I’m going to make a bold statement straight away. You can lose weight and never count a calorie. This seems like health-nut blasphemy, I know. Counting calories can make you into an insane person. In some cases it simply doesn’t make sense. Eating natural, whole, nutrient-rich foods is the best way to a healthy, active and slimmer lifestyle.
The general principal behind weight loss is a simple one: you have to burn more than you consume. This totally works- its only logical, but it could be completely unhealthy. Take anorexia for example. It works, too, but is obviously not the way to go about things. This is my main problem with only counting calories. You could fill an entire day of “100 calorie packs” of cookies, crackers, etc, and never consume any real nutrients you need. So you could essentially be filling your belly with calories,but not supplying your body any of the things it needs to run properly. What is good about those diet foods anyway? You can justify all you want and say they taste “pretty good for 50 calories” or whatever, but we all know most of it tastes like cardboard. I realize I recommend some less-than-scrumptious foods, but there is a reason for eating them. Maybe you don’t want to eat that pile of roasted vegetables, but you know they contain tons of vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein (yes, some veggies have protein ie: leafy greens). I happen to enjoy a big mess of veggies. Most low calorie processed foods don’t care about anything except keeping that calorie number low, not what nutrients (or anti-nutrients) they contain. Bottom line is they don’t DO anything for you.
Counting calories is very imprecise, unless you carry your kitchen scales around with you everywhere. There are many sites to look up calorie count, but you may not know what they used to measure the count. Calories are different in raw chicken and cooked chicken. Your pasta sauce may have olive oil in it, while the website you check measured a pasta sauce without oil and will result in totally different calorie numbers and fat grams. There are simply too many variables in life to make counting every calorie realistic. Restaurants do not make every single dish exactly the same with exactly the same amount of ingredients, so how do you know that meal is only 550 calories? You can’t.
But guess what. Vegetables and fruits are naturally low in calories! On Weight Watchers, they allow you to eat as many fresh fruits and vegetables as you want. They usually don’t even factor into their point system- they’re freebies, if you will. Doesn’t it make sense to eat a majority of foods that are low in calories and high in nutrients? Your body is fueled by what it needs, without being weighed down by what it doesn’t need. I’ve talked before about the importance of good fats, and that’s where many of your calories will come from. Again, it’s illogical, to me at least, to compare an avocado and some Snackwells cookies based on calories. You know how good avocado is for you, but it is probably higher in calories than those cookies because it is high in fat.
Get your priorities straight. Eat what you need to live your best life. Think about when you eat a bad meal. It makes you tired and want to lay around which is clearly not conducive to weight loss or an active lifestyle. When you have proper fuel, you will be properly energized for whatever your day may have in store for you. Read the ingredients on everything. If the list of ingredients is longer than your arm and looks like another language, PUT IT DOWN. Know that you are eating real food and not fillers and preservatives.
By: Ashley Dance