We have a guest blogger today and will for a few more weeks while Dr. Pardue is studying for an important exam. Today, Kyra Fowler, one of our nurse practitioners and the very first wellness counselor, that helped get this program running, is stopping by to shed some light on why simply counting calories isn’t the answer. Happy Reading!

So, we have all heard it, right?? Eat less, exercise more!! And how many of us have tried this and never seem to get the results we expect or desire? Unfortunately, this happens more often than not. A patient comes in for a physical with numerous issues to discuss and at the very end of the visit, they leave with the age old advice, “eat less, exercise more”. Now to defend this methodology for a moment, it sounds logical and simplistic and is quite time savvy, but nonetheless leaves patients confused and frustrated. What exactly am I to “eat less” of? And what exercises should I “do more”of?  The truth is that this is far from the entire picture and when we ask this of patients without further explanation it leaves them unequipped to make the appropriate changes to truly make a lifestyle change that will impact their health and well-being long term.

So why isn’t it just about consuming less calories than you expend? It’s a little more complex than this, and over the next couple of weeks I will help explain why there is truly more to the story. The kind of calories we consume are actually intrinsic to the amount of calories we metabolize and burn. Therefore, we want to emphasize the importance of the KIND of calories consumed over the NUMBER of calories. Consider this example for a moment: A 12 yr. old boy who weighs 100 lbs then 8 yrs later, at age 20, weighs 200lbs. Ok, so we know that 3,500 calories equals 1 lb. Therefore, he gained 100 lbs over the course of 8 yrs, at 3,500 calories per pound, that’s a total of 350,000. The question is “did this young man truly OVER consume 350,000 calories in the past 8 years?” That’s a TON of calories, and the answer is NO!! We don’t often see many 20 yr. old men weighing 100 lbs so what contributed to this weight gain if it wasn’t overconsumption of calories? HORMONES! Specifically for this young man, hormones such as growth hormone and testosterone.  They are naturally occurring hormones in the body that peak at specific seasons of life, which aid in muscle building and growth, allowing the normal physiological maturation process to occur. Knowing this, couldn’t the same be true for weight loss??

Could there be specific hormones that are triggered or not triggered that may truly aid in faster metabolism and weight loss? Could the kind of calories consumed truly affect the rate at which we metabolize and burn fat away? The answer is YES!!! And the hormone we are talking about is INSULIN!!! There is far more to the story than merely calories in vs. calories out!  Stay tuned next week for more on the hormone insulin and its role in weight gain and fat storage leading to long term metabolic disease and difficulty shedding those pounds away!