Disclaimer: I know folks with diabetes and other conditions must manage carbohydrates. This post is not meant to offend and is only one gals opinion. I am just not a fan of diets that restrict vegetables.
Hey Friends, I want to let you in on a little secret. I don’t count calories! I don’t pay attention to macros. I manage to keep my weight within 5 pounds of my weight at 20 years old.
This wasn’t alway me. At one point in my life I tracked every single bite that I put in my mouth. I thought a “low carb” diet was the key to maintaining a trim and healthy figure. I made myself and everyone around me bananas with my constant focus on calories and macronutrients. It wasn’t pretty! (Check out my previous article HERE on “Our Crazy Preoccupation with Carbs”.)
I have family and friends that would say I am blessed with good genetics and that I am one of those people that is “naturally thin”. That is simply not true. While I do work hard and maintain an active lifestyle working out at least 5 days a week, I believe that diet is the key to a healthy body. I am a firm believer in the science of intuitive eating and a plant-based diet. I think if you focus on putting loads of good things into your body like fruits, veggies and whole grains you simply won’t have room for the bad things.
I practice Intuitive Eating. Meaning, I listen to my body’s cues for what it needs and feed it accordingly. Click HERE to see what a day my life of Intuitive Eating looks like. For me it is all about whole foods with veggies and fruits galore.
There is a lot of science out there to back this theory up.
1) You don’t really know how many calories your body is absorbing from the food you eat. According to Registered Dietician Abby Langer, we used to think that since 3,500 calories equal a pound, every time you eat 3,500 extra calories beyond what your body needs, you end up gaining that weight. Now we know better: Not all calories are equal like we thought. Everything from how your food is processed to how much fiber it contains determines how many calories you’re absorbing from it. Even the bacteria in your gut may play a part in how you digest food and how many calories you derive from it.
2) Yet another reason to avoid processed foods….calorie counts on packages are not accurate! While you diligently log that pre-portioned snack you may not be aware that the FDA is given a 20% margin for error.
3) When you focus on counting calories you lose focus on hunger cues. This may actually make you eat more. If your fitness app is telling you that you have 300 calories more to eat in a day, you may decide to do so whether or not you are actually hungry.
4) You may be eating too many empty foods. That bag of baked chips may have 120 calories. So does an apple with a dollop of raw almond butter. Which one do you think is going to satisfy more? The chips will leave you feeling hungry because they don’t have the fiber and nutrients contained in the apple and almond butter. So many Americans are eating high calorie diets but are actually starving their bodies of nutrients. A vicious cycle of empty foods leads to weight gain and illness.
I know for many of you this is a scary message. You are married to that fitness app. You fear that if you listen to your body it will scream I WANT CUPCAKES! Again, the focus is on putting whole foods in your body. This is not a license to go crazy and eat a gallon of ice cream in one sitting. However, I do ask you to give yourself permission for the occasional treat. That is what Intuitive Eating is all about. For me, those occasional indulgences make it easy to eat clean because I know nothing is totally off limits!
Above all, love yourself enough to take care of you!