I have a number of thoughts about this article. It claims calories are misleading metrics for the nutrition of food, among many, many other things. The sheer disorganization of the thoughts worries me – for a longer piece, I'd hope for a more coherent understanding, not just their inner monologue made outer. A semi-biographic report of a dieter turned dietician probably isn't the time to make extremely dubious claims about the energy content of food.
For instance, they confuse calorie counting with low-fat diets – what a strange error. Indeed, some of the most successful low-calorie dieters use very high-fat diets. But confusing fat and calories by casually saying fat is calorie dense is not just being lazy, it's emblematic of the mistake the piece makes over and over again – the idea that you can take any random number on the Nutrition Facts table, and then say, that's what nutrition is.
Let me be clear: your body fat levels will be predicted with shocking accuracy by your net caloric intake. I've had a spreadsheet predict my weight to within a tenth of a pound (about 45 grams). There's a window your current weight can be in – water weight, food still being digested, heck I suppose a haircut could even move the needle – but it's not more than five pounds in normal circumstances. If you eat the same basic amount and type of thing for a couple days, you'll have a benchmark weight that will allow future changes to be predicted almost perfectly by calorie information.
But the whole point of calorie counting is that all it talks about is the energy content of food, the rest being pulled from excess body fat (if available). It doesn't say anything about nutrition at large – if you need to lose weight, you have all the calories you need walking around with you, but not all the iron or vitamin C. Nutrition is complicated, involves both macro- and micro-nutrients, fiber and other quazi-nutritional things, is immensely complicated, and probably requires you consume micro-nutrients we haven't even discovered yet.
At the end of the day, though, you've probably gotten all the advice you need. Eat a varied diet. Take notes about what you eat and how you feel after. You'll figure out the diet that works best for you from that extremely quickly. The hard part about losing weight is that it takes a long time. Few other endeavors are measured in months before you get to a point where you've made good progress, but one comes to mind: marathon training.
It's been my go-to analogy for years, since I learned about marathon training charts. You can learn how to go from sedentary to running a marathon, day by day. We know exactly how much running it takes to do that, and over how long, with how much rest. It's not complicated, it's just hard.
Now, sprinting, as an athletic endeavor, probably has similar training requirements. So saying weight loss is a marathon and not a sprint sort of stinks. But, more importantly, like a marathon: we know how to lose weight – it just takes time, isn't always going to be easy, and you'll need to put in a lot of work for little recognition or progress.
Appreciating a process like that is a task for the modern mind. Everything is complicated these days, and games (among many things) have made us too tempted to easy praise. Hard things can be made easier, with diligence, but there is virtue in doing those things we can't make easy, too.