don't know, depending where you are living. But if you think that here in Italy, where I live, we have four seasons, there is winter, then after Winter is Coming always spring summertime out. And so it's it's like economics, it's going up and down. And that it's always your life will be full of different kinds of seasons, there's going to be busy seasons, there's going to be easier times and if you are kind of searching that what is the best way or best time that I need to win. I'm more mostly That's the excuse what I hear that I'm now so busy that I can't do anything. And instead when you start asking little bit better questions from yourself, that's how I'm able to make progress is always different. So how I'm able to make progress See even at this time, and you are asking better questions that what how that your your progress, what would be a progress because progress is different in every season. at some position, when you have more available time, then you can you have maybe more time to track your food, do your workouts, pay more attention. But if you need to find a free start every time when you have more time available, then it's going to be so hard if you have done it a couple of times, you know that starting over, it's always so hard. And and that instinct when you are first of all, you keep those like how I always like to frame it when I start working which people like even like you can imagine most of the people when they come to me and start working with me, they are highly motivated, they are they have made something have usually happened in their life that they have got that motivation. But now it's time to make change. Like maybe there is somebody is getting sick in family, maybe yourself you get some diagnose that now you have to do something and that was enough just to get started that now I need to get started. And then they are highly motivated to start working out. But when I start talking to people as the first goal is to take leaving little bit less what you are, what you are aiming for what you are, ideally would do, and aim for that for two months, because it's more important to keep your promises what you make to yourself, even they are. It doesn't matter how big or small those promises are. But you are building that confidence when you start to keep those promises. What do you make yourself so if you are if you know that there is a busy season in your life, and you can't work out for you, ideally, you would work out, let's say three times a week for an hour. And then there is a busy season. And now here's the Dow it's not a word of it to do anything because I don't have time. But if you instead of asking, what is vertifx is what is good or mark that is that is not like, I like to use the frame like that, do as little as possible to see just enough results to keep you going. And in busier times your progress is actually if you have never done, you have always been a person who have kind of quit and restarted when something happens or life is getting busy. If at this time, you are able to do at least something and keeping your promise, like even that small promise for yourself, that is actually a progress. So go with your expectations slower, and aim for a little bit less, it could be like just going for a five minute walk or changing your workout clothes, it doesn't matter but go as low or if you are one hour working out both for 20 minutes or 10 minutes. It doesn't matter what kind of promise you make to yourself. But just keep learning to keep your promises in your worst weeks. And that is what you are what is going to build your confidence and everything. So and this exactly this applies same for vacation. Most people they are scared of being vacation. And this is it's kind of all or nothing thinking and if you think that you are going to lose all your progress in vacation, think like if you are thinking topside that if you are going to do everything perfectly you eat your meals, what you want to do have prepared everything you have done your workout, how much progress you are going to make in a one week or two weeks, there might be some progress, but it's not going to change anything. So don't think that you are going to change your life totally. But then let's move to if you are going to count calories or not. And what are the pros and cons of tracking your calories and using depths. So this is one of the most common questions I get every time that should I be dragging and counting my calories and and let's and this is Harish like I'm going to be completely honest. I'm a big fan of it of doing it but it's not the right thing for every person and depending on your situation. So, this is almost like I have talked earlier is that that what is the biggest advantage of that calorie counting is to become aware of your calorie intake. So it helps you to simply knowing about your current habits what you are at the moment doing to do be aware of what how many calories you're eating, how much protein you are eating. And then when you are when you are what often happens when people who for example start to work with me they start to track their calories they are like holy shit I didn't know that this food what I let's say ice cream or or and snacks what I love eating that they have so many calories. So you are becoming aware of portions of portion controls and different foods, how much protein like most, especially women, for example, they I'm asking it, what do you how do you know that you need to increase for example, your protein intake, but you are not. And then you think that you're I had an egg as a breakfast, then is that how much protein actually one egg has. And then when you do it, and you learn that, holy shit, it has seven grams of protein, one egg, and I thought that I was eating protein. And now your goal should be like, let's say 120 grams of protein, and you are making calculations that that's like 20x or 18x in a day, and there's no way I'm going to get it, but then when you are you are getting more information and you are becoming aware, because this is the key word to what actually what is what is the best strategy to start improving something is that to become aware of what you are currently doing. And, and that is, that is, together with that foods, what you are eating that about portion control. So if you are actually measuring it, those are these are now pros, what I'm talking and you know about portion control. So if you don't use most of people, they never actually use scale rate, or scale to measure their food because it says the ice and then you know, it depends like how big is your plate, what kind of what things you are doing like and you don't really you are not aware how much actually what portion, what kind of portion sizes you are actually eating. And then approach what I still what comes to my mind or what I've wrote down is kind of that accountability and motivation. So it's it's most of the like my my dragging up what I use for my clients, it's it's there is a progress tracking, it's in in you can choose reminders, community support, what what I love having read my community log, so you feel like you are not alone doing this. And then you know, there is coming some sort that, do you remember to track your let's say breakfast, you see how much protein you have been eating, you are learning foods, what you are eating, and then when you are trying to starting to build those strategies, how I should get more protein, for example, or how I could reduce my calories or do like do I need to eat more of something, then it comes everything kind of goes together and you can you find it find that kind of your freedom when you know that if you're you have your whole life what we what I like to use the finances, your goal is to have $1,000 or euros in your bank account, you could be ending up working then out then dollar or euro at desk per hour. And when you have 100 hours you have your 1000 or you could be working let's say 50 hours or 100 hours in advance and sell it sell create some product or something and then sell it once and get the 1000 So those are both they are there is no right or wrong way to do it. And and it says that it's up to you how you choose, but you have to have you have your goal, you have your kind of guidelines, and then how you end up there, it's totally up to you. And and this is this is how those that tracking is working that you don't you create your own rules. So and it's also it's giving you personalization. So you have those your individual needs, like how Michael was it's not the calorie goal, it's not the same for every single person. So some person obviously what whatever your goal is, let's start with that if your goal is to maintain your weight or lose weight or add some muscle then then you need to have different calorie goals and that gives you the freedom that okay now I have more freedom to eat more. And obviously for every single person depending on activity level, their size, gender, though many things which are affecting that how many What is your that actually that calorie goal? So it gives you that kind of personalization, and it's your number what you are going to choose to. So then there is also some cons what most of the people they don't like to talk like that what is what are them why I should not be doing like obviously most of the people know the time and effort like so it takes some time. It doesn't take that long if you do it accurately. I would say that it's maybe 10 minutes per day, five to 10 minutes, not more and And it's a skill. Like if you think it Like any skill, in the beginning, you need a little bit more time of doing it when you are learning a new skill. In the beginning, it feels hard, it feels challenging, but when you are used to it, you are doing it, it's coming automatically. And you don't need many minutes per day to do it. So in the beginning, you might be thinking that if I started researching all kinds of nutritional information, measuring and weighing that food and putting it into app or tracking system, and then it feels like that I don't have time and I don't have interest. And this is I totally get it. And this is why I actually this is I'm going to share you now some new technology, what I love to use what I gave that tip for my clients, you get pretty accurate like that, if you are using like a set CBT, or some kind of artificial intelligence, like if you post they are actually it's a lot better than Google, for example. So if you have never tried it, it's set GPT you can search basically all information, but you still have to write down your what you are what everything you are putting into your mouth. So for if you write down everything that you put into your mouth, like it don't have to be accurate, but let's say that you put that it's going to be half avocado, then you had a cup of coffee, then you had a dose with the ham and chicken, or with ham and cheese, and whatever you had, you had a plate of pasta with what was on top of it. So the more accurate information you get, and when you actually write that down. Or that you can take your notes in your phone, right in there, everything like obviously more accurate you are able to give that information better answer and more accurate answer you ready to get. But if you have just becoming aware, that's the simplest way you are, you are writing down everything you put to your mouth and then you ask Ted CPD that can you give me the amount of calories and protein as those are the most important things, what you should be no, knowing how much you are eating and becoming aware, you give at least you get get, it's give you all calories, pretty accurate information. And then you ask them to count them together, put your daily total calories, daily total protein, so you get pretty accurate information about total amount of calories by simply doing that CPD. So this if you are finding these kinds of that it's time wasting that you based, but somehow you need to become aware, but then other comes what I have is that, that using them too, it's kind of it might get stress and becoming really obsessed with that. So, so if you are someone who is really prone to get some obsessive behaviors and maybe have some kind of history of disordered eating tracking calories it can come like unhealthy obsession. So, if you are consistently worrying about your money numbers and restricting food intake excessively, it can lead to stress anxiety, and I was actually talking with one woman my friend or was telling that that kind of data feeds this is the only thing what is under control so see have that calorie tracking see have turned it into another diet and really obsessive the eating disorder. So when you are if you are recognizing that you are getting dose that it's getting like too obsessive that there is nothing no nothing else matters and those numbers than then I definitely you should not be there you should not be tracking your calories because there are some other other strategies like focusing on Intuitive Eating mindful eating or following some balanced meals or something something like more suitable approaches, there are so many of them. And then other other what kind of conch is for for tracking calories is that it's those old tracking apps they are not very accurate. So there are so many variability. So data bases they are not always the most accurate and then you are thinking that you know, is this worth of it that there is I don't know if this is the right values, it's the wrong one. And that this is this is also also important to understand that make the most out of it. Like it don't have to be 100% accurate like like I said the most biggest goal is to become aware of what you are eating and if it's not everything like That's why like you know I love to take my clients would they have been held they are tracking especially in the beginning that they are using accurate information. And you can you can if you have write down for example, take it from chat CPT, you could could be writing or list of foods and then control your tracking app. And you will get good, pretty good, an accurate estimate what it should be. And if there is some mistakes, then you might be looking with those old foods like usually they have like, at least my tracking app is having some validated products, what are the best to choose when you are deciding or, or, like, the best thing is always to check from label or use the barcode scanner if you have that available. So this is giving that's giving you always accurate information, but it's not, it's never going to be 100% accurate. So don't let this kind of your perfect unison, thinking that if it's if I can track it perfectly, then I don't need to track at all. But but this is something something, what you should be also aware by and also other countries that you don't you don't you know, it's not it's not telling always that quality of the nutrition. So it's just the numbers game. But obviously things matters like that nutrients, if you are getting vitamins, minerals, fiber, they are essential for good health. But they should be you are not always seeing those things if you focus just on galleries. But trust me if you focus on galleries, and that kind of tips Pete's are keeping you full, I'd even it's true that you if you are in a calorie deficit doesn't matter, you would be eating Sucre for your calorie target and somehow get your protein. But it's still it's still not going to be the best for your health. So that is always going to be a little bit combination of both. But it's not. The main point, main takeaway to get out from this is that calorie counting, and it's it. And using apps, it's not necessary for everyone. And it's not it's a skill, what you should be what I always recommend to use, or to learn at least once in your life. And when you have done it, you can always then it's kind of still like riding a bicycle that you have learned it once. And even if you don't ride a bike for years, you can go back into it pretty quickly, pretty fast. And usually you are able to use it. And you can learn it and it's something would like for example, tracking calories when you have learned it once you have done it a week or two in your life. At some point, you can go all the way back you learn so much more about your own health and nutrition. But it's not. It's not something what you should be probably like for some people, it's so helpful that they enjoy doing it. But if it's getting too you are getting too obsessive with it, then do some other practice some other strategies like those intuitive eating, mindful eating, and and that's kind of what promotes kind of more healthy relationship with food than then tracking calories if that is going to persist. So this was episode for today. Thank you so much for listening and talk to you soon.