You’ve heard the saying “Eat less, move more”? It means that you should cut calories out of your diet and burn some through exercise in order to create a caloric deficit, which will help you lose weight.

That was how I’d been taught to help clients reach their goals.

But it wasn’t working for me.

This over-simplistic message implies that simply creating the caloric deficit is all that’s needed to lose weight. And yes, this will give you results in the short-term. We’ve all seen people go on super low calorie diets that will help you lose weight very quickly. It’s a popular method and there are a ton of food tracking apps that we can use to keep track of our daily caloric intake.

Here is why this mantra is a problem: Not all calories are equal. Meaning, a carbohydrate calorie is different from a protein calorie, which is different from a fat calorie. Not to mention calories from different types of carbohydrate sources can be different, too.

These macronutrients that we eat all have different physiological effects on our bodies. Some release hormones that signal the body to store fat. Some keep us feeling full longer. Some give us quick energy. Some are stored more easily as fat.

Overall, caloric deficits can cause short term weight loss, but treating all calories the same and trying to cheat your body’s internal weight management system by keeping total calories too low, puts you into that restrictive mindset and can really have a negative  impact on your overall health.

Not to mention, when people start cutting calories, they tend to drop foods high in fat first, because they are so calorie dense. A gram of fat has 9 calories as compared to the 4 calories in a gram of either carbohydrate or protein.

But cutting out foods that contain the healthy fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, can really be bad for your health. Your body needs fat to maintain its energy and to support cell growth. Fat helps protect your organs. It also helps your body absorb certain nutrients and produce important hormones.

Our bodies need fat to maintain good health.

It’s important to understand the effects that different types of foods have on our bodies, and not view them all as equivalent

Overall, caloric deficits can cause short term weight loss, but treating all calories the same and trying to cheat your body’s internal weight management system by keeping total calories too low, puts you into that restrictive mindset and can really have an impact on your overall health.

Not to mention, when people start cutting calories, they tend to drop foods high in fat first, because they are so calorie dense. A gram of fat has 9 calories as compared to the 4 calories in a gram of either carbohydrate or protein. But cutting out foods that contain the healthy fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, can really be bad for your health.

After realizing I needed to really include all the macronutrients and include them all in healthy portions, I started following the accepted guidelines for portion control of different food groups. This led to my next mistake…relying on external direction on when and how much to eat.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or Registered Dietitian. The information presented is purely to share my experience and for entertainment purposes. As always, check with a doctor before making any fitness or nutrition changes. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site.