Do You Eat Too Much Without Even Realising?

Did you know that many people consume too many calories without even realising?

That’s a key reason why people put on weight in the first place, but it’s also why people struggle to get the weight off.

What’s really frustrating though is when you’re trying to lose weight but can’t understand why you’re not getting the results you really want.

Now you may think there’s no way that you eat too much but here are some important areas where people get things very wrong…

  • Underestimating how many calories are in their food and drink
  • Having portion sizes that are too large
  • Not taking into account everything they eat and drink 

Here’s a great example of what I’m talking about…

A few weeks back I was watching a television programme which showed a woman who had struggled with her weight all her life.

She’d tried diets, she’d tried eating healthily, she’d tried exercise, but nothing worked. Lots of effort but just no results to show for it.

After years of trying to lose weight she reluctantly accepted her weight and put it down to having a slow metabolism. She believed this for many years.

Then she got the chance to go on this television programme where they would try to find out why she wasn’t losing weight.

The first thing they did was test her metabolic rate which is the number of calories your body burns each day to maintain itself.

Guess what?

She had a perfectly normal metabolism.

Then she did a video diary of everything she ate and drank for a week.

The scientists used some new technology where they could accurately determine how many calories she actually consumed. They were able to compare this to what she recorded in the video.

What they found was very surprising. She didn’t record over 70% of the calories she ate and drank.

Then she did a written diary for a week. This was more accurate because when you write things down you tend to give them more thought and include more detail.

However, she still didn’t record 43% of the calories she ate and drank.

As it turned out she was consuming around twice as many calories than she expected which is a huge difference.

So the real problem she had with her weight all her life had nothing at all to with her metabolism…

She’d just been consuming too many calories without even realising

By far the most important thing you need to know about losing weight is that you need to burn more calories than you consume.

The problem is that people vastly underestimate the amount of calories they eat and drink and therefore they get the number of calories consumed side of the equation very wrong.

Often people don’t take into account little snacks or they think that some of their drinks don’t count.

The woman from the television programme didn’t record any of her fruit because she thought it had minimal calories. However, she had a large fruit salad every day which added plenty of calories to her diet that she virtually ignored.

The lesson here, whether you’re new to running, or you’re a seasoned runner who wants to lose weight, is that you may be having more calories than you think…

But how do you know if you’re having too many calories?

You can count your calories and go into an in-depth analysis to find out how many calories you burn and consume each day.

Or, the easy way is to just assess your weight regularly. Quite simply, if you’re not losing weight then the single most likely cause is that you’re consuming too many calories…

You’re consuming the same number of calories that you burn and are therefore maintaining your weight rather than losing it.

Just be careful though not to reduce your calories too much because this actually slows your metabolism and makes it harder to lose weight. That’s why some people are on a very low calorie diet but still struggle to lose weight.

Of course nobody likes a low calorie diet which is why running is great to use for increasing the number of calories that you burn.

The more you improve your running ability, the more calories you burn, which means that you can consume more calories and still be able to lose or maintain your weight.


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3 Responses to Do You Eat Too Much Without Even Realising?

  1. Lara says:

    I do spinning twice a week (45min per session); run twice a week (10 miles total); body combat once a week, Body Pump once a week and yoga once a week. I have roughly worked out that that I burn approx 1,600 calories a week just from these exercises. I am 39 and weigh 165kg. Can you tell me how many other calories you burn per day by just living. I have a desk job. If I eat 2000 calories a day should I lose weight? I have noticed that incorporating spinning into my exercise regime I am losing more weight as it incorporates a lot of interval training and I also feel fantastic.

    • James says:

      Thank you for your comments Lara. To answer your question would require quite a lot of detail but I will try to help you with some tips.

      An average woman burns around 2000 calories per day including physical activity. This varies a lot though mainly depending on their height, weight, and activity level. So everyone is different.

      There are calculations to work out how many calories you burn per day but they go into quite a bit of detail. These are included along with examples as part of my running programs if you are interested.

      I would suspect with all the exercise you do that with 2000 calories per day you would lose weight, but without doing a detailed personal review I cannot say for sure.

      I hope this helps Lara and keep up the running and other training.

  2. MJ says:

    I can’t remember where I saw it first but I use this:

    Take your weight (in lbs) and multiply it by 12.5 for men and 10.5 for women. That number is the amount of calories you need to maintain your weight.

    That formula has worked for me.