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

Uncategorized Mar 09, 2020

Today I want to talk about the “law” of thermodynamics!

I’ve been seeing a couple of different comments from people that aren’t subscribed that just stumbled upon my videos on youtube and they want to fight me with my approach with thermodynamics. 

Okay…I understand thermodynamics. And I understand the theories behind it. I don’t want to come from a place of trying to justify where I’m coming from. I want to come from a place of: you may have seen these comments in the comments section of my videos and you may be wondering like, “Oh yeah, thermodynamics, this applies to me too.” And you may get lost in that, it may be triggering to you. It may trigger you to fall out of recovery.

So, I just want to bring this up to talk about it so this doesn’t happen to you because I can see that happening. I know it happened to me when I was in recovery. I continued to go back and forth between, “Well, thermodynamics says…” or falling prey to certain fat-burning supplements because I just wanted to get the weight off. So, I would order them and then I’d take it and I’d be like, “What the fuck am I doing? Why am I falling for this?” Obviously, I don’t fall for that shit now. But I did early on in my recovery when I was still vulnerable, when I hadn’t yet changed these beliefs around dieting and the supplements and fat burning, hit workouts, low carb, all of this. I was still so susceptible to going back to those beliefs because I had believed them for so long that obviously, yeah, they’re going to keep coming up and trying to tempt you or that habit is going to keep trying to persist until you really break that down and see for yourself what works for you and what doesn’t work for you.

So, anyways, if you’re one that keeps falling prey for this, you keep going back and you keep trying these different things like fasting, intermittent fasting, the laws of thermodynamics, fat burner supplements, you need to create a caloric deficit, etc. You need to eat less calories than you burn. You need to exercise more and eat less. You need to do low carb, you need to do low fat, whatever. I want to just talk about this.

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 it quite quickly earlier on in your diet escapade.. 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, like really young and we pick up dieting and over-exercise. It can come off really quick.

But the longer that time goes on, the longer we keep dieting and following this diet and then going onto another diet or 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. 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. Before you picked up dieting, you went and 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 may have heard this, it becomes easier to store the weight and store it really quickly and store a lot of it.

So I’ve talked about this in other videos like the Metabolic Damage video and Will I Become Obese on my youtube channel, but I wanted to expand on it for this topic in specific. So, you get to that place where you’ve created a caloric deficit. And as the years go by, it seems harder and harder to keep the weight off. So, if you would’ve just stayed normal before, if you even know what normal is, 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 you have to work on rewiring that so you don’t keep going on that cycle where you say, “No off-limit foods, these are bad for me. I can’t have them at all” extreme. And then you end up binging. That’s the inevitable result. So you end up binging on all those foods.

But if you’re consistent with this and you don’t stay in a caloric deficit and over-exercise yourself to misery, these foods lose their novelty. And you won’t feel so crazy 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 is it leads to binge eating and no, you don’t have binge-eating disorder. It’s just that your body is doing what it’s biologically designed to do. Which in nature, yeah, it 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, 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 hormone problems, digestive problems, hair falling out, sexual dysfunction, low libido, feeling cold all the time, you can’t sleep. All of these different symptoms of starvation. Yeah, it just wasn’t meant to be for long-term. So, the body knew that, hopefully, or else you would die if you didn’t get to a new environment with an abundance of food. But once you did, then you would binge eat. You would feast, you would consume all of the food to make up for the energy deficits. Yeah, it was great for people that want to look ultra lean and have a six-pack and be in a body that is not natural 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. 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 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 just 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. We’re trying to get away from these mindsets. 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. 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 no a hundred percent everything. I’m speaking to the people that are coming from restrictive diets, any kind of restriction. So even orthorexia where you have more bad off-limit foods than good foods. You’re over-exercising beyond what is healthy for your body. 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, 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 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. Okay?

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 not… This is the furthest from the truth. Okay? 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 recovery, 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.

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. They 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. For everyone, that is just not true. Okay, there is body diversity for a lot of different reasons that I’ve talked about in other videos.

So, the other aspect to all of this is it’s that mindset of, it’s not about how much you’ve eaten, it’s about what you’re eating. For a lot of us coming from orthorexia or just crazy restrictive clean eating diets and we’ve lost our sanity to these extremes and we get lost in it, we don’t feel as healthy as we thought we were going to feel. But rather, we’re miserable. Hyper focused on food, out of control around food, more fearful 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. Are they clean enough? Do they go in alignment with your good foods and bad foods list? You have to prep all your meals and you can’t eat outside of this meal plan or specific diet guidelines of the good foods.

So all of this stuff and you’re constantly thinking about it day in and day out and shaming yourself and guilting yourself and stressing yourself out if you go outside of your strict guidelines. I get it, 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 counterintuitive. So, no matter how many healthy foods you eat, if you’re constantly stressed out all the time and shaming yourself and guilting yourself, it 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.

So again, we all get, I’m sure, whoever watches my channel and me and then the people who have also recovered and our recovery coaches, we all get thermodynamics. We all get the mindset of eating the highest quality of foods, the highest, what we deem to think is the best macronutrient for the metabolism and when to eat for the metabolism and what specific foods are better for the metabolism. 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 it’s limited, that it can’t have access to anything and everything at once. And therefore, it 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 nos and bads and off-limits, these foods, eventually with time obviously will lose their novelty, will lose this control over you, this ever-looming, all-consuming, out-of-control feeling around these specific foods. And then you can approach your life in a more balanced normal way again. You can have a balance of all different kinds of foods. So, wholesome, healthier foods are what diet culture and diets think as healthy and a balance of the more processed junky foods, whatever you want to call it. I really think that that feeds into that restrictive mindset, though. If you want to say junk, good, healthy, at times these foods 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 a long 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 you see that all the time in diet recovery. Really out of all of it, it’s getting away from this mindset of, yeah, 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. 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, it’s 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 it what it asks for when it asks for. It tells you when to stop and when it needs it again. And it really is that simple.

Simplicity. It really can be that simple. It really is that simple if you just give it a chance. And you have to show your body that it can trust you, that it will be fed consistently, that it will be fed what it wants when it wants it, and with time, you will heal. I just want you to feel this. I really want you to get to this place. I don’t even 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, 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 crazy around food and food controlling you and you’re sick of the constant thoughts about food and what to eat and what not to eat, try to give recovery enough of a chance. Even if that means months and months or even years to recover your metabolism and digestion and hormones and hair and everything. It’s worth it.

And just a quick note, that I 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. So if you put less energy in, it’s going to lower the metabolism so that it doesn’t die. With a high metabolic rate with low amounts of energy coming in, that leads to death. So the body lowers the metabolism to adjust to the low amount of calories in. Once you up your calories with extreme hunger, binging, coming from a restrictive past, you’re letting go of the restrictions to try to recover. You come at a state with a lowered metabolism, higher energy coming in, so your body’s going to store fat because this is a conservation mechanism, the lowered metabolism. So more 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, and you’re consistent with your eating and you give it what your body’s asking for consistently without restrictions, then slowly, your metabolism comes back up.

You still have as much energy as your body is asking for to come in, which this changes and fluctuates as time goes on. It may be more so in the beginning of recovery but then it adjusts and your body adjusts your hunger and satiety cues. But your metabolism stays high because it 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, 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.

Yeah, try thermodynamics 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 binging 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.

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 maybe I’m not perfect? Maybe I’m not fully recovered or fully healed because life 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 just finding about what’s more worth it.

If you want to do thermodynamics, 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 crazy 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 recovery?”

Yes, it’s hard to do the internal work and breaking down these belief systems but it’s so worth it. Just ask yourself, does the counting, the weighing, the tracking, the food obsessions, the restricting all these foods and limiting yourself and over-exercising and 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, is 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 just really about asking yourself these questions. So it’s more than just thermodynamics. Okay? And where’s the intention coming from when you’re looking into thermodynamics? Is it because you are unhappy with your body?

And 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 and different factors and diet mindsets and beliefs around eating in 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 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 Facebook community. So, not just to hear it from me and other people on YouTube or Blogs that have recovered and our recovery coaches but to hear it from you guys. Okay? So some of you may have seen this if you’re in that Facebook group:

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.” Yeah, me too. “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.”

And it’s true. “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.” Before all the diets. “I’m so grateful that I stumbled upon Kayla’s YouTube and this group. I couldn’t have done it at all without it.” I just got the chills. “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. Okay? 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? And 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!

Kayla Rose


Want more help in your recovery? Be sure to check out my online recovery programs on this page!


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