Archive | June, 2012

Calories In vs Calories Out Smackdown


Calories in < Calories Out = weight loss

How many times have you heard this grim equation?

Look, you can’t argue with physics – it’s true, you need to consume less calories than you burn in order to lose weight. But the Calories In & Out debate is only a small part of the overall health equation.

Protein > Fat > Carbs

In the weight loss equation, protein fares slightly better than fat which fares slightly better than carbs. ie – people who got the majority of their calories from protein were able to lose & maintain more weight than those on fat or carb rich diets.

But don’t fall into the trap of thinking carbs are evil. In his fantastic book, In Defense of Food, Michael Pollan shows that historically each main component of food has been vilified at some point. While these days everyone seems to be terrified of carbs, in the 90s it was fat, and in the 50s it was protein.

You do need all three macronutrients in your diet. Your brain requires glucose (from carbs) to function; some vitamins are only fat soluble (so you need fat in your diet to absorb them); and protein helps build muscle (so you don’t shrivel down to a skeleton).

Eating X calories ≠ Y hours of exercise

I bet you’ve seen a ton of calories vs exercise equations. They go something like “eat a Mars Bar and run on the treadmill for 3 hours”. The only thing these equations are good for is understanding calorie density. Food manufacturers have managed to condense massive amounts of calories into tiny tasty morsels.

From an evolutionary perspective, to get the same amount of calories from a Mars Bar you probably would have had to eat the entire wildebeest yourself.

So understanding calorie density is important.

But to then think the only way you could eat anything is to hold a mental (or physical) calculation of how much exercise you need to do in order to burn it off is a waste of your time.

Your body is an incredibly complex organisation of 50 trillion cells all working together to keep you alive, conscious, safe and content.

The amount of body mass (which includes organs & bones), the amount of lean muscle mass, your hormones and your genetics all play a part in how many calories your burn just by sitting reading this blog. Let alone how many you burn while you’re exercising.

Exercise = BIG PICTURE

Ya gotta look at the big picture.

Exercise gives you a TON of benefits that far outweigh just burning off your food. Increasing lung capacity, cardio endurance, and building lean muscle mass are all obvious and long touted ones.

Moreover, it helps you be able to run for the bus, carry the heavy shopping up the stairs, pick up a child, play in the park with them, it gives you emotional resilience so you can comfort a friend, increases your libido (wink wink nudge nudge) and lifts your mood.

In fact exercise was the Number 1 factor in improving wellbeing across a huge cross section of studies. Check out this amazing animation called 23 and 1/2 hours by Dr Mike Evans.

Food + Do + Positive Attitude = Good Mood

Personally, I prefer this equation for sustainable health.

Eat wholesome, nutritious food that brings you joy.

Do a type of exercise / form of movement every day that brings you joy.

Have an attitude of gratitude.


Over to you? Do you have any health equations? What do you think of counting calories?


Welcome comrades from Destination Wellness & Wellbeing

Greetings comrade!

A very special welcome to The Attitude Revolution if you are visiting from Destination Wellness & Wellbeing.

This site is dedicated to helping you change your mind about your body with heartfelt and practical strategies, so you can start loving who you are and the body you’re in.

Everyone is totally unique and no-one except for you truly understands what is best for you, and your highest good. So these strategies are designed for you to connect to your inner truth, unlock understanding and help you do a 180 degree turn towards love and joy.

I hope you enjoy your time here and that you’ll join the Attitude Revolution. You can connect with me on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest. And so you never miss an update, subscribe for weekly transmissions delivered straight to your inbox.

ps - Thank you Dani Pepper for your amazing website and your beautiful post.


A tribute to Neko-chan

This isn’t a real post. It is complete navel gazing. But I needed to write from the heart.

Today I am grieving. Today I am heartbroken. Today I lost my beautiful cat.

Compared to the many greivances and suffering in this world, the death of a pet seems small. But my partner and I loved her, and I know she loved us. We all had a very special bond. She was our furbaby.

She possessed many qualities which I aspire to. She was intensely curious, actively playful, very gentle, and lovingly affectionate.

We named her Neko-chan (which is Japanese for kitty-cat). We rescued her from the RSPCA when she was 11 months old in February last year. So I know that for at least half her life she was loved and taken care of. I think she was grateful to us for that, and I am grateful for the joy she brought to our daily lives.

These are the very small ways I am trying to cope with the very sudden loss.

  1. Remembering the joyful times. Neko-chan had a very playful and gentle nature, and we all shared many happy memories together.
  2. Remembering that we rescued her and gave her love. Many other animals aren’t that fortunate.
  3. Having a bloody good cry. Every now and then I am overwhelmed by tears and it helps me let them out, rather than bottling them up.
  4. Using distraction. Like writing this post for example.
  5. Remembering to breathe and “sit in the tension”. Pain and grief are uncomfortable, but sometimes we have no choice but to be in it until “this too shall pass”.

This pain has very much triggered my desire to binge like crazy and numb myself with sugary sweetness. I’m trying hard to find other ways to comfort myself. If you have any other tips or strategies on how to cope with loss, I’d love to hear them.

Again, apologies for the self-indulgent post. I will write a real one soon.

Thank you for understanding.