Top 4 Reasons
Would you like to transform your relationship to food and actually start enjoying your meals again –This time guilt free?
You see, calorie counting was part of my training as a dietitian – one of our homework assignments. It seemed everyone in my class was really good at it, like they had memorized the calorie content of a bunch of foods. I never got my head around all the numbers. I’ll admit, I failed miserably at counting calories and gave up within a few weeks. I never really enjoyed it and I felt restricted, like I was going crazy. After all, I have always treated food as my best friend. I enjoy eating and I have always looked at food with gratitude and love.
In this blog post I will go through the reasons why we should start to reconsider counting calories.
1) You Start Restricting Healthy Foods
This especially happens when it comes to fat. We often omit higher fat foods simply because they are higher in calories without taking into consideration what benefits we might get from them, such as staying fuller for longer and getting necessary nutrients, like fat-soluble vitamins.
Let me give you some context here. A tablespoon of Jelly Beans is 80 kcal. A table spoon of Almonds is also approximately 80kcal. Yes they both provide the same about of energy so technically we all could eat Jelly Beans over Almonds as after all, a calorie is a calorie right?
However, if we dig deeper the nutrients these foods provide are very very different from each other. Almonds are a great source of healthy fats, protein and fiber. They also contain vitamin E and magnesium. Jelly Beans contain sugar and that’s it! Oh let’s not forget the artificial ingredients either.
So the simple answer to this is that NOT ALL CALORIES ARE CREATED EQUAL!
Choose to fully ignore calorie labels, especially foods that are naturally high in fat such as meat, oily fish, avocados, olives, nuts, and seeds.
2) Eating Becomes A Battle Between Your Mind And Your Body
The funny thing is the more you count calories, the less attention is on the food in front of you. Instead of seeing food you see numbers! Therefore eating becomes a battle between the calculator and your stomach. The calculations said you needed a certain amount of calories per day. If you go over you label it as a “bad” day. If you go under, it is an excuse to eat a bit of chocolates since its only 90 calories. This is not very mindful…
Mindfulness has become a buzz word and it is a beautiful movement that encouraged people to pay more attention to the food they eat. Mindfulness is all about being present, experiencing the food you eat and listening to your body’s needs. You may find that your body will start to “speak to you” and inform you what to eat and when to stop eating. This is known as initiative eating.
Mindfulness also allows you to develop a healthy brain-gut connection. If you eat a meal in an anxious, rushed and non-present state, you do not allow the brain to register that you have had a meal. It’s basically lost WiFi! Showing love and gratitude to the food we eat is so essential since it puts you in positive frame of mind. Food becomes your friend and when this happens, you will finally start to enjoy your food and body.
3) You Start Eating More Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice, cereal, fruit etc) provides us with energy as they are broken down into sugar. If you don’t use this energy, it may be stored as fat. Therefore, have you ever thought about the amount of carbohydrates you consume in a day over the calories you consume? Nutrition guidelines recommend a low-calorie, low-fat diet. Trouble is, when you focus on calories, you’re likely to eat less fat (since fat is more calorie-dense than carbohydrate and protein). And when you eat less fat, you’re likely to eat more carbohydrates. See the problem?
Start to look at the composition of your meals instead of counting the calories. Are you eating enough protein and vegetables with your meals or are they mainly carbohydrate based?
4) The Root Cause Of Your Problem Is Not Addressed
We don’t just eat because our body needs fuel. Sometimes it’s boredom. Sometimes it’s emotional stuff or one of countless other reasons. Hence, trying to use willpower and counting every calorie isn’t going to fix what’s causing there to be a problem in the first place. Our emotions and the way we speak to ourselves shape our current situation and future. Re-examine your beliefs about yourself and your health. If you speak dis-empowering words to yourself such as “I am fat” and “I hate my body” then you may never achieve your desired results as you are instructing your mind that this is how you want to feel and be. Instead, change the way you speak through the use of affirmations. Affirmations are anything you say or think. Speak empowering words about yourself such as “I love my body” or “I am now achieving my health goals with ease”. Positive thinking and positive affirmations is something i practise myself and it has performed miracles in my life. Look to Louise Hay for more about affirmation if you want to change your life for the better.
How do I Eat?
I prefer to eat 1-2-3.
The 1-2-3 Healthy Approach is a tool I have developed and used with clients with gestational diabetes (diabetes in pregnancy) to help stabilising blood sugars. It has been such a success that I decided to rule it across to other of my specialist areas such as weight management and type 1 and type 2 diabetes. This includes the adult and children population. This is not a diet, it’s an approach to healthy eating without counting calories or weighing foods. Read more about it here.
I hope this blog post has empowered you and I hope you decide the best option for yourself, whether that is counting calories or not. We all have our own preferences. Please leave a comment below.