Hidden Calories Destroy Weight Loss
Weight loss can be frustrating. Many times you think you are following the plan perfectly but are not the results you want because of hidden calories that you do not even notice.
It has to be the diet right?
What do most people do in this situation?
Most end up stopping the lifestyle change all together or go back to their initially bad habits because they think nothing is ever going to happen.
You know you’re not eating the ‘wrong’ foods, and you’re sure that you’ve been hitting your fat loss macros.
So what gives?
You’re probably consuming hidden calories that you don’t even know about…
- The ‘Un-Tracked Calories’
Have you ever been offered something to eat by a friend and thought, “that looks good, I’ll track it later” only to forget when you get home? Or upon reaching the day’s end with a slew of leftover macros, you decide to throw caution to the wind and eat roughly what you’ve got left?
Chances are, neither of these situations will make a huge difference to overall progress, but if you’ve hit a wall and you’re stumped and confused as to why you’re not progressing, then these untracked or loosely estimated calories could be the culprit.
“That looks good, I’ll track it later“
This is why it’s so important to log everything, and not just rely on your intuition. This is especially true the closer you get to your goal.
2. You Eat Out Too Often
Eating out can (and should) be part of a flexible diet. After all, what kind of life is it if you always have to say no to friends and turn down invites to dinner?
But the thing is, there’s a lot of room for error when eating out. It’s not easy to accurately estimate calories at restaurants, and the larger and more junk-like the meal, the further off you’re likely to be. Not to mention you have almost zero control or knowledge on how the meal was made, how much it was made with etc. This is especially true with beginners (people beginning their new habits generally do not know how to intuitively eat just yet)
You’ve got strategies you can use to help you hit your macros when eating out, such as asking for sauces and dressings on the side, picking simple dishes to make estimation easier, requesting that meats be grilled rather than fried, and looking at nutritional data on websites. But chefs can vary in how they prepare your dish, and you still don’t have total control over how your food is cooked.
3. The Macros are WRONG
Shock, horror! How can macros be wrong? Aren’t there laws about the information that goes on food packages?
When you learn that labeling laws allow for “caloric rounding”…
There are, but manufacturers are sneaky and there are loopholes they can get through. Take the popular sweetener Splenda for example:
While it’s listed as calorie-free, each packet actually contains around 1 gram of carbohydrate and 5 calories! This means that if you have a couple in your morning oatmeal, one pack in every coffee you drink throughout the day, a few more in some Greek yogurt, and so on, you can rack up an extra 15 to 20 grams of carbs and close to 100 calories.
The same goes for calorie-free sauces, spray butter, sugar-free jello, and similar items. The suggested serving sizes are often so small that even though the label says ‘calorie-free,’ but the actual amount you have is closer to 15 or 20 calories. While there’s no need to ban these items, you need to realize that they do still have calories. If you eat a lot of them (as many dieters do in an attempt to combat cravings) then your calorie count will start to add up.
Be on the lookout for sugar-free gum, diet drinks, and even some protein bars too, as these can often list ‘net carbs’ which is the total carb content minus the fiber. To hit macros precisely, you should be tracking the total carb content, fiber and all.
4. Drinking Your Calories
Coffee doesn’t need to be counted in your macros if it’s black. If not, you’ve got to count it.
We’ll leave out coffees like cappuccinos, mochas, and frappuccinos that obviously have calories in them for the moment, but did you know your plain old coffee made at home can increase your calorie intake without you realizing it?
When you add anything to your coffee, be it milk, half-and-half, or other assorted varieties of creamer, that’s calories you’re adding in. These macros should be counted.
5. Mindless Snacking
When people mindlessly snack, they really do not even pay attention how much they are eating. They eat 2 oreoes here and a handful of popcorn there and so on. This causes a massive amount of calories because everything adds up (not too mention, “snacks” are usually not that healthy). Here at Strive Fitness and Performance we do not use the word “snack”. Most people think of “snacks” as an apple or a piece of cheese.
Instead we want to think of each moment we eat as a meal.
How would you make the “snack” into a meal?
By counting the macros in the meal. Take the apple. It is a carb. So what is missing? Fats and proteins are the missing component in the equation. In order to make this “snack” into a more nutritious meal, we could add some peanut butter (fat) and a protein shake (protein). Now not only are we getting enough food, but we are also more full, which eliminates cravings in the long run.
6. You Are Eating From A Bag
We’re all guilty of this one:
You eat a handful of trail mix, nuts, chips etc. No measuring, no portion control. This may sound harmless, but
A. You have no idea how much you actually just put into your mouth
B. You never really stop with just one handful
C. Think about how many mindless calories the many handfuls throughout the day will add up to.
Time to Get Super Strict?
So what are we saying? That you can never eat out? That you have to weigh your veggies to the precise gram? That you must enter every single packet of Sweet n’ Low into your tracking app?
No, not at all…unless you’ve hit a plateau.
Plateaus are going to happen during any fat loss diet, and the go-to step is generally to either reduce calories or add cardio so you stay in a deficit and carry on progressing.
However, if you’re already on low macros and struggling to see why your body isn’t changing in the way you want it to, the first step should be to make sure you’re being honest with yourself and not eating any hidden calories that aren’t being accounted for.