By: Erin McDermott, BA, CPT and leader of Erin’s Intelligent Eating Program!

In the United States, 45 million people attempt to diet each year. As a result, the weight loss industry is booming and has managed to convince Americans to spend over 66 billion dollars per year on weight loss products. Yet, the obesity rates in America continue to rise. However, numerous studies have demonstrated that the number of people who try to lose weight is declining. This demonstrates that Americans are becoming more overweight but have started giving up on losing it. So, what are we all doing so wrong? Why does it seem like everyone is trying to lose weight but no one has lost any? The key to answering these questions is a detail that everyone wants to leave out: calories.

If you google “weight loss,” there are endless results of products, businesses, and diets that all claim to get you quick results. However, what most diets neglect to include is information about calories. Today, it is as though calories are taboo. Most diets preach that all you have to do is eat “clean” foods and you’ll drop 50 pounds in a flash. Unfortunately, this is the misconception that leads most Americans to fail at their weight loss efforts.

Fad diets such as clean eating, paleo, keto, vegetarianism, Atkins, etc., all claim that a certain combination of foods will be optimal for weight loss. However, what they fail to emphasize is that the types of food you eat matter much less than the amount you eat.

Every food has a caloric value, even healthy ones. If you eat more calories than your body uses in a day, you will gain weight; if you eat slightly less calories than your body uses throughout the day, you will lose weight. It is important to note that different people need different amounts of calories per day depending on a variety of factors, including their metabolism, body composition, and activity level. Thus, the first step of weight loss is knowing the optimal amount of calories to keep your body functioning properly while still promoting slow and steady weight loss.

It is important to note that nutrition is certainly a vital component to weight loss. However, the reason is far more complex than simply saying that clean foods will make you lose weight. What most people do not realize is that all foods will break down into three main nutrients. Collectively, they are called macronutrients, and include protein, carbohydrates and fat. Each of these macronutrients play a different part in your metabolism, and all must be consumed at appropriate amounts.

The reason that eating healthy foods is not sufficient for weight loss is that you do not know how many calories you are eating nor how much of each macronutrient you consume. For example, an avocado can have the same amount of fat and calories as a cheeseburger. If you eat too many calories, no matter what food it comes from, you will gain weight. The benefit of viewing food in the form of macronutrients is that you can still eat an occasional cheeseburger and continue to reach your goals. This strategy gives you the freedom to eat the foods you love without sabotaging your efforts. The best diet is certainly no diet at all!

Whether you are interested in losing the last five pounds or the first fifty pounds, tracking your calories and macronutrients is going to get your there. It will not be a quick and easy process, but Erin’s Intelligent Eating Program at Intelligent Fitness gives you the proper guidance if a little extra help is needed.

At IF, we understand that if you want to lose weight once and for all, you must fuel your body with the nutrients it needs while fueling your soul with the occasional beer, brownie or burger. So what are you waiting for? With Erin’s Intelligent Eating Program’s flexible dieting program, there is nothing to lose but those extra few pounds and the frustration of starting up a new diet each month.

Welcome to food freedom!