The Unbelievably Over-Complicated Subject Of Calories

I’m a really dumb guy.

I need really simple and clear explanations of things or I don’t grasp them.

So in the past I tried to understand why I never lost weight even though I worked out.  The answer was later found when I started losing weight by accident.  At that time I came to the generalized conclusion that:

Bad food = stuff that comes in a box.
Good food = stuff that grows.

Is that generalized?  YES!  Is it accurate….well…I think yes!  I bet some smarter person could run rings around me proving how XYZ food doesn’t grow, yet it provides ABC benefit because it has Beta Carbonutralized Bioflavayadda yadda yadda…

Well I’m not capable of understanding this smartness.  I’m too dumb……so I’m going to try and simplify the weight loss process so even a dummy like me can understand:


Here’s a horrible analogy that barely makes sense:

  • The day starts and your car gas tank is half full.
  • You fill up one gallon of gas at the beginning of the day.
  • During the day you only drive a few miles and use maybe a 1/2 gallon of gas.
  • Because you didn’t use up that whole gallon, your car is fatter than before!

However if you drove a lot and used several gallons of gas….
…end of the day your car has “lost weight”.

Damn that was a bad analogy!  ….but does it make sense?



(For you ultra-dummies that means:  calories you eat are less than calories you use).


The reason everyone says to cut out sodas and candy etc. for weight loss is this simple fact…THEY HAVE TONS OF CALORIES! Not only do they have lots of calories, they have EMPTY calories….meaning the nutritional value you get is nearly none, but you still get all the calories.

Enough pretending I know what I’m talking about and lets do some visual comparisons.

Let’s take a nice household candy bar such as Snickers (something I used to eat all the time):

Notice it has 220 calories…but there’s TWO “servings per container”.  That means if you eat a full Snickers (who the hell only eats half??) you get a huge 440 calories for something that has virtually zero nutritional value and doesn’t get you full.

Until I took these pictures I never realized exactly how bad these (and other candy bars) are!  Yikes!

Compared to one of my favorite fruits, clementines, the Snickers bar doesn’t really hold up.  If I eat 3 clementines at once, that’s a lot of intake and I feel satisfied…and it’s only about 100 calories (roughly 36 calories per clementine)….plus I get a lot of nutritional value from them.

I can eat TWELVE clementines instead of ONE Snickers bar, get more nutrition and still consume LESS calories!  Good god!

Starting to see why people tell you to cut out the junk?

Instead of eating that one semi-gratifying Snickers that DOES NOT fill you up, you can eat TWO clementines, ONE banana and ONE tomato…they will definitely fill you up, and they look nice too:

Yummm….and the best part is ALL OF THAT together adds up to only 153 calories and has tons of great nutritional value. I can eat that for lunch and get full!!  You can even toss a handful of baby spinach on top and make it a salad.

Also instead of that ONE Snickers bar, you can eat ONE big apple and get:

Total calories: a few more than 65 (that was a big ass apple).


So all you’ve got to remember is:

  • Don’t eat so many calories.
  • Processed foods usually have A LOT of them.
  • Fresh stuff = Good.

That’s a list even I can remember.

What was learned here will be the basic premise of my Getting A Six-Pack Experiment which I will  be doing all through April.  I’ll replace all the bad stuff I was eating…with good stuff! What a novel concept!!

I’ll be eating very clean in April and will document a lot of stuff…hopefully something will be learned.

Blog posted on: March 30, 2010

22 comments on “The Unbelievably Over-Complicated Subject Of Calories

  1. Slava

    A simple conclusion comes to mind: eat nothing and continue your workout and you will lose weight really fast :)

  2. Insurance

    I try to just eat whatever a like but hit the Gym minimum 3 times a week for a fat burn out!

    However i am definately going to cut out the choc treats as best I can that pic of the snickers is mental!

    Cheers for the good post nev

    1. Neville Post author

      I used to do that as well…but it doesn’t work.

      Going to the gym, using machines and running can burn only maybe 1,000 calories on a FANTASTIC day. However eating one meal at TGI Friday’s or some restaurant will pump you up with 1,500+ calories making your workout useless.

  3. Kimberly

    Have you read the Eat This not That books? Or about the satiety index? I’m all for eating yummy whole foods, but I don’t want to feel hungry an hour later. I have a life and a work schedule and do not have time to eat every couple of hours. I read that keeping your blood sugar level will not make you hungry all the time. Like I said before I’m doing the south beach diet, so in my day I’m eating an average of 50% fat, 35% protein and 15% carbs and don’t realize I’m hungry until my belly is growling. Before I’d eat and eat, and then want more! A good site for keeping track of your calories and nutritional data is If you get really interested in changing parts of your life, look into reading the book Prescription for Nutritional Healing which I’ve found at my local Whole Foods if you want to give it a once over. Good luck on your experiment!

    1. Neville Post author

      I haven’t read those books…but I have slowly changed my diet over the past 9 months or so to eat extremely well without ever being hungry.

      If you’re always hungry that just isn’t sustainable.

      Currently at home I eat 99% raw foods and I feel very energized and not hungry the whole day.

      Your body gets used to the lower caloric intake and works with it. Also eating all GOOD stuff gives me the nutritional value I need…whereas most processed foods don’t, therefore leaving you hungry again soon after.

  4. Ralph

    You’ve achieved something accountants need to learn. Take something complex (calorific values, grams of saturated fat ect.. ) and made it into something very simple (The picture of the fruits)

    Now if we could do that with balance sheets….

  5. Ched

    Haha! I think you just confused me all the more. 

    I keep thing simple with this diet: the less you eat, the more weight you lose. Never mind counting calories.

    I try to be diligent with my diet, but it really does get tiring watching what you eat all the time. I read this article about hidden fat and it kind of woke me up! I didn’t realize I was getting fat without my knowing it.

    1. Neville Post author


      That’s true…if you don’t eat you also lose weight…but it’s not a SUSTAINABLE way of losing weight. You’re simply starving yourself which makes you cranky, unproductive, lose muscle and all sorts of bad things.

  6. Paul

    Alton Brown has a great episode about this issue (pretty much). You can find it on Youtube by searching: Good Eats Live and let Diet.

    He talks a lot about calorie dense vs. nutrient dense. It’s a great episode to watch for anyone who gets confused about the complicated issues that tend to come up with dieting.

    1. Neville Post author

      I love that guy! I’m not a big foodie, but his shows are usually very entertaining and informative since they’re mixed with a good dose of science.

      Thanks for the recommendation!

  7. Lillie

    I am a visual person and the comparison of the Snicker’s candy bar and the fresh fruits said it all. In fact, I am making more of an effort to eat healthier and also excluding candy bars (chocolates especially) from my diet. I have noticed the difference already and now that spring is here and fresh fruits are cheaper and plentiful, I plan to take full advantage of them to the max. Thanks for the inspiration.

  8. life insurance

    HI….. i think its good point but put on weight is easy but loose the weight is really difficult coz we eat what we would like to eat but we just forget about that how many calories we going to carry. I think we should eat the food but healthy food this blog is good and tells us look after your self i think should be EAT BETTER AND FEEL BETTER.

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  10. Autumn

    Calories in versus calories out is definitely the simplest and easiest way to lose weight. Last summer i decided to try calorie counting and lost 15 pounds in 3 months! It’s been a year and I’ve kept the weight off. When you’re on a calorie defecit you definitely learn a lot of tricks about what keeps you “fuller” longer (and it’s not a snickers bar like you said!!!).

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  12. Idiots

    I’m loathe to comment on old threads, But you sir at a fucking disingenuous moron. Your comparing his to a King Sized Snickers not a regular at which had 280 per bar which is one serving. It doesn’t change the point but if you won’t to preach a point get the rucking facts right. Otherwise, do us a favor and castrate yourself to void bringing more stupidity into the world.


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