Cars are not all the same. They come in different sizes and colors and to some degree different shapes. They use different amounts of fuel and have different sized fuel tanks. A small four-cylinder car uses less petrol (gasoline) per mile than a Sports Utility Vehicle and has a smaller tank to fill up when you get to the fuel station. How much fuel is used up is also, obviously a factor of how the car is driven and how far it travels.
Whilst it sounds obvious nobody is surprised that a vehicle, which uses less fuel, will need lees fuel put in to fill it up. Most people are quite happy that they are saving money at the pump. You would not keep filling the tank once it is full, as the fuel will just overflow.
So the question arises are humans all exactly the same size shape and color? Do people all use up the same amount of fuel in going about our daily lives? Do we all do exactly the same amount each day and in so doing burn up fuel at the same rate?
The answer is of course no. In that case why do we assume that we all need the same amount of food to keep us going? The fact is that people burn fuel at different rates. This will be determined by how active we are, our basal metabolic rate, how much lean muscle we have and a few other factors. In turn this means that we may need to put different amounts of fuels into our bodies.
Yet food portions are by and large the same. A tub of yoghurt, which says it has one serving inside, assumes that each person who eats it requires the same serving size. The same applies to all foods, which have serving sizes on the label. This also applies to restaurant food. Whilst some restaurants offer entre size serves, essentially a meal serving is a meal serving.
However because some people need fewer calories to keep them going each day than others (exactly like some cars consume less fuel in getting from A to B than others) the end result will be different.
Essentially three people can eat exactly the same amounts of food and one may gain weight, one may maintain weight and the third lose weight. This explains why some people seem to eat huge amounts and do not apparently gain weight and others people do not eat much and gain weight. Whereas car tanks reach full and we know not to put more fuel in, the body will keep accommodating extra fuel as …fat.
So how can we apply this knowledge in a useful way?
- Be aware that what other people eat means nothing to you.
- Whether you think you eat a lot or little means nothing.
- What matters is how much fuel YOUR body needs.
- The way you determine this is by how it reacts to what you put into it. If you are maintaining weight then your calorie balance is even between intake and usage. To lose weight you will need to reduce your calorie intake or burn up more.
- The body does not lie to you. Your mind may tell you what you want to hear. In a “dispute,” go with the body regardless of what you think “ought” to be happening.
Rather than get frustrated with what you think the body should do with the fuels you give it, remember the reality is like the car. Your body will have a certain “gas/mileage” and the amount of fuel you put in will need to fit to that. If it does not, your tank will overflow and you will store the excess.