"Since a given amount of calories is the same amount of energy, no matter the source, it makes no difference, in terms of weight control, where the same amount of calories comes from. In terms of health and nutrition it will, but not weight control."
I understand the point you are making. There's just one little problem: it does
make a difference where the calories come from because
of the way nutrition affects health and thus weight control
. When things aren't balanced--and hear me now: balance means very different things in different bodies--then the system does not work efficiently and many more things than just body fat percentages are affected.
If you don't have the right balance of nutrition for your particular body, then your body does it's best to compensate but it can only go so far. And its first priority isn't weight loss, it's survival. Survival of the brain, then survival of the organs, then survival of everything else. That's why something called starvation mode exists. When you cut nutrition too much for your unique system, the body shifts gears, stops burning fuel efficiently, and starts storing it up instead. And listen closely--starvation mode happens a lot more often than you think, and not just in the starving. It's a handy tool that the brain whips out and uses for lots of situations you may not even be aware of like, say, toxin build up.
Toxicity: This is your brain, this is your brain on Bob.
Let's say Bob is a moderately overweight person who has eaten a lot of crap in his lifetime, some of it containing very harmful toxins like formaldehyde, dioxins, PCBs, even alcohol. Back when he was gobbling it up, unbeknownst to him, his smart body cleverly pulled the toxins out of his food and locked them up in his fat cells before they could enter his bloodstream and then his vital organs and brain. As long as they sit in those fat cells, insulated and isolated, Bob's golden. He may have a few unpleasant symptoms, but he ain't gonna die. Now, let's say he's decided to take the plunge and drop the excess weight. He's read an article in the New York Times and thought to himself, "Gee, the New York Times has never published anything
that turned out to be wrong," and decides to cut his nutritional intake simply by eating less food. He doesn't really pay attention to what
he's eating because, hey, a calorie is a calorie, right? He just eats less of it. His body notices the deficiency and begins to tap those fat cells for energy but wait, all of a sudden there's a serious problem.
As Bob's fat cells release their contents, they release the toxins, too. Now, Bob's blood is poisoned. His thyroid begins to falter and he feels like he's dragging all day long, yet he can't seem to get to sleep at night. His liver suffers and he becomes irritable. His prostate takes a major hit and his ability to give Mrs. Bob that little girl she's always been wanting hits the skids. The health of all his cells in general dips in such a way that they cannot metabolize the nutrients they are receiving or repair themselves from damage when they need to. In a word, Bob starts to really feel like shit. He blames himself ("I'm just out of shape, it'll pass. I don't want to fail at this and look like a weenie.") and just pushes on through. But his brain has a priority higher than a smaller jeans size: it wants its body to live. It shuts down his fat burning apparatus to prevent any more poisons from marching up his bloodstream into its front yard. It throws the switch and sends him right into starvation mode even when he isn't starving. He is now exercising like he's supposed to, eating the right portions according to all the experts, but feeling worse every day and not only is he not losing weight, he's gaining it. He even has bizarre, irrational cravings for high fat food, which he also blames on himself. Thank you, brain, you did good.
OK, calorie counting, you can go now. Nutrition, take the stage. If Bob had done a little research, he would have realized that including foods high in the nutrients necessary to help flush out toxins would have saved him a lot of grief. Calories weren't really important at all. All Bob had to do was stop eating the crap, start eating the good stuff (like vegan stuff, which automatically contains the goodies necessary for toxin flush), and incorporate a mild exercise program that builds gradually into a killer exercise program. He would have naturally balanced his system, his now-efficient body would have consequently upped his metabolism as a nice bonus, he would have lost weight gradually and fairly effortlessly, the toxins would have floated right out of his body incrementally without him noticing them at all, and his brain would have been happy, no cravings. He could have accomplished all this without thinking about a single calorie, in fact he could have gorged himself on awesome food at every meal and felt pleasantly full. Smarter vegans do it every day.
Ready for the clincher? You are ALL Bob. You don't have to be significantly overweight for your body to hit the panic button when toxins enter your bloodstream during weight loss. In fact, it's those last five to ten pounds that seem so hard to lose that often hold the toxins. They could be toxins you've had sitting in your left buttcheek since junior high when you ate that apple with the pesticides in it, the body doesn't care one way or the other. People vary, though. Some can drop obscene amounts of weight in short periods of time and only seem to shock their system a little. Ironically, that's often not a sign of strength on their part; it's usually an indication that their chemical signals aren't working very efficiently and/or they have numbed themselves to the signs. Time will tell; the body always wins in the end. Some of us just like to work too hard. Most of us, though, are pretty aware of how we feel and what our system is asking for. Surprisingly, it's the highly sensitive types who are equipped to handle everything with the greatest ease. They are acutely aware of the signs around them and within them and are the least able to just cast a blind eye upon the obvious. They don't tolerate suffering well. You shouldn't, either.
Instead of responding to a bodily condition (like excess weight) by cutting back, retracting, or going without something (like calories), think about adding good stuff, replacing things with better things, and supplementing your life with more of what you actually need. You'll never starve again.