RSVP Magazine

Calories, Why you shouldn’t count them And What Is Real Fitness



For thousands of years the human race hunted and gathered their food. As we evolved, we became more sophisticated and made huge technological advances in farming and growing food. Growing and farming our own food allowed us to develop as a society as we no longer spent all of our time hunting and gathering. From then on for thousands of years we developed better health and nutrition methods that extended every new generations life expectancy.

However, something strange happened in the late 1970’s. We started to produce and consume highly processed nutrient deficient foods. We now know this was when the obesity epidemic began. As we replaced nutrient dense low calorie whole foods (fruits, vegetables and whole grains) with more high calories, high sugar nutrient deficient foods (processed foods) we started to become fatter and sicker. As a result Coronary heart disease, stroke, cancers and all cause mortality started to rise in every country in the world that adopted this new western diet. We are now fatter and sicker then we’ve ever been before with the rates of CHD, Cancer and Stroke sky rocketing worldwide.

The growing number of obese children has meant that school trousers with a 50-inch waist are now on sale in Ireland

The growing number of obese children has meant that school trousers with a 50-inch waist are now on sale in Ireland


Currently with a very serious obesity epidemic there are literally hundreds of diets that have become popular, one of the most used and worse forms of dieting to lose weight is counting calories. So why should we not be counting calories? Well up until 1970 since human history began obesity rates in nearly all-large world populations were virtually non-existent. During this period we didn’t even know what a calorie was. Calorie counting diets simply put, do not promote healthy eating.


The only true way to live a happy healthy life while maintaining a healthy weight is to concentrate on eating a whole food diet.

So stop counting calories and start looking at the quality of your food.



Every year some new exercise program, supplement or diet claims that it will get us all fitter and leaner than ever. But what is fitness really, and is it the same for everyone? From years of working with clients one to one I know from experience that not only is fitness different for everyone because all our bodies work differently, but also because most people want completely different results the first time they walk into the gym.

Most people want to lose weight, tone up, increase their fitness and improve their energy levels in one form or another. However how you should train and eat completely depends on the variation of the above results you desire. This is also not the only deciding factor on how you should train. Peoples’ bodies also range from very responsive to slower to respond.

This is why I always explain to every client I work with on day one that they first need to develop an understanding of how their body works, moves and recovers in the first few weeks of training. Everyone will benefit from weight training, aerobic training and small amounts of HIIT (High Intensive Interval Training) but the amounts of these types of training needed in an exercise program can vary dramatically from person to person depending on their current level of fitness, desired results and which they enjoy the most.

I think the most important factor in getting fitter and stronger is to enjoy the process and listen to your body. Always do exercise you enjoy.

A successful fitness program is one that you will enjoy, consistently do and continue long-term.

My favourite definition of fitness is this: Real fitness is enjoying the process of getting your body fitter, stronger and perfectly suited for the lifestyle you want to live.

Jonathan Ledden, 

Senior Personal Trainer 

BodyByrne Fitness




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