Written by Dr. Mark
Calorie counting, or more specifically, calorie restriction is considered one of the main way to drop extra weight. Beyond loosing weight there are studies that show it can improve health and longevity. A simple google search will turn up a lot on the subject. I decided to write about this because we’ve just started a spring Straight 60, the first time since I’ve been around the office that we’ve done one of these this time of year. And if you are familiar with the rules of the Straight 60, you know we DO NOT count or restrict calories at all. So if there’s this evidence that restricting calories can help drop weight, better yet help us live longer, why not include it with our diet?
Well I think there’s a few reasons we don’t even go there. The first is for simplicity. This diet is hard, especially your first time through. The first week you’ll feel lost and not have a clue what to eat and probably feel miserable at the same time (don’t worry it gets better). So to add the task of counting calories on to this would be just plain mean. If you ever have tried to count calories, you know it is a bit of a pain, especially when you’re cooking a lot of recipes with non-traditional ingredients, like making almond flour crackers. This can be a pain to figure out. The next reason I think we avoid it is because for most people, if you’re doing this diet right, your calorie intake will naturally drop. Although we preach eating plenty of healthy fats, most people new to this won’t jump into spooning coconut oil straight from the jar into their mouth. And if you’re doing this right, you’re eating a whole lot of vegetables. As you get further into the Straight 60, you will at some point realize you’ve gone a whole day without eating, and you don’t even feel hungry. This is the last reason I think we don’t bother with it. Once you’ve done the work, and gotten your hormones leveled, specifically leptin, your body will let you know when to stop eating.
So should we ever bother with it? I think it can be a useful tool at times, especially with some of the apps that you can have on your phone, so it can be as convenient as it can be. I think, and am currently testing this out myself, that it could be useful for someone that has either done the Straight 60 a few times or is in a graduation phase of it. That’s me right now. I know myself, and I know I can’t commit to be full on Straight 60 again right now, but I need to stay on a path so I don’t just loose the work I’ve already done. So to help keep me going the right direction I’m trying it out. I’m using the app called myfitnesspal along with the graduation plan. It’s free for the basic version and they have a premium option that is paid, I’ve just been using the free version. A couple things I like about it beyond tracking calories. First is the image above, based on the food you’ve eaten, the app will create a pie chart to show you the comparison of calories from fat, protein, and carbohydrate. This is a great way to ensure you don’t go overboard with the carbs (note you still get carbohydrates doing Straight 60 from all the vegetables you eat and your handful of berries but it should remain a small portion of your pie chart).
The next feature I like is the “social” aspect of it. You can have friends that can follow along with you, and keep you honest. I don’t think it shares your weight or food you eat, but will notify me if a friend has lost weight, or if they fail to log any food so I can ask them what’s going on with that. I’m still new to it so I’m learning. My username is plyrofhcky if any of you out there use this app, or want to try, I’d love to have more friends to help keep me on track.
If you are a first timer to the Straight 60, I’d recommend skipping the calorie counting, and focus on really getting the diet right. If you’re doing this for the 3rd, 4th, or more time this could help you really dial it in right by getting the right balance of carbs, proteins, and fats. Or if you’re like me and trying to figure out how to graduate successfully, this could help keep you on the right track until you figure it out.