Chasing Calories Is Like Chasing a Unicorn
By Dr. Rick Kattouf II
It is all too common in the world of health, fitness and nutrition that individuals want to chase calories. They have this distorted and disordered view of nutrition and they feel as if there is some magic number in terms of calories that they need to hit order for them to achieve the body transformation results that they desire. Well, here's one guarantee; anyone that is going to adopt the calorie-chasing mentality is not going to achieve meaningful and sustainable results that they desire. As I discuss in my 3-DVD set, Rx Nutrition, "if it were as easy as calories in versus calories out, it would be that easy."
You might hear an individual’s verbiage go something like this, "the app I am using told me I need to eat 1200 cal each day." Wow, ahhh, now that's valuable information (I'm being sarcastic of course; there's virtually no value in that whatsoever). Simply trying to hit a certain number of calories per day is about as bad as it can get in the world of nutrition. This will send an individual down a long, dark, lonely, dead-end road, every time.
Let's say an individual wants to start running. Relating this to nutrition, telling someone to eat 1200 cal each day would be like telling this individual to, "just run." Hmm, again, super-valuable information right there, huh? If that's all the information the runner had, well, that is completely useless. They have no idea how much to run, how far, how intense, what heart rates they should run at, the frequency they should run at, etc. I'm sure you would agree, the answer of, "just run" has no value. Well, neither does, "just eat 1200 cal each day." Those two answers are on par with each other and both are useless.
What we have to keep in mind is that the total calories we consume in a day is not the most important factor. I don't want to give a mixed message, sure, total calories are important of course, but it's just one small piece to the puzzle. What's more important than simply total calories consumed in a day? It is the ability to successfully answer the following question, " how did I arrive at my total calories?" This is the critical question that must be answered successfully; that is of course, if we are looking for meaningful and sustainable results for a lifetime.
There are numerous different ways to reach a total number of calories by days end, but there's only one right way that's going to bring about positive results. Therefore, we have to switch our focus and switch our mindset. I realize this is a big change for many individuals. But let's look at this way, 99.99% of the calorie chasers out there aren't getting results but they continue to chase calories year after year and decade after decade, with no meaningful and sustainable results. That's why they keep chasing calories. Sure, they may lose a few pounds here or there, but they end up re-gaining more than they lose. And therefore, they continue on with their calorie chasing mentality, thinking that this will bring about results. But it never has and never will. Calorie chasers are your chronic dieters, your serial dieters, your yo-yo dieters. These individuals are never successful in achieving meaningful and sustainable results for a lifetime.
Chasing calories is a results-focused mindset (Focus on the Process, Get Amazing Results); just like focusing on weight loss, which is also a results-focused mindset. For amazing body transformation results, let's shift from the results-focused mindset to the process-focused mindset. By doing so, we can now successfully answer the question, "how did I arrive at my total calories today?" Successfully answering this question forces us to focus on the process. And when it comes to nutrition, the process is making sure that every meal and snack is properly balanced with the right amount of carbohydrate-protein-fat. And in addition, focusing on the process means that will be focusing on the right fueling frequency and the right fueling timing. Therefore, the process enables us to focus on one successful step at a time. We are going to focus on fueling the body right away upon awakening and then every three hours thereafter all throughout the day. It is this frequency and timing that will bring about success. And then, with every one of those meals and snacks, we will focus on making sure that each one is properly balanced with approximately 50-65% calories from carbohydrate, 15-25% calories from protein, 15-25% calories from fat.
When we break it down like this and have laser-like focus on the process, we completely take our mind off of the total calories and that is a good thing. No longer are we chasing this "magic number of calories"; rather, we are simply focusing on the right fueling frequency, the right fueling timing and we are focusing on fueling the body properly at every meal and snack. This is what, in time, will bring about meaningful and sustainable results for a lifetime.
We have to understand that the calorie chasing mindset is setting ourselves up for disaster. Why? Well, it's pretty simple. Individuals manipulate their nutrition all throughout the day just so they hit their magic number of calories, points, etc. They are not focused on the process. They are not focused on fueling their body properly throughout the day. They are not focused on the proper timing and frequency. Rather, they are simply focused on one number. There is not a whole lot of rhyme or reason as to how they hit that number; they just think that hitting that number will be the key to success. Therefore, this is where the manipulation starts to come into play.
For example, the calorie chaser knows that they're going to have a larger dinner tonight with friends and family and they want to enjoy this and consume some adult beverages as well. As a result, what do they do throughout the day? Well, they may skip meals or they may choose very low-calorie snacks because their goal is to "save up" calories in order to use the majority of them up that night it dinner. This is one of the most common ways a calorie chaser will approach each and every day. This makes absolutely no sense. And not only does it not make sense, it’s a train wreck in the making.
In summary, if we are looking to achieve meaningful and sustainable results for a lifetime, it all starts with the mindset. We have to change the belief in order to change the result. And this starts with changing the mindset. Starting today, I challenge you to completely abandon your calorie chasing mentality. As we discussed earlier, this is just sending you down a dark, lonely, desolate and dead-end road. Chasing a number is a results-focused mindset. Let's change that into a process-focused mindset. Focus on your fueling frequency. Focus on your fueling timing. Focus on properly balancing every meal and snack, each and every day. You have complete control over the process and therefore, let's put all of our time, effort, energy and focus towards what we can control and that is the process. Is today your day to stop being a calorie chaser?
WORKOUT SMART, EAT RIGHT, GET RESULTS®!
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Rick Kattouf II, O.D. is a 2x Best-Selling Author and Fitness & Nutrition expert and has been named one of America’s PremierExperts® and one of the World Fitness Elite® Trainers of the Year. Rick is a Sports Nutrition Specialist, Heart Rate Performance Specialist, Master Personal Trainer & Triathlon Coach. He has been seen on ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox affiliates around the country as well as in the USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Ironman.com, Livestrong.com, FIGHT! Magazine, Florida Cycling Magazine and The Independent in the UK. Rick is the CEO/Founder of TeamKattouf® Inc, CEO/Founder of TeamKattouf® Nutrition LLC, CEO/Founder of Virtual Gym LLC, Creator of TeamKattouf® Nutrition Supplements, Host of Rx Nutrition, author of Forever Fit, Creator of 5-Round Fury® Nutrition Supplement, 5-Round Fury Fitness® workout app, Creator of Coach2CEO, Creator of Fuel Keeper®, Entrepreneur and Inspirational Speaker. Dr. Rick has personally coached individuals in 30+ states and 10+ countries.