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Calories: A Simple Numbers Game, Right?

Dr. Rick Kattouf II

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All too often, when individuals are looking to transform their body, their mindset becomes all about calories. And the thought process starts to revolve around, "how many calories do I need to eat each day to lose weight?" On the surface, this may seem as simple as, calories in versus calories out. But, as I discussed in my 3-DVD set, Rx Nutrition, "if it were as easy as calories in versus calories out, it would be that easy." Those individuals looking to lose weight try to think of it as a simple numbers game. They want a "magic number of calories" to eat each day, and then, they feel that if they simply achieve this number, no matter how it's done, they will get results. If you have gone down this path before, you probably have seen how challenging can be (for achieving meaningful and sustainable results for a lifetime).


Many times there is no rhyme or reason to an individual's eating patterns during the day. Rather, they are just focused on this number of total calories. One key concept we have to keep in mind is that it's not how many calories we eat in a day that is important. Rather, it's how we arrive at those total calories that is important. Let's just say that an individual is looking to consume 1500 cal during the day and this individual is focused on losing weight. A very typical pattern can be this; they wake up in the morning, have their coffee and that is it. The mindset when it comes to weight loss is often "less is better" in terms of food. Therefore, they feel that if they do not eat in the morning, this is going to help them lose weight. Midmorning, they may have a snack that may consist of a handful of nuts (which is a complete train wreck by the way; more on this later) and then at lunch they want to be "good" so they order a bed of greens with a chicken breast on it (another train wreck; more on this later) and then as the day progresses, energy levels start to fade and hunger levels start to increase. To the individual though, they feel they are on track because they have not eaten that much during the day and they are "ahead of schedule" in terms of their magic number of calories. They view these total calories as a bank of points or numbers. Come dinnertime, they are ready to feast; they have "saved up" the majority of their calories; game-on! Because food cravings at this time can be pretty high due to the lack of proper fueling earlier in the day, this can easily lead to overeating and binge eating later in the day. So while this individual may be spot-on with their total calories, they are not going to see results, why? Because again, it's not about the total calories we consume in a day. Rather, it's how we arrive at those total calories that is the key to success.


This is where 9Round Nutrition takes the thinking out of nutrition for each individual. There are three key principles that we want to align when it comes to fueling the body properly, each and every day:

  1. Fueling frequency
  2. Fueling timing
  3. Macronutrient balance


When it comes to the fueling frequency and fueling timing, let's keep it simple; fuel the body right away upon awakening (yes, right away; not 30 minutes after you wake up, not 60 minutes after you wake up; right away upon awakening) and then every 2.5-3.5 hours thereafter, all throughout the day. By staying on task with the proper fueling frequency and fueling timing, we will eliminate the haphazard eating throughout the day. We will keep the body properly fueled and we will help to stabilize blood sugar, insulin and serotonin levels. In turn, this will help assist with higher and more stable energy levels all throughout the day as well as reduced food cravings. In addition, the proper fueling frequency and timing will help to eliminate the overeating and binge eating that can occur late at night, arising from an improper fueling frequency and an improper fueling timing.


When it comes to the macronutrient balance, this is another major component for nutrition success. This is where we cross the bridge from the world of eating healthy… Into the world of Eating Right. Notice of the meal examples above referred to as a "train wreck." A train wreck does not mean unhealthy, not even close. Those meal examples above are healthy, but in no way are they "right." Eating healthy is not the key to success. Rather, eating right is the key to success. These are two completely different worlds. This is where we have to start to separate feeding the body from fueling the body. The meal example of the bed of greens with a chicken breast, albeit healthy, is feeding the body. But, in no way is this fueling the body. We want to focus on fueling the body, not feeding the body.


Let's think about it like this. Water and gasoline are both liquid properties. But, only one of them, when placed into the gas tank of our car, is going to properly fuel our car. Just because water is a liquid, does not mean that it can be placed into the gas tank and fuel the car. The human body works the same way. Whether it's a handful of nuts or a bed of greens with a chicken breast, this is simply water in the gas tank. When it comes to eating right and properly fueling the body, it all comes down to the macronutrient balance of carbohydrate-protein-fat. We want to focus on the following balance at every meal and snack: 45-65% calories from carbohydrate, 15-30% protein, 15-30% fat. This is how we fuel the body, and not just feed the body. When we start to implement the proper fueling frequency, the proper fueling timing and the proper macronutrient balance at every meal and snack, we are going to set our body up for the best success possible.


In summary, we want to focus on eating right and properly fueling the body. If we just have a random and sporadic eating schedule throughout the day, we are not going to get the results we desire. Whether our goals revolve around body transformation, improved overall health and fitness and/or improved athletic performance, eating right and fueling the body properly is the key to success. The benefits of implementing the three key principles above are endless. This will help assist in improving overall energy levels, improving athletic performance, improving recovery, diminishing food cravings, improving the ability to transform the body and lose body fat, etc. When we start to move away from random eating schedules, chasing a certain number of calories and we start to move towards eating right and fueling the body properly, we will then be on a great journey to achieve meaningful and sustainable results for a lifetime.


Workout Smart, Eat Right, Get Results™!


Dr. Rick Kattouf II

2x Best-Selling Author

9Round Nutrition Coach

Named One of America’s PremierExperts® in Nutrition & Fitness

Named One Of The World Fitness Elite® Trainers Of The Year


2x Best-Selling Author and Fitness & Nutrition expert Dr. Rick Kattouf has been named one of America’s PremierExperts® and one of the World Fitness Elite™ Trainers of the Year. He has been seen on ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox affiliates around the country as well as in the USA Today, Chicago Tribune and The Independent in the UK. Rick is the CEO/Founder of TeamKattouf, Inc., CEO/Founder of TeamKattouf Nutrition LLC, Creator of TeamKattouf Nutrition Supplements, Host of Rx Nutrition, author of Forever Fit, Creator of 5-Round Fury Fitness™ workout app, 9Round Nutrition Coach Sports Nutrition Specialist, ITCA Triathlon Coach, MMA Conditioning Coach, Food Psychology Coach, Wellness and Nutrition Consultant, Sports Nutrition Consultant, Heart Rate Performance Specialist, Entrepreneur and Inspirational Speaker.