The calorie myth is a hard one to kill. My last few articles have discussed the math behind weight loss and calorie counting and the fact that trying to quantitate the process in numbers is impossible. Calories are not the most important issue when striving for effortless fat loss and health. Every organism tries to maintain homeostasis (state of balance) automatically. It is a fundamental part of our being. For example, if we drink a lot of water we urinate more and vice versa. If we don’t drink enough, our body redistributes what you do have to vital functions. However, the common misunderstanding is that when we consume more food we will automatically store more fat, but this is not the simple case. Our bodies try to regulate our weight just like they try to regulate hydration. This process is called the Homeostasis Regulatory System (HRS).

This system can be broken by the wrong quality of foods. These break the HRS and, once broken, it doesn’t matter how little you eat or how much you exercise, the system is broken and we need to fix it. Diabetics, for example, are not told to eat less; they are generally told to not eat certain foods. The same is true for heart attack patients and most other ailments.

The importance of reading labels is essential for your health. Let’s take peanut butter for example. What should the ingredient list be to make it? One item is all that is needed… peanuts! But we live in a society where advertising makes false promises. Food packages make amazing claims… Skippy reduced fat peanut butter promotes 25 percent less fat and boasts that their product “fuels the fun”. Must be healthy, right? Far from it. They list 22 items in the ingredient list, the majority of which are hazardous to your health!

All these chemicals build up in your body. Your internal system can only process and eliminate so much at a time, so the excess is pushed to and stored in body fat. If toxins and chemicals remain at higher levels than your body can process, you acquire more body fat. Our bodies can take a lot of punishment before we get into the red-zone. Gaining health and effortlessly staying lean has a lot more to do with the quality of our food rather than the quantity. When was the last time you heard of someone getting fat and becoming sick from eating too many vegetables?

Nutrient-dense foods naturally have fewer calories than processed foods. Foods that are classified as empty calories (those that contain high calories but low vitamin and mineral content) throw our hormones out of balance, creating cravings, mood swings, and low energy levels. Whereas food high in nutrients do not cause imbalance. Reducing your consumption of chemically-laden food is one of the easiest ways to lose fat. Next month I will discuss some local foods you need to watch out for and how to eliminate chemicals from your system.

Phil is a health practitioner and expert in body transformation. His services are available at Star Fitness (starfitnesssaigon.com), online or at your home. Contact him through his website phil-kelly.com or facebook.com/BodyExpertSystemsVietnam.