I originally wrote this article almost a year ago, but after the controversy of the past week with Joe Wicks and with the national media picking up on the image above, I think it is time to revisit this subject.
Joe Wicks, or ‘The Body Coach’ as he is known has become a phenomenon in the fitness and healthy eating community.
His ‘Lean in 15’ books are best sellers and people from all around the world are using them daily.
Let’s get one thing straight before we go further, I actually like Joe and his message isn’t bad, and it’s better than some of the posts that I see out there.
However, Joe’s philosophy seems to be that if you are eating healthy fats in your diet, your body will burn more calories and burn more fat.
This simply isn’t true.
In his ‘Lean in 15’ book, his Chorizo Chicken recipe comes in at a whopping 1120 calories and it is down as a single serving.
That is almost the daily calorie allowance for a small female looking for weight loss.
It is almost half of the daily calories I was on while dieting last year.
But there is no calorie count in any of the recipes in any of his books.
You, as you should, trust that the author has researched the ingredients and is putting you in the best possible place for your health and weight. Unfortunately, in this case, they did not.
But Joe is not alone with this way of thinking. In Roz Purcell’s book, ‘Natural Born Feeder’, there is a cheesecake recipe that made its way into some magazines as “a healthy alternative that is actually good for you”.
The idea behind this was that it was lower in carbohydrates than most cheesecakes and it had more protein, so it was better than a generic homemade or store bought one.
However, this ‘healthy’ alternative came in at almost 6200 calories.
The base alone had almost 4000 calories due to the amount of nuts in it.
If you cut it into 12 slices you were still getting over 500 calories per slice.
In a Tesco brand Strawberry cheesecake, you are getting 1250 calories per 500g cheesecake.
So things don’t exactly add up when it comes to using ‘fat’ as the alternative to carbs.
There is an ongoing idea within differing communities online that if your diet is low in carbs or in any way ‘clean eating’, then you can eat as much as you like and still burn fat.
This idea is usually backed up with before and after photos or a post about a friend who has done this and lost weight.
This unfortunately isn’t the case.
Whether you believe it or not, calories count.
At the base of any weight loss program or diet is calories.
If you are eating more than you are expending, you will gain weight.
If your calorie intake matches your expenditure, you will maintain your current weight.
If your calorie intake is lower than your expenditure, you will lose weight.
This doesn’t change.
It doesn’t matter how you look at it or what diet program you are following. This is true for all of them.
If we look at the list of ‘healthy’ foods that are being marketed as such at the minute, the one thing that they all have in common, is they are extremely calorie dense, meaning you will be getting loads of calories for small amounts of that food.
Nuts, cereal bars, smoothies, gluten free foods, dried fruit, flavoured yoghurts, fruit juice, breakfast cereals, coconut oil, butter, all other oils.
That isn’t saying that these are bad for you and should be excluded from your diet, but if you are not taking the right amounts it is very easy to take in large amounts of calories from small amounts of these foods.
The following picture shows you different foods that all have 200 calories.
You can see at the bottom that butter and peanut butter are very small amounts compared to the fruit and vegetable servings at the top of the image.
Yet butter and peanut butter are being heralded as virtual superfoods that will help you to lose weight.
They can be added into your diet in small amounts, but if you are adding them in larger amounts, it is very easy to be taking in small amounts of food, but still be way over on your daily calorie allowance.
Fat is the ‘in-food’ at the moment.
The problem is that the information being given is not coherent enough.
It doesn’t explain that if fat is high, carbs should be lower and that eating a low carb and high fat diet doesn’t allow for binging on junk foods along with it. (That is a recipe for disaster)
Fat is extremely calorie dense. If you have a lot of it in your diet and you are not aware of how much you are eating, you could be going over your daily calorie allowance without even realising it.
Eating healthy and eating for weight loss are not the same thing.
If you are currently eating what you think is healthy and wondering why you cannot lose weight, you need to reassess your food portions and remember to watch the amount of oils and dressings you are cooking with and adding to foods.
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