You’ve heard for years that the equation is simple: burn off more calories than you take in, and you’ll lose weight. Seems simple enough, right? I mean, even people that aren’t good at math should be able to understand the concept without a calculator. The truth is, that logic is a bunch of hooey!
Case in point: One person consumes an 80-calorie popular brand energy drink with Sucralose. The other person consumes an 80-calorie piece of homemade chocolate cake (yes, it’s a small piece, but bear with me) with chocolate frosting made with whole, organic ingredients, and yes, that means butter. Which one of these 80-calorie concoctions do you have a shot at burning off in its entirety with your evening session at the gym? You got it, the cake. Why? Because the cake isn’t loaded with chemicals, and all the chemicals in that energy drink were most likely encased in fat and STORED. Yes, that’s right, STORED IN FAT.
Our digestive systems are fantastic machines and know how to recognize the nutrients we need. It extracts them and sends them throughout the body for immediate use, or storage for later use. The “storage” includes muscles which will hold sugar. So the sugar in the cake can be stored for later use by the muscles OR later release, if the body needs it. When our digestive system encounters something it does not recognize, e.g. a CHEMICAL COMPOUND, it says “yeah, I don’t know what the fuck this is. It might be poison that could hurt the kidneys, liver, colon, etc., I’d better throw a blob of fat around it, and put it somewhere until I can figure it out.” Your 80 calorie concoction just got surrounded in a bunch of fat. And remember one gram of fat is 9 calories. What if each molecule of the chemicals that are inside the 80-calorie drink got surrounded by a gram of fat? That’s 9 extra calories per chemical molecule that it is now going to take to burn it off. Damn that’s a lot of gym time. I’ll take the chocolate cake and do 30 minutes on the treadmill. The fat molecules in the cake don’t need to be surrounded by more fat molecules to store them. The fat in the cake is sort of “what you see is what you get.” If the cake was made with applesauce in place of the fat, guess what… you’ve only got to worry about the carbs.
It makes me crazy when I try to explain to a coaching client that it doesn’t matter how many calories are in something, but what is making up the calories, and they turn a deaf ear. I’m committed to my clients. I’m committed to their health. I adopted the coaching philosophy of the late great Dallas Cowboys head coach Tom Landry when he said, “A coach is someone who tells you what you don’t want to hear, who has you see what you don’t want to see, so you can be who you have always known you could be.”
I’d rather see them eat the chocolate cake, even though the more chemicals they eat, the longer they’ll need my services. It isn’t a win for me. It’s a loss for both of us.