Dieting myth #3: It’s simple math!

Dieting myth #3: It’s simple math!

We’ve all heard this one, right – it’s just calories in vs calories out. You just need to exercise more and eat less. Do the numbers and you’ll see what the problem is.

There are people for whom this is true – they’re usually the ones telling you that it’s “simply a matter of eating less and moving more”.

But for the rest of us – surely if this were the case, if it was this simple, we wouldn’t have such an issue with weight? We would all just go for a walk after work, eat a bit less pasta at dinner time, skip the donuts at morning tea, and we’d be within our healthy weight range in a matter of weeks/months.

Now, while the simplest answer is quite often the correct answer, it’s important to realise that in this case – it really ISN’T that simple. Wouldn’t it be great if it was. In reality, our bodies are so much more complex than the simple “calories in-calories out” equation would imply. With an endless supply of alternate pathways, metabolic redundancies and biochemical complexities, our bodies can do all sorts of different things with the nutrients we consume. Our individual hormone, nutrient and neurotransmitter status, along with our genes, digestive health and activity levels, all contribute to the way we utilise our food and burn energy.

For example: if you are a highly stressed person, that can have a significant impact on your ability to lose weight; and that impact can be different for different people. In some people, the stress response leads to weight loss and difficulty regaining weight; for others, stress causes an increase in fat stores, and increased difficulty losing weight. In addition, throwing exercise into the mix in both of these cases can make matters worse.

Likewise, if you have issues with hormonal balance, insulin regulation, liver function or kidney function, all of these can impact your weight and your ability to lose weight.

And as I’ve written about previously, the very act of restricting calories in an attempt to shift the balance of energy in vs energy out can activate metabolic, hormonal and neural processes specifically designed to inhibit or counteract weight-loss.

So if you are one of the lucky ones who can make a simple adjustment of food intake and exercise levels and see a sustainable change in your weight, then you are lucky indeed! For the rest of us, while this approach will usually see some initial results, there are usually many other factors at play which mean that the longer weight loss journey can require a different approach.



Read “Dieting Myth #1: All you need is willpower”.

Read “Dieting Myth #2: Health & Happiness – only 10 kilos away”.


What about you – has this approach worked for you? There are some pretty complex concepts in here that can take time to come to terms with when you try to apply them to your own life. Don’t hesitate to seek out some gentle, supportive healthcare practitioners to help you on your journey.

xx Leesa

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