The Truth About Counting Calories And Weight Loss

We Highly Recommend Tom Venuto’s – Burn The Fat Feed the Muscle

The Truth About Counting Calories And Weight Loss
By Tom Venuto, NSCA-CPT, CSCS
Author of the best selling ebook – Burn The Fat Feed the Muscle

 

Tom Venuto is the author of Burn The Fat Feed the Muscle – Click on Pic

Tom Venuto weighs in on the most controversial subjects about counting calories and weight loss.  One of the benefits taught by weight loss guru’s is that you do not have to count calories to lose weight.  Check out Tom’s thoughts.

Do calories matter or do you simply need to eat certain foods and that will guarantee you’ll lose weight? Should you count calories or can you just count “portions?” Is it necessary to keep a food diary? Is it unrealistic to count calories for the rest of your life or is that just part of the price you pay for a better body? You’re about to learn the answers to these questions and discover a simple solution for keeping track of your food intake without having to crunch numbers every day or become a fanatic about it.

In many popular diet books, “Calories don’t count” is a frequently repeated theme. Other popular programs, such as Bill Phillip’s “Body For Life,” stress the importance of energy intake versus energy output, but recommend that you count “portions” rather than calories…

Phillips wrote,

“There aren’t many people who can keep track of their calorie intake for an extended period of time. As an alternative, I recommend counting ‘portions.’ A portion of food is roughly equal to the size of your clenched fist or the palm of your hand. Each portion of protein or carbohydrate typically contains between 100 and 150 calories. For example, one chicken breast is approximately one portion of protein, and one medium-sized baked potato is approximately one portion of carbohydrate.”

Phillips makes a good point that trying to count every single calorie – in the literal sense – can drive you crazy and is probably not realistic as a lifestyle for the long term. It’s one thing to count portions instead of calories – that is at least acknowledging the importance of portion control. However, it’s another altogether to deny that calories matter.

Calories do count! Any diet program that tells you, “calories don’t count” or you can “eat all you want and still lose weight” is a diet you should avoid because you are being lied to. The truth is, that line is a bunch of baloney designed to make a diet sound easier to follow.

Anything that sounds like work – such as counting calories, eating less or exercising, tends to scare away potential customers! The law of calorie balance is an unbreakable law of physics: Energy in versus energy out dictates whether you will gain, lose or maintain your weight. Period.

I believe that it’s very important to develop an understanding of and a respect for portion control and the law of calorie balance. I also believe it’s an important part of nutrition education to learn how many calories are in the foods you eat on a regular basis – including (and perhaps, especially) how many calories are in the foods you eat when you dine at restaurants.

The law of calorie balance says:

To maintain your weight, you must consume the same number of calories you burn. To gain weight, you must consume more calories than you burn. To lose weight, you must consume fewer calories than you burn.

If you only count portions or if you haven’t the slightest idea how many calories you’re eating, it’s a lot more likely that you’ll eat more than you realize. (Or you might take in fewer calories than you should, which triggers your body’s “starvation mode” and causes your metabolism to shut down).

So how do you balance practicality and realistic expectations with a nutrition program that gets results? Here’s a solution that’s a happy medium between strict calorie counting and just guessing:

Create a menu using an EXCEL spreadsheet or your favorite nutrition software. Crunch all the numbers including calories, protein, carbs and fats. Once you have your daily menu, print it, stick it on your refrigerator (and/or in your daily planner) and you now have an eating “goal” for the day, including a caloric target.

Rather than writing down every calorie one by one from every morsel of food you eat for the rest of your life, create a menu plan you can use as a daily goal and guideline. If you’re really ambitious, keeping a nutrition journal at least one time in your life for at least 4-12 weeks is a great idea and an incredible learning experience, but all you really need to get started on the road to a better body is one good menu on paper. If you get bored eating the same thing every day, you can create multiple menus, or just exchange foods using your primary menu as a template.

Using this meal planning method, you really only need to “count calories” once when you create your menus, not every day, ad infinitum. After you’ve got a knack for calories from this initial discipline of menu planning, then you can estimate portions in the future and get a pretty good (and more educated) ballpark figure.

So what’s the bottom line? Is it really necessary to count every calorie to lose weight? No. But it IS necessary to eat fewer calories then you burn. Whether you count calories and eat less than you burn, or you don’t count calories and eat less than you burn, the end result is the same – you lose weight. Which would you rather do: Take a wild guess, or increase your chance for success with some simple menu planning? I think the right choice is obvious.

What makes sense is that Tom provides specific facts about calorie counting. Some dieters and vendors are in denial that calories is important. All the vendors care about is the marketing message that you can lose weight quick and easy.

Comment below and give us your view.

For more information on calories (including how calculate precisely how many you should eat based on your age, activity and personal goals, and for even more practical, proven fat loss techniques to help you lose body fat safely, healthfully and permanently, check out my e-book, Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle at Burn The Fat Feed the Muscle

About the Author:

Tom Venuto is a lifetime natural bodybuilder, an NSCA-certified personal trainer (CPT), certified strength & conditioning specialist (CSCS), and author of the #1 best-selling e-book, “Burn the Fat, Feed The Muscle.” Tom has written more than 200 articles and has been featured in print magazines such as IRONMAN, Australian IRONMAN, Natural Bodybuilding, Muscular Development, Exercise for Men and Men’s Exercise, as well as on hundreds of websites worldwide. For information on Tom’s Fat Loss program, visit:

Burn The Fat Feed the Muscle

Everything You Need to Know About Loose Skin and Weight Loss

Everything You Need To Know About Loose Skin And Weight Loss
By Tom Venuto, NSCA-CPT, CSCS
Author of Burn The Fat Feed the Muscle

I receive a lot of e-mail from people with loose skin or from overweight people who are concerned about having loose skin after they lose the weight. In fact, this is one of the biggest concerns and most frequently asked questions I receive from men and women who have a lot of weight to lose.

Just recently, I received this email from a reader of my syndicated “Ask Tom” fat loss column:

“Tom, I began a fat loss program using your Burn The Fat system and it worked so well I got down to 15 1/2 stones (from 19). However, this has caused me a problem: Excess abdominal skin. I didn’t crash lose this weight, it came off at the rate of about 2 lbs. per week just like you recommended. Now I’m unsure of whether to carry on, as my abdomen has quite a lot of excess skin – I feel like I’ve turned into a bloody Shar-Pei! Does everyone go through this? Will the skin tighten up? I was overweight for more than 12 years. Am I going to end up needing surgical skin removal? Can you offer me any advice? I’m a medical student in the UK and my colleagues seem determined to proffer surgery as the only option.”

There are 14 things you should know about loose skin after very large weight losses:

1. Skin is incredibly elastic. Your skin can stretch and expand or tighten and retract to a great degree. Look at what women go through during pregnancy. Some women do experience stretch marks after pregnancy, but obviously skin is remarkably elastic.

2. Elasticity of skin depends on both genetics and environment/lifestyle. Wrinkling and loss of elasticity is partly the consequence of aging (genetic factors) and also a result of environmental factors such as oxidative stress, excessive sun exposure, and nutritional deficiency. The environmental parts you can fix, the genetics and age part, you cannot. Advice: Get moving and change the things you have control over… Be realistic and don’t worry about those things you don’t have control over.

3. How much your skin returns to its former tautness depends partly on age. The older you get, the more an extremely large weight loss can leave loose skin that will not return to normal.

4. How long you carry extra weight may influence how much the skin will become taut after the weight loss: For example, compare a 9 month pregnancy with 9 years carrying 100 excess pounds.

5. How much weight was carried has a lot to do with how much the skin will resume a tight appearance. Your skin can only be stretched so much and be expected to “snap back” one hundred percent. With extreme obesity, the probability of there still being loose skin after weight loss is higher.

6. How fast the weight was gained also has a lot to do with how much the skin will resume a tight appearance. Your skin can only be stretched so quickly and be expected to “snap back.”

7. How fast weight is lost also has a lot to do with how much the skin will tighten up. Rapid weight loss doesn’t allow the skin time to slowly resume to normal. (This is yet another reason to lose fat slowly; 1-2 pounds per week, 3 pounds at the most if you have a lot of weight to lose, and even then, only if you are measuring body fat and you’re certain it’s fat you’re losing, not lean tissue).

8. There are exceptions to all of the above; For example, people who gained and then lost incredible amounts of weight quickly at age 50 or 60, and their skin returned 100% to normal.

9. Creams probably don’t work. There are many creams advertised as having the ability to restore the tightness of your skin. the late bodybuilding guru Dan duchaine used to recommend topical creams made with pycnogenol, which contain the antioxidant bioflavanoids called proanthocyanidins. But to the best of my knowledge, none of the topical creams are scientifically validated. I haven’t even heard much anecdotal evidence that they work — at least not permanently and measurably — and especially if you have a lot of loose skin. There are definitely some topicals that will pull water from under your skin, but remeber, that is temporary. Buyer should beware with topical products. (as an aside, Ive also heard anectodal reports that skin brushing was helpful, but again, I am not aware of any scientific evidence proving this is effective).

10. Nutrition has a lot to do with the health of your skin. Essential fatty acids in particular are very valuable for many reasons, and one of them is for the health of your skin. It would be worth taking an EFA supplement such as fish oil, flax oil or an oil blend like Udo’s choice. Antioxidants are also very important, so be sure to consume copious amounts of a variety of vegetables and fruits. Also pay very close attention to hydration. Drink approximately a gallon of water a day or a minimum of half your body weight in ounces. (By the way, whey protein is high in a powerful antioxidant called glutathione).

11. Exercise has a lot to do with how your skin appears after you lose body fat. If you use very low calorie diets, you are likely to lose lean body mass, and this is going to exacerbate the loose, hanging skin appearance. On the other hand, if you are exercising regularly and increasing lean body mass with weight training, you will be more likely to minimize the appearance of loose skin.

12. Get second opinions if you are considering surgery.If you’re considering surgical skin removal, consult a physician for advice because this is not a minor operation, but keep in mind that your plastic surgeon may be making his BMW payments with your abdominoplasty money. (Surgery might be recommended in situations where it’s not 100% necessary). Surgery should be left as the absolute final option in extreme cases.

13. Give your skin time. Your skin will definitely get tighter as your body fat gets lower. I’ve seen and heard of many cases where the skin gradually tightened up, at least partially, after a one or two year period where the weight loss was maintained and exercise continued.

14. Know your body fat percentage before even thinking about surgery. Loose skin is one thing, but still having a lot of body fat is another. Be honest with yourself and do that by taking your body fat measurement. This can be done with skinfold calipers or a variety of other devices (calipers might not be the best method if you have large folds of loose skin. Look into impedance analysis, underwater weighing, DEXA or Bod Pod).

Suppose for example, a man drops from 35% body fat all the way down to 20%. He should be congratulated, but I would tell him, “Don’t complain about loose skin yet, your body fat is still high. Press onward and keep getting leaner and be sure to focus on strength training to increase lean body mass as well.”

Average body fat for men is in the mid teens (16% or so). Average body fat for women is in the 20-25% range. Good body fat for men is 10-12%, and single digits is extremely lean. Men shouldn’t expect to look “ripped” with 100% tight skin on the abs unless they have single digit body fat. Women shouldn’t expect to have tight abdominal skin unless they are in the low to mid teens in body fat.

Except in extreme cases, you are actually unlikely to see someone with loose skin who has very low body fat and especially someone who has not just “lost weight” but has altered body composition by adding lean muscle as well. It’s quite remarkable how much your skin can tighten up once your body fat goes from “average” to “excellent” and even more so when lean body mass increase. Someone with legitimate single digit body fat and a ton of loose skin is a rare sight.

So the key to getting tighter skin is to improve your body composition (muscle to fat ratio), and lose more body fat, slowly and sensibly, up to the point where your body composition rating is BETTER than average (in the “good” to “great” category, not just “okay”). Only AFTER you reach your long term body fat percentage goal should you give thought to “excess skin removal.” At that point, admittedly, there are bound to be a few isolated cases where surgery is necessary if you can’t live with the amount of loose skin remaining.

However, unless you are really, really lean, it’s difficult to get a clear picture of what is loose skin, what is just remaining body fat and how much further the skin will tighten up when the rest of the fat is lost.

Need help getting rid of that last bit of body body fat? Click here to find out how to do it the natural way.

Go—> Burn The Fat Feed The Muscle

About the Author:

Tom Venuto is a lifetime natural bodybuilder, an NSCA-certified personal trainer (CPT), certified strength & conditioning specialist (CSCS), and author of the #1 best-selling e-book, “Burn the Fat, Feed The Muscle.” Tom has written more than 200 articles and has been featured in print magazines such as IRONMAN, Australian IRONMAN, Natural Bodybuilding, Muscular Development, Exercise for Men and Men’s Exercise, as well as on hundreds of websites worldwide. For information on Tom’s Fat Loss program,

visit: Go—> Burn The Fat Feed The Muscle