Should you stop counting calories? As many as two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese. For many of them, the cure is to start calculating calories in food. Yet there is not many attempts which leads to sustained weight loss. These unsuccessful attempts doesn’t only lead to individual tragedy, it also ends up becoming a very expensive cost for the country. Up to date, the obesity cost in the United States comes down to more than $148 billion in health care. A vast amount of money for the society, and an even bigger suffer for the person, who desperately is trying to lose weight, but isn’t able to.
It got to be a better approach, something that consider the person behind the numbers. Something that takes their thoughts, emotions, beliefs and eating behavior into consideration. Instead of treating their symptom, by counting calories, we need to dive deeper into the root cause of these problems. But first, let me explain why you need to stop counting calories.
A calorie is just the measurement for the amount of energy that’s required to increase the heat for 1 gram of water to 1 degree Celsius. Thus, calories are an indication of how much “energy” a food contains and if you eat too many you will gain weight. However, that’s not the whole picture, not even close. Very often, I hear people saying “One calorie equals one calorie”, meaning that where that calorie comes from doesn’t matter, it still has the same impact on our body and health.
Moreover, that statement is the same as saying that eating one kilo of oranges is equivalent to eating one kilo of rice. Though, that’s not the reality. Different foods are not only metabolized and absorbed differently by your body, their nutritional values obviously differ as well.
Does counting calories really work?
The simple answer is NO! Counting calories isn’t the best idea for weight-loss is also because too many of us, particularly these people which already have an infected relationship with food or/ and body image, tend to get too obsessed with the numbers. Frankly, you might lose some weight, but once again, most likely you’ll gain it back in a few months.
Moreover, these endless questions about how many calories i need to lose weight causes restrictions, generates obsession, lack of energy, recognizing hunger signals and knowing when you are hungry or not. If you’re hungry, it’s your bodies way of telling you that’s it’s time to eat, opposed, if you are full, you shouldn’t eat. When you are on a calorie counting diet and have reached the amount of calories allowed to eat for a day, you can’t eat more, no matter what your body is telling you. Sadly, this can also be a way into eating disorders and many other harmful disorders.
What many forget is what happens afterwards, when you can’t stand you 1200 calorie diet anymore. How are you going to eat, what are you going to eat and how will these previous restrictions affect you current eating behavior. For what I have seen with clients I have been coaching is that these low calorie diets just have brought them to a lace of insecurity, hormonal imbalances and even more confusion than before.
3 Steps to a More Pleasurable Diet
- Skip the junk
The Diet Coke doesn’t contain any calories, but it’s about more than just the amount of calories. In every given situation, go for the natural option, think clean and go back to basics, how we use to eat before there was a Burger King in every corner. Nutrient dense food that will keep you full and energized throughout your day.
- More veggies and fruits!
No diet won’t mention this and there is a reason for that. Let the vegetables take place and build your meals with them as a base. Vegetables, fruit and berries are high in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. The different colors come from the protective substances. Many vegetables and fruits are rich in fiber, which has various positive effects in the body. Fiber fills well and keeps the stomach started. Additionally, if you eat lots of vegetables and fruit you reduces the risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer. Aim for at least 500 grams a day.
- Pay attention to how it makes you feel
By paying attention to how food makes you feel in the moment, afterwards, and even the next day, you can slowly start to use pleasure as an indicator and start exploring what a healthy diet is for. As you start to really paying attention to your feeling concerned with different foods, you won’t only get to know your body better, you might also get surprised by what sort of food you really appreciate.
It’s time to stop counting calories!