Thermodynamics – Are all calories equal? Eat less & Exercise more?

thermodynamics Mar 09, 2020

Have you been wondering about: 

» thermodynamics & weight/fat loss,

» Are all calories equal?

» Should I eat less & exercise more?

» Should we pay attention to calories in vs calories out?

» are all calories created equal or not? 

» why do i gain weight when i work out and so fast 

» after dieting, how do I maintain a healthy weight? 

» why is it so easy to gain weight? 

» does thermodynamics apply to disordered eating & eating disorder recovery?  Should I be eating unrestrictedly even if my hunger is asking for 5,000-10,000 calories + per day??

Then you're in the right place!

In this post I want to talk about, The Law of Thermodynamics as it pertains to calories and dietary decisions.

...which according to Thermodynamics, the theory says not all calories are equal, and when more energy comes in than needed, it will be stored as fat.

Therefore people say to create a caloric deficit to lose fat.


Now, let's get this straight - I’m not denying thermodynamics.

Obviously, it’s a real thing and a lot of us have seen this - that if you eat less calories, you lose fat and you lose fat quite quickly, earlier on in your diet pursuit.

So, we may see that once we first start to pick up dieting and exercise, the weight can just drop off really quick, especially when we’re young and we pick up dieting and over-exercise.

Weight can come off really quick.

But the longer time goes on, and the longer we keep dieting...

for example following this diet (low calorie eating)

and then going onto another diet (intermittent fasting or reverse dieting)a

and then another diet (GAPS or raw veganism)

and continuing the cycle of eating less and exercising more.

(Or you may not even have exercise in the picture but you continue to eat less.)

You may have found that it’s harder and harder to lose weight over the years.

It’s harder and harder to keep the weight off.

And you may go to eat the same things, the same amounts of foods, and the same kinds of foods that you used to eat before you picked up dieting and now just gained a bunch of weight, fat and water weight, like overnight.

But then as you continue to diet and you continue in this cycle, you actually program your body to want to store fat.

Your body becomes thrifty and very efficient at storing fat - hence, it's easier to store the weight, store it really quickly and store a lot of it.



A lot of people come from a childhood of their parents being chronic dieters and limiting all their foods and saying no to all the foods and so they grew up with that mindset of deprivation.

So, when they went to their friend’s house or when they grew up and became an adult and they live by themselves, they would binge on all those foods that they didn’t have access to.

And then they eventually adopt a diet of their own and you get to that place where you’ve created a caloric deficit (imbalance of energy in vs energy out)..

And then you end up binging. Which is the inevitable result of restrictive eating and being in a prolonged energy deficit.

So you end up binging on all those foods.

 And as the years go by, it seems harder and harder to keep the weight off.




But if you’re consistent with a metabolism & diet recovery process and you DON'T stay in a caloric deficit and over-exercise yourself to misery, if you stop restricting these foods, these foods lose their novelty.

And you won’t feel so obsessed and uncontrollable around the foods or just calories in general.

You won’t feel that need to binge on them.

Because that’s a big side effect of being in a prolonged energy deficit - it leads to binge eating!

And no, you haven't devloped binge-eating disorder..

It’s simply that your body is doing what it’s biologically designed to do to restore homeostasis.

Which in nature, yeah, the body learned how to adapt and survive in an energy or caloric deficit at times of famine.

Whether it was winter time or maybe the crops failed that year or maybe some natural disaster happened and you had to migrate to a new environment where there was food because in the current environment there was no more food (food scarcity), so your body had to adapt so you wouldn’t die.

But that mechanism was only supposed to be for short term.

It wasn’t supposed to be for your whole life to be in a caloric deficit.

That’s just not healthy.

And that’s why you start to see a lot of symptoms pop up out of nowhere:

  • fatigue and lathargia,
  • strong food cravings,
  • binge eating & food obsession,
  • hormone problems,
  • a missed period,
  • digestive problems,
  • hair falling out,
  • sexual dysfunction & low libido,
  • feeling cold all the time,
  • you can’t sleep

and so much more!

All of these different symptoms of starvation.

This survival mechanism just wasn’t meant to last for the long-term.

So, the body knew that, or else you would die if you didn’t get to a new environment with an abundance of food.

But once you did get out of scarcity and into abundance, then you would binge eat.

You would feast.

You would consume all of the food to make up for the energy deficits.

This survival mechanism was great for people that want to look ultra lean and have a six-pack all year round and be in a body that is not natural (or healthy) for them but long-term, it’s going to create problems.

And a lot of people start to see that but then they ignore it because they’re so attached to this lean body and have fears of judgment, failure, and so many other fears that keep them in the diet-binge cycle.

And they can’t see that it’s because this law is working against them.

It’s just not sustainable for the rest of your life.

And the whole point of this whole metabolism & diet recovery thing is to find something that’s sustainable for you for the rest of your life.

And being okay in a body that doesn’t have a six-pack or doesn’t have 2% body leanness or even 10% body leanness.

Women and males are different, obviously.

But it’s getting out of this mindset that you have to be in an ultra lean body to be attractive, to be worthy, to be beautiful, to be sexy, to be successful, to be healthy or whatever it is for you.

You want to get away from these mindsets if you want freedom, peace of mind and restored mental and metabolic health.

So, again, out of all of it, yes, thermodynamics - yeah, it works.

I’m not saying that it doesn’t work but the whole point of this is to find something that’s sustainable and healthy for you, long-term.

And being in a caloric deficit for your whole life is not going to be healthy.

And you know what?

I’m not going to speak for everyone here because there’s not a hundred percent to everything.

But I’m speaking to the people that are coming from:

πŸ‘‰ restrictive diets / any kind of food restriction.

πŸ‘‰ orthorexia where you have more bad off-limit foods than good foods.

πŸ‘‰ over-exercising beyond what is healthy for your body.

πŸ‘‰ BED, addiction, anorexia, bulimia, laxative abuse, all of these different things.

The last thing you want to do is be in a caloric deficit.

You’ve been in a caloric deficit for years at this point, probably, sometimes even your whole life.

So, the last thing you want to do is turn to thermodynamics to try, in an effort to try to get the weight gain off that happens as a rebound effect from the caloric deficit that you’re coming from, in diet & ed recovery.

Keep in mind that this is part of the process.

And your body’s just doing what it’s designed to do for your survival.

It’s working for you.


The body, we’ve been taught to think that it needs to be controlled, it needs to be suppressed, that it doesn’t know what it’s doing and we have to control it.

But this is the furthest from the truth.

And I get it, I was there.

I would tout to people that I was just doomed with obesity genetics and that I always had to be on a diet or exercise a lot in order to control and maintain my weight.

But through diet recovery and rehabilitation my metabolism, I was able to find that this was just not the case.

Normal eating is a real thing.

Not dieting and constantly being on some kind of diet or constantly consciously restricting yourself in order to maintain a weight.

This doesn’t have to be your reality.

You don't have to live this way forever!

This is a byproduct of the diet and beauty culture telling us that there’s something wrong with our body and that we need to change it.

These industries feed off of our insecurities.

They create ideals that are not healthy for a lot of people.

Some people are naturally like that, but you can be at a lower weight but you don’t have to be so fricking lean.

Or you can be at a higher weight and you can still be healthy.

There are a lot of underweight people that look healthy, they look fit, but they’re actually very miserable on the inside.

They are suffering physically, mentally, and emotionally.

And obviously, there are people that are not suffering at a lower body weight.

But the ideal that you have to have an ultra flat lean stomach with 8-pack-abs.

For everyone, that is just not true.

There is a thing as body diversity for a lot of different reasons that I’ve talked about in other post's, videos, my book, etc



"...But it’s not about how much you’ve eaten, it’s about what you’re eating!"

The other aspect to all of this is the mindset of:

"it’s not about HOW MUCH you’ve eaten, it’s about WHAT you’re eating."

A lot of us are coming from orthorexia or just overly restrictive clean eating diets.

And this advice is the LAST thing one needs to hear.

Because as we attempted to source the perfect quality foods 100% of the time, we:

  • lost our sanity to these extremes,
  • got lost in it all,
  • don’t feel as healthy as we thought we were going to feel - but rather, we’re miserable,
  • hyper-focused & obsessed with food,
  • feel out of control around food,
  • feel more fearful, anxious & stressed than anything around food, (which is highly stressful on the body, which counteracts all the healthy foods that you’re taking in because you’re so stressed all of the time about what the restaurant is going to have, what kind of foods they’re going to have: ie "Are they clean enough? Do they go in alignment with your good foods and bad foods list?"
  • life is revolved around prepping, tracking, counting all your meals, calories and macros and you can’t eat outside of this meal plan or specific diet guidelines of the "good" foods.

And you’re constantly thinking about all this day in and day out...

shaming yourself, guilting yourself and stressing yourself out if you go outside of your strict guidelines.

I get it, and it’s great to eat good quality foods!

But again, if it’s stealing your sanity and it’s making you more stressed than anything, it’s going to be counterproductive.

No matter how many healthy foods you eat...

✦ if you’re constantly stressed out all the time

✦ shaming yourself

✦ guilting yourself, doesn’t matter how much kale you eat or how much high-quality clean protein you eat, all that stress is going to counteract that.

That’s why I say find YOUR balance,

because it’s really just finding a balance that will give you sanity and freedom and then as a result, health in return, which is what I walk people through in my FYB program.


Again, we all get the idea of thermodynamics.

We all get the mindset of eating the highest quality of foods, the highest or what we deem to think is the best macronutrient for the metabolism, WHEN to eat for the metabolism and WHAT specific foods are better for the metabolism.

But then we neglect our needs and desires and our body’s cravings for specific foods because we may think that they’re not good for our metabolism and therefore we go into deprivation mode.

And we actually harm our metabolism as a result by depriving ourselves because our body thinks that food is scarce and limited, that the body can’t have access to anything and everything at once.

And therefore, the body thinks this is a threat to its survival and it’s going to cause you to binge on those foods that are off-limits.

Whereas, if you just didn’t have all these limitations and 'no's' and 'bad's' and 'off-limits'  foods,

eventually with time again, they will lose their novelty.

These hyper-palatable foods will lose this control over you.

The ever-looming, all-consuming, out-of-control feeling around these specific foods goes away.

And then you can approach your life and eating in a more balanced normal way again.

You can have a balance of all different kinds of foods.

» Wholesome, healthier foods (or what diet culture tend to think as healthy)

» And a balance of the more processed junky foods, (whatever you want to call it).

I really think those terms feeds into that restrictive mindset, though.

If you want to say junk, good, healthy, at times, these more processed foods like white rice, oil, bread, etc are going to be more healthy for you.

If you neglect yourself of a craving, then those cravings are going to spiral out of control and they’re going to control you and be there and get stronger until you feed that craving consistently.

So for an extended period of time, not just once, maybe it’s going to reoccur for every day for a whole week or weeks or months.

But eventually, it’ll die down.

And I see that all the time in diet recovery and the clients I've worked with all around the world!


Out of all of it, it’s shifting into the mindset of:

"Obviously every calorie is different but that doesn’t mean that your body needs less of a specific calorie just because specific law or theory says so."

Your body has it under control.

Your body is wise.

We have to learn things like thermodynamics and all of these things.

Our body already knows instinctively and that’s what a craving is.

That’s what a hunger cue is.

That’s what a satiety cue is.

It’s literally asking you for the specific energy source that it wants and needs for whatever function it needs to carry out.

And it literally tells you how much it needs and then when to stop consuming that energy source.

And as time changes, as your needs change, the body is going to change your cravings and your needs for different energy sources.

But typically, the best thing is to just have a balance of all of the energy sources, fats, carbs, proteins, sugars at every meal.

And you’ll find that you don’t even have to think about any of these theories or laws or diets or meal plans or any of this stuff and counting, tracking, calculating.

You literally can listen to your body, this intelligent functioning machine that’s designed for this.

And then you can trust it and you don’t even have to do all of these things.

It’s literally like you and your body are one.

You give your body what he/she asks for when it asks for.

The body tells you when to stop and when it needs it again.

It really is that simple.






Eating = Easy.

It really can be that simple.

It really IS that simple if you just give your recovery a proper chance.

And you have to show your body that:

  • it can trust you,
  • it will be fed consistently,
  • it will be fed what it wants when it wants it,
  • and with time, you will heal.

I just want you to feel level of freedom around food too.

I really want you to get to this place.

I hope everyone can experience this and break free from dieting, food guilt, and so forth.

I don’t ever want to go on a diet.

This stuff just doesn’t faze me anymore because I know my truth.

I know what works for me.

I know what doesn’t work for me.

So why would I ever want to go back and try to start counting and calculating and that I can ignore my body and think that everything’s going to be fine and dandy in the long-term?

So if anything, if you’re feeling stuck, or if you want to give this recovery thing a go, give recovery a chance, a long enough chance.

You’ve probably been dieting and clean eating and trying to eat the best foods.

And you’re doing it from a place of wanting to be healthy and some people from a place of wanting to be the leanest that they can and lose weight.

But really, if you’ve realized that this isn’t working for you and you just are sick of feeling obsessed around food and food controlling you and you’re sick of always thinking about food and the constant thoughts about food of what to eat. what not to eat, when, how, etc to eat...

... give recovery enough of a chance.

Even if that means months and months or even years to recover your metabolism, digestion, hormones and hair and everything.

It’s SOO extremely worth it. I can't emphasize it enough.



"But if you put less energy in to get less energy out, your body’s just going to adjust." 

A quick note, that I also talk about in my other post on Metabolic Damage.

The concept of: "to put less energy in to get less energy out, your body’s just going to adjust."

If you put less energy in, it’s going to lower the metabolism so that the body doesn’t die.

Having a high metabolic rate, and with low amounts of energy coming in, that leads to death.

So to avoid this, the body lowers the metabolism to adjust to the low amount of calories in.

Once you up your calories... (with extreme hunger consumption, binge eating, emotional eating, or any other form of letting go of the restrictions).

...You come into this energy (calorie) consumption period in a state of a low metabolism, higher energy coming in...

What happens?

Your body’s going to store fat because this is a conservation mechanism, aka the lowered metabolism.

So more energy coming in after being in a period of being restricted of energy, means “let’s store all of this because we don’t know if we’re going to get starved on Monday” or whatever.

BUT as time goes on in your diet recovery process, and you’re consistent with your eating and you give it what your body’s asking for consistently without restrictions, then slowly, your metabolism rises, and comes back up to normal speed and function.

You still have as much energy as your body is asking for to come in, (which this changes and fluctuates as time goes on, as in, the amount you consume, may be more in the beginning of recovery but then it adjusts and your body adjusts your hunger and satiety cues and lowers as time goes on).

But your metabolism stays high because the body trusts that it’s going to be consistently fed that energy that it needs and is asking for.

For the people that have been commenting about thermodynamics, just remember to...

Ask yourself:

  • What’s going to be sustainable for the long-term?
  • What’s going to be healthy?
  • And what’s going to give you sanity, freedom, peace of mind,
  • What will give you presence  and quality time with your children, time with your family, time to follow the different passions and hobbies or building a business or serving the world or being a better partner, enjoying life beyond trying to just look physically perfect?

So go ahead, eat as thermodynamics says to and you can get an ultra lean body, but it might get harder and harder to maintain that.

And then you’re going to end up obsessed with food, binge eating and gaining a lot of weight because that’s the cycle.

You lose a lot of weight unnaturally for your body.

Then your body’s going to rebel and ask for extreme amounts of food to make up for that energy deficit.

And then all of that energy coming in and a lowered metabolic rate state, it’s going to store all of that fat to conserve for the future famine.

Because it thinks that you’re just going to keep dieting and keep going in a caloric deficit and keep doing all of these behaviors.

So it needs to conserve in an effort to survive.

And yeah, if you go to the extremes, you can keep getting it off.

But you’re going to find as time goes on, that you’re going to become more miserable, more unhappy, and in the same place indefinitely.

Also ask yourself:

Where do I want to see myself in three years from now?

» Do I want to be in the same cycle, gaining and then losing and going in a caloric deficit and then binge eating and then purging because I feel guilty and shameful?

» Or three years from now, do I want to look back and think:

"maybe I’m not perfect, maybe I’m not fully recovered or fully healed because lfe is a lifelong journey of learning and growing and finding ourselves and our passions.. BUT I’m a lot further than I used to be.

And hey, food doesn’t control my life anymore.

And yeah, my body may not be at a 10% body fat or BMI or even a 20 BMI but I have a lot of freedom.

I have a lot of happiness.

I’ve learned so much about me.

I feel like my life is more fulfilled.

I have more of a healthy approach to eating and exercise. I’ve gained so much in return along with some extra body fat."

So it’s finding out what’s more worth it to you, in this one life of yours.

If you want to do thermodynamics by this point, so be it.

But then if you find yourself in that cycle, you have to be real with yourself and be like, “Well, why am I still in this cycle of feeling obsessed around food thinking that recovery doesn’t work for me?”

...Because you never gave it a full chance and you couldn’t let go of that belief that you have to be on a diet for the rest of your life.

...You have to constantly be fighting your body.

...You have to constantly be purging or counting your calories or missing opportunities to have fun and you have to go to the gym instead because you feel guilty.

What life do you want?

And then ask yourself: 

“Is what I’m doing going to get me to this place of who I want to be, my ideal self, my ideal life?

What’s going to get me there?

Is it thermodynamics, caloric deficit, being on constant dieting

or is it going through a diet recovery and do what it takes to truly rehabilitate my metabolism?”

Yes, it’s hard to do the internal work and breaking down these belief systems but it’s so worth it.

....Finally, ask yourself:

» "does the counting, the weighing, the tracking, the food obsessions, the restricting all these foods and limiting & depriving yourself...

...the over-exercising

...the hating your body and pinching your body and picking apart all of the places that you hate and all of the body parts that you hate, that the life that you want to live forever?"

» What do you want to reflect back on when you’re 80 and be like, “Yeah, that was a good life. I’m happy with that.”


It’s really about asking yourself these questions.

So it’s more than just thermodynamics.

It's about -where’s the intention coming from when you’re looking into thermodynamics?

Is it because you are unhappy with your body?


Typically, a lot of people, they don’t even need to change their body.

Unfortunately, they’ve been conditioned to think that they need to change their body, to make it leaner, even though they’re already fine.

Yeah, maybe they’re a little bit softer but that’s beautiful.

And just because our culture tells us that that’s not beautiful, it’s just unfortunate.

The biggest thing is the understanding and realization that your body has it covered and all you have to do is just listen.

And a lot of people are going to get pissed at this because it simplifies things.

But really, this stuff is simple.

Our body is so intelligent.

It has it covered.

And of course, stress, different factors, diet mindsets and beliefs around eating and our body can cloud the ability to be able to listen to our hunger and fullness signals.

So it’s going to be a time of trial and error and trying to listen and feeling so foreign and you don’t even know how to listen.

And so, it’s just this process of trying to navigate this again, becoming normal again.

It’s a confusing process.

I get it. I was there.

But it IS possible for YOUR TOO, with time.


Anyways, that’s my rant for today on thermodynamics and the caloric deficit.

I wanted to read a quick message from someone in the Damn the Diets community.

So, not just to hear it from me and other people on YouTube or Blogs that have recovered and are recovery coaches but to hear it from real normal people who are just living life. 

Katie said, 

“Hi. Though maybe this would help and if not, I truly wish every single one of you brave warriors will someday be free from this monster ED.

I started my full recovery about a year ago, a bit less. Until then I was in quasi recovery for a long time. It was really hard. I had doubts, many fears, panic attacks. But I initially overcame them. A year later, I can say that I’m free.

Food is no longer my enemy. All is back to normal. I have no crazy cravings,” uncontrollable cravings. “I can have chocolate in the house, peanut butter, cereals, ice cream. Well, about everything is now back in my menu without overeating or the fear of calories, without restrictions. My appetite is back to normal. I have hunger, I can feel when I’ve had enough. I don’t have to overeat except, well, on Christmas but that’s normal. A normal eater does that.

I have no need to exercise. I’ve become more like a couch potato. My weight has been stable for six months and there’s no difference if I eat more on some days. My body tells me that it doesn’t need that much food on other days, just like it used to be many, many years ago. 

I’m so grateful that I stumbled upon Kayla’s YouTube and this group. I couldn’t have done it at all without it. Stay strong. It’s hard but worth every tear, fear, and everything else that comes with this journey.” 

I love that.

Thank you, Katie, for sharing!

It’s so great to hear from you guys.


I’ve had other people that come back and say:

“I forgot to even tell you but guess what? I got my period back and my life’s back to normal and things are great.”


But we don’t often come back and share this sometimes because that’s part of recovery is that we don’t want to think about recovery.

We don’t want to think about diets or over-exercising or body image.

We get over that and we get on with our life.

I say that in the most empathetic way I can.

It’s not easy, obviously, but it’s doable.

And people are doing it all the time.

You just have to get to that place of really embracing recovery, letting go, and then being patient with yourself, and doing the work internally, the mental work, the emotional work along with the physical work.

So, I hope that this helped you.

I love seeing that. I love when you guys share this stuff.

Be sure to share all of your progresses and recovery wins.

They all mean so much.

Don’t think any little progress is not worth sharing. It is, okay?

We’re all about progress over perfection here.

I hope that you’re challenging that perfectionism.

It’s part of recovery.

But just know that if you keep consistent if you keep challenging yourself and really getting to the root of things and asking yourself like,

“Where is this coming from?” What do you want out of life? What’s going to get you to where you want to be?"

And you continue doing the work internally, externally, everything. It’s not easy.

You will get to the light at the end of the tunnel.

And then you’ll be able to believe it, really.

You’ll really be able to believe it, that there is another life beyond dieting, fighting food, fighting your body, fighting the self-hate.

It’s a battle.

But I’m here with you.

This is why I do what I do.

I want more for you in life.

I wanted more for myself in life.

And yeah, those thoughts can creep up but don’t act on them.

Just remember your why.

Why are you doing this?

Tell yourself of your why and stay strong.


Sending love in your recovery from dieting!

Kayla Rose


Kayla Rose

Holistic Nutritionist

P.S. I’m hosting a free masterclass specifically for people who want to stop feeling obsessed around food and truly heal their metabolism and you’re invited! Click here to sign up.



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