Firstly, I would like to say that counting calories is a new thing or trend – you do it because everybody else does it. You think it is right or feel right when you do it or feel wrong for having an extra amount. Did our great ancestors count calories? Why is global obesity occurring when we have greater knowledge on calories? There is only one answer – processed foods. I would actually recommend you to count calories if you eat a lot of processed foods, because you don’t know what’s in it. Don’t just count calories, count the added fat, sugar and salt content. If you eat natural, unprocessed foods, there is no need to do that because you are eating something straight from the Earth, that nurtures you and keeps you healthy. People look for ‘quick ways’ of doing things. Why cook porridge oats in the morning when you can have a bowl of Cheerios with added sugar? Companies that promote chocolate are earning more because of their added sugar, which uplifts your cravings. Advertisements are playing with your fat, sugar and salt addictions to get more money off you. Global obesity up-rises then you hear them say ‘count your calories’. Remember that you are what you eat – so put a little extra effort into doing your food so you help your body instead of picking the next new thing that saves you time.
It is true that no matter how much you eat, if it’s a natural, unprocessed foods, you will slim down, but always make sure you have a balanced diet.
What do you eat when you want to ‘build’ muscle? Gain mass? As well as a lot of protein (which also helps you to slim down), do you really need more calories?
The real answer is: I don’t know. When I researched this issue, the majority of sources say yes but some say no. Who is true? Are calories still important when it comes to gaining?
I tried thinking about it…
The more muscle you have = Faster metabolism ¬¬> Muscle burns calories ¬¬> The more muscle, the more calories you need because they’re used up.
You also need more calories for ¬> Your brain (which uses up more than 50% of calories) ¬> Blinking ¬> Walking ¬> EVERYTHING!
In addition, if you are doing cardio as well as muscle building, you use up even more calories!
So, if your brain uses more than 50% of your calories and everything you do uses up calories, what do you have left for the muscles? Do you think you have enough? But on the other hand, if you grow more muscles, you need to increase your calories (as they say). But where does it end? From having 200 extra calories to 2000? 3000? There must be another answer other than all these numbers. Especially if all our bodies are so different. The amount of calories my brain needs is different to my neighbour’s, but so is the amount of calories my muscle needs. Also, all the muscles in your body are different. Your abs may use up more than your biceps. You cannot generate a rule to say that if you have that much extra, you will gain that much extra. That doesn’t make sense to me. When I had extra calories to build muscle, I don’t think it ended up in the muscle. I think it ended up on my stomach or on my thighs. So, apparently I need a period of time where I ‘gain’ and another one where I ‘lose’. Then finally, the ‘maintaining’ period. But wait, I am not an athlete or a body builder. I do not do this for a job, or even money. I do it to feel better.
Although the amount of calories I consume may impact on my muscle size, I believe in something a little bit extra…
Automatically, after a ‘heavy’ muscle building workout, I would take my protein shake and after a while, I would craaveee food. Why? Because my body needs extra calories. I listen to my body. I don’t count numbers. My body is the best calorie predictor I have. However, I reached out for ‘comfort’ foods – like Oreos, chocolate (all sugar-dense dishes) which is fine as long as it doesn’t make up my whole diet! But reaching out for natural calorie-dense alternatives is even better! Like fruit smoothies made with nuts, and flaxseed oil, for example, because my body doesn’t deal with 400 calories worth of Oreos in the same way as it deals with 400 calories of fruit smoothie. I want my body to consume pure quality ingredients, not a certain number of calories, to get a long-lasting result in my body, mind, and soul.