I mentioned on Facebook today that pretty much everyone that's told me "you don't have to count calories, as long as you eat the 'right' foods" has never battled a weight problem. I seem to have touched a nerve. It was a simple observation.
The trendy thing in fitness & health these days seems to be that as long as you are eating whole, unprocessed foods, you don't need to count calories. May God have mercy on your soul if you pop up on a Paleo or Vegan or Clean Eating forum and mention the "c" (calories) word. You'll be drug to the town center, hung up by your toenails, and left to be ridiculed for all eternity. Trust me. I know.
"Not all calories are created equally." I hate that saying. A calorie is a unit of measurement, like a mile. Saying not all calories are the same is like saying not all miles are the same. Now, not all miles will lead us to our destination, just like not all calories will get us closer to our ultimate goal of health. Certainly, some calories offer more nutrition than others, but a mile is still a mile. And a calorie is still a calorie.
Calories count. It is physiologically impossible to gain weight while eating in a caloric deficit and it is physiologically impossible to lose weight while eating in a caloric surplus. It's simple physics. The idea behind this new theory of 'calories don't matter' is that by eating whole, unprocessed foods it's impossible to actually eat in a caloric surplus. That sounds great, if we lived in a perfect world. We don't. We live in an unhealthy, obese, metabolically dysfunctional world. Most people that need to lose a significant amount of weight are no longer in touch with their satiety and fullness cues. It is absolutely possible for a lot of people to over eat, regardless of what types of foods they're eating.
I can, and have, over eaten carrots. I can, and have, over eaten almond butter. I can, and have, over eaten grass fed steak. I can, and have, gained weight on a Paleo Diet.
This is not to say that I think everyone will have my same experience. That would be absolutely arrogant and short sighted of me. It's simply to say that someone that hasn't dealt with my issues doesn't have the insight to tell me that I don't need to count calories.