Tosca Reno


Friday, June 24, 2011

Calorie Counting


Okay so I see there is some angst over calorie counting.  I don't blame you since I grew up counting calories out of the back of the Joy of Cooking.  Less was always best right? Wrong!  Now that I am all grown up and have learned a thing or two about nutrition (yeah Nutritional Therapy Association!) I have dug my heels in even deeper over how silly it is to count calories.

Most people gain weight from consuming too many calories, the units of energy in foods, that don't get burned up, right?  So how do you explain those people and we all know them who can eat like a horse and never gain a pound?  Then there's that other kind of person who just looks at a cookie from the outside of a bakery and they gain 5 pounds. Clearly calories have little to do with this dilemma.  And anybody I know who counts calories is totally verklempt and full of fear over food.

Where we are uniquely and biologically individual is in the fuel burning machinery in our body - the metabolism and in the nature of the hormones driving the machinery.  No two of us is the same, believe me!  So back to calorie counting - when you start cutting and counting calories you may initially lose weight but pretty much 100% of the time those pounds come right back with a few more for company.  Why?  Because your body's innate intelligence has sensed a food shortage and is now releasing fat storing hormones into your blood so any teensy morsel you eat sticks like glue.

Sugar gets processed into fats!  Fat does not!  Weird but true.  So the more fat free, low sugar, 100- calorie snack paks, low fat franken-foods you eat the more weight you put on. Protein however will trigger fat burning hormones to be released and that is why Eating Clean is the answer to keeping yourself lean without ever having to count a single calorie. How about that for science!


80% nutrition + 10% training + 10% genetics = BODY BEAUTIFUL/BODY HEALTHY


  1. This is so hard to wrap my head around. After years of counting calories, it's engrained in me! However, I do realize that if I'm eating clean and exercising regularly, then there is no need to count those darn little calories :) I'm going to give it a try. Thanks for posting this!

  2. This is great. I can relate I stuck to low calorie diets for years and just gained the weight back plus some. It is very hard for me to stick to low calories and it's also very time consuming to count them all the time.

  3. It's like I'm hearing what you are saying, but feel like if I stop counting, I'm going to overeat in a big way. I mean, what if I'm not as active as someone else, but eating the same way as them, but clean? Can and will I still burn fat and not store it?


  4. Also, how do we know, if we are not counting, that we don't end up with 3000 calories by the end of the day?
    You're probably going to say I'm missing the point huh? LOL

  5. Don't forget about portion sizes, Roxie Girl. I recommend using your hand to measure out your portion sizes. Your hand was created just for you so your portion sizes will suite you perfectly as a result. Also, some people tend to skip the last meal of the day if they haven't been as active throughout the day. This is also an option. Overall, it's most important to listen to your body. It will tell you what it needs... as long as that isn't a carton of greasy french fries!

  6. I don't quite count calories as much as record what I eat and include the calories in that process... I eat until I'm satisfied... and I record the amount/calories in that food! This way I ensure that my day is nutritionally balanced with 35-40% fat, 30-35% carb and 30-35% Protein. It also good for keeping up with fibre/salt intake. I always make sure I am eating plenty of healthy fats (pretty restrictive to egg yolks, avocado, walnuts/pistaccios, goat cheese, coconut oil) and i LOVE this & I'm trimming down without much thought!

  7. Hi Tosca,

    I'm a big fan and have been eating clean for almost five months after counting calories for almost year (I lost 40 pounds but then gained some of it back). I've tried to stick to the clean eating principles closely but haven't lost any fat. Although I feel much better about food and my muscles have more definition, I'm still the same weight which is frustrating. I'm starting to get discouraged, any advice? Thanks!

    1. Janet: You say you have more definition? Gaining muscle can keep you at the same weight while you lose fat.
      Make sure to eat proper portions by using your hands...

  8. I love this! I printed it out to put in a binder I keep with fitness and nutrition info. I have the food fear thing going on, and cant seem to feel peace about what I eat unless I count calories. Definitely not a healthy way to deal with food!

  9. This blog is a great source of information for me. Thank you very much for giving me such important information.


  10. Thanks for this information! I am currently on a "Getting Healthy" challenge and found this to be very helpful! Now to read more about what "Eating Clean" is now that I know it's not all about calories ;)

  11. Tosco, when I read your post about how you were 40 something, fat and unhappy...I seen a glimmer of hope for me.....I cannot believe I am going to put this in writing, maybe it is not a mistake that I was sent the post pertaining to your Easter weekend with you husband at home. First off,my heart goes out to you. Having a sick loved one who you want to recover is one of the most heart breaking things ever.....I will keep you and yours in my prayers. Now as for me, wheeew, where to begin..I don't know how many " Mondays" I have promised myself to get on board the eat clean way for health....I am a vegetarian, have been for almost 30 years. I know health foods and healthy eating ( worked in the industry ) BUT it is things in my life that seem to throw a wrench in...depression, anxiety , addict child, death of a child, being alone (husband long distance trucker, child with cancer, and I could go on.......Plus the fact I work shift work, which means when I come home at 9 pm or later at night, I am it true " eat after 8 your going to gain weight " ? I just need to FINALLY get a bee in my bonnet and get to it !!!!!!! S.O.S !!!!!!!! (p.s , I am a horse woman as well, needless to say my horse is getting fat too !!!! )

  12. Right on, Tosca. Just came across this from your "featured posts" menu. I train hard 6 days a week and eat 10 - 15 times a day. I think counting calories is ridiculous, unnecessary, and psychologically unhealthy.

    Curiosity got the best of me yesterday, though, and I added up my caloric intake for the first time (for an average day). It totalled 3500.

    This shows that if you eat clean food - I'm vegan and eat a whole-foods based diet - and train hard, you can still be size 0-2 with only 14% body fat even though you eat more on one day than most people would eat in two!

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. I hope I get some answer... I have been eating clean and exercising for years... (late 2007, since my divorce) I have lost few pounds while I was going through my divorce due to a stress not because of eating or exercising. Since then I have been eating clean, less and even ran a marathon and yet my weight always stays the same and it's quite discouraging when I think about how much I had altered eating habits and exercise which I have never done before.

    Here is my typical week

    Mon: Ashtanga Yoga 80 min
    Tue: 6 mile Run 10 min mile pace
    Wen: Insanity DVD work out (advanced level)
    Thur: Ashtanga Yoga
    Fri: 6 mile run 10 min mile pace
    Saturday: P90X arm work out
    Sunday 8-10 mile run 10:20 pace

    I only have so much time to fit an exercise in a daily schedule and above is the maximum time I can put in. Sometimes I see people putting in 2-3 hours a day but that's not something I can do. I work out hard. I do push myself and I feel pretty strong.


    My normal diet

    Breakfast: 3 egg white 2 piece of Ezkiel bread 1 shot of espresso

    Snack: Cup and half of Watermelon + some nuts

    lunch: 3/4cup quinoa salad or Turkey breast sandwich on a whole wheat thin bread.

    Snack: Trail mix bar and some fruit/ or pb on a piece of bread or nonfat greek yogurt with a banana

    dinner: 2/3 cup Quinoa + some steamed veggie+chicken or salmon (measured 4oz)

    I drink couple times a week. I used to binge on glasses of beers or cocktails but these days I get a glass of skinny cocktail or a glass of Guinness and that's about it.

    How far should I push? It seems like even though I switched my diet and exercise regulary, but the reward or result is barely there. It is really discouraging...

    I am 5'5". I weighed as heavy as 190lbs when I was a teenager and with a starvation diet (only drinking water and some sugarly liquid supplement) I lost 50lbs in 6 weeks and then suffered from eating disorder which led me to lose extra 15 lbs or so which I was able to keep off with occasional yoyo which bounced my weight back and forth between 130-155 lbs. At the end of my marriage, my weight hit 164lbs, heaviest in 10years. While going through divorce, I lost 16 lbs. With exercising and eating right I thought I will finally settle with my body weight for good but it had stayed the same (always staying between 143-148)for 4years. I am so temped to go just a month of crazy starvation diet just to take some initial 20lbs or so... I know it's unhealthy and I am not in my 20s anymore so I am worried about bad yoyo as well...or getting an eating disorder back. WHAT DO I DO????

    1. I really love to run and I run half marathon few times a year. So Running and Ashtanga needs to stay in my workout schedule. But are they not enough?

    2. Why don't you send the question to the Eat-Clean Diet customer service address: Tosca responds personally!

  15. When I read your comment, what came to me is that this is a woman who's very physically active, eats a healthy diet but doesn't love herself. You're doing so much to care for your physical well-being but don't forget to nourish your heart and mind with some good stuff too. I bet you look wonderful, healthy & strong and you're the only one who doesn't see it. The #140's may be your body weight set point -- why not accept that and consider leaving the heavy critical voice out of the mix. you are already amazing!

  16. completely agree with roxie-girl...i feel like if i stop counting calories i will eat way too much. i also put on weight really easily and i would be afraid to be not keeping a really close eye on the calories im taking in. its not that i dont trust this other method of eating clean and not counting, i just dont trust myself to not overeat

  17. NUTRITION TRACKER : Are you ready to shake up your workout? Do you wish you could burn more calories without spending more time at the gym?

  18. Very good! Thanks. If there is anyone who would like to calculate nutrients, there is an easy nutrition calculator: It can really help people count actual protein, sugars, fats, vitamins and minerals of their favorite food. I know that often it is wise to know what is the nutrient content of real, natural foods to avoid synthetic supplements because we don't need them. Consumption of natural food is the the only smart way to stay healthy.

  19. We are the world best leading online newspaper portal. You all are the most welcome in our newspaper.If you want to get regular newslatter from our newspaper, please go home page science news and click the below subscribe button.

    World News :
    View CNN world news today for international news and videos from Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and the Americas. Visit world news report for up-to-the-minute news, breaking news, video, audio and feature stories.

    Politics News :
    Politics at CNN has news, opinion and analysis of American and global politics Find news and video about elections, the White House, the U.N and much more. What You Need To Know About political news from us.

    Business News :
    The latest CNN business news articles : breaking personal finance, company, View the latest business news about the world's top companies, and explore articles on global.

    Sports News :
    Latest sports news from around the world with in-depth analysis, features, photos and videos covering football, tennis, motorsport, golf, rugby, sailing, skiing, horse racing and equestrian.

    Entertainment News :
    View entertainment news of today and videos for the latest movie, music, TV and celebrity headlines on
    Technology News :
    Get the latest CNN technology news google : breaking news and analysis on computing, the web, blogs, games, gadgets, social media, broadband and more.

    Science News :
    Get the latest CNN Science and Environment News: breaking news, analysis and debate on science news latest and nature in the UK and around the world.

    Daily Life :
    What You Need To Know About daily life yoga ? Get the latest lifestyle news with articles and videos on pets, parenting, fashion, beauty, food, travel, relationships and more on CNN news.


Tosca's Instragrams