This is probably one of the weirdest issues in the fitness industry to date. I've seen trainers post massive facebook/insta blurbs and charge clients up to £45 for " bespoke meal plans" that are literally copy and paste replicas.
This "i've got the answer" kind of binary mindset does fuel plenty of heated debates. Especially when it comes to one topic in particular: “calories in vs. calories out”
Let's make it simple: When you take in more energy than you burn, you gain weight. When you take in less energy than you burn, you lose weight. This is a fundamental concept in body weight regulation, and about as close to scientific fact as we can get.
So what's the issue? The above concept doesn't make people money. So enter uneducated (and when i say this, i mean lacking of a degree or qualification allowing them to wade into scientific fact) "hormone imbalances, insulin resistance, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and other health problems that affect metabolism".
Now, all of the above can have an effect on weight loss/gain. That's true. But it's the claim that certain diets and foods provide a “metabolic advantage,” helping you lose weight without worrying about the absolutely proven cals in vs cals out.
It's difficult, as neither viewpoint is completely wrong. But neither is completely right, either. Whether you’re a health and fitness coach tasked with helping clients manage their weight—or you’re trying to learn how to do that for yourself—adopting an extreme position on this topic is problematic; it prevents you from seeing the bigger picture. Many of the cals in vs cals out debates seem to stem from misconceptions, oversimplifications, and a failure (by both sides) to find a shared understanding of concepts. Additionally, many people don't want to give up their lifestyle. In my experience, people tend to want all the best of both sides, they want to get in shape and tone up whilst also maintaining their social lifestyles. Now it's becoming easy for trainers to advertise they've got the magical answer. "it's all carbs, Keto and you'll quickly lose that body fat". Yeah you will, as long as you're in a caloric deficit. this is the same as every other fad diet or meal plan, as long as you're eating less than you're using, you'll lose weight. Finding the balance that allows you to maintain high levels of energy needed for exercising daily, whilst also safely losing weight is usually the difficult bit. Shredding diets, putting clients down as low as 1400/1500 cals is the norm now, you'll look great in 6-12 weeks, but it's unmaintainable and after 4 weeks you'll gain a lot of it back and find yourself back at your trainer as they rub their hands in money.
“Eat less, move more” only takes into account the calories you eat and the calories you burn through exercise and other daily movement. But it's really an informal way of expressing the Energy Balance Equation, which is far more involved. This has to include all the complex inner workings of the body, as well as the external factors that ultimately impact “calories in” and “calories out.” Imperative to this, and often overlooked, is your brain. It’s constantly monitoring and controlling CICO. Think of it as mission control, sending and receiving messages that involve your gut, hormones, organs, muscles, bones, fat cells, external stimuli (and more), to help balance “energy in” and “energy out.” It’s one hell of a complicated—and beautiful—system. Yet the Energy Balance Equation itself looks really simple:
[Energy in] - [Energy out] = Changes in body stores*
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