Have you been counting calories or points ever since you can remember and still struggle with your weight? Overweight has much less to do with calories than it has to do with food choices. Let me explain. When you look at money, $1 is one dollar, no matter how many ways it is constructed. It may be four quarters, twenty nickels, one hundred pennies or one paper bill. Whichever way you have it, it still adds up to $1.
Calories are different. The way they are metabolized is completely dependent on what they are made of, and you will burn them efficiently, burn them too quickly, or store them as fat.
Why Diets Don't Work
Diet programs place their focus on calories, points, and selling products. They show you healthy foods in their ads, but their programs stress weight loss through calorie counting instead of an individualized approach that addresses your lifestyle, diet history and health. The measure of success is what the scale says, which can lead you to feel exhilarated or embarrassed.
For years, conventional thought was if you count your calories and stay within a certain parameter, you maintain your weight. Scientists knew that food made of fat had more calories than food made of simple sugars, so they steered us away from fat. In the eighties, cardiologists said all fat was unhealthy for the heart. They said it was better to eat simple sugars, not fat, because sugar burns quickly. They thought you would maintain your weight and prevent heart disease.
Many foods that formerly contained fat were reconstructed and processed, with the fat pulled from them and sugar added to them to make them tasty. You've seen the 'lite' and 'fat-free' 'low fat' labels on supposedly weight controlling foods, but this is not what keeps you satisfied. They will likely have chemical stop replace the fats along with added sugar. The calorie count may be reduced but the results have been disastrous to the waistline. Why? Because you need a lot of sugar to feel satisfied. Sugar makes us want more because it burns off quickly. Oh, and by the way, sugar can be quite addictive. Sugar is clearly the enemy, and if you have any doubt about that, chec out my blog post on 78 ways sugar harms us.
Fats on the other hand, metabolize slowly and give your body a sense of feeling full for a much longer time, especially when they are paired with protein. The secret is to make them healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil, nuts and avocado, all in moderate amounts.
It’s Not about Will Power
This hunger thng is not a lack of will power. This is simple biology and metabolism. When you get hungry you eat. Eat more sugar based foods and you repeat the cycle. Over and over.
And that’s exactly what happened to me. I ate a lot of sugar, and I was hungry a lot. And tired. But worst of all, I had very high triglycerides, a precursor for heart disease, and I was only in my forties. That all changed when I replaced refined sugar foods with fruit and sweet vegetables. And it changed quickly, convincing me that our bodies can heal when we give them the right nutrients. Now many diet gurus tell you to avoid fruits because of the sugar in them. I disagree. The sugar you find in fruits is a natural form, and it is surrounded with fiber that makes the sugar break down more slowly than a refined sweet. Fruit is also packe dwith nutrients.
Next Steps for Wise Weight Loss
Now you know all calories are not equal. Change your focus to food choices high in nutrients. Toss your low fat and lite products away and eat small amounts of quality fat (nuts, olive or coconut oil, fish) mixed with protein. Combine your fat and protein foods with copious amounts of the complex carbohydrates found in vegetables, You will feel full and your body will metabolize these foods effectively. And forget about points. You and your food are much more than points.
Get Slender, but Not Too Slender
As much as possible, focus less on being a size 6 and more on being a healthy weight and having plenty of energy. When you eat well and get to a healthier weight you will be able to maintain that weight with your new good habits.
And be patient! We don’t gain excess weight all at once, so it should not come off rapidly. If it does, it’s likely to come back on. A better approach is to crowd out the damaging foods with fresh foods that you like. Then watch your energy rise and the number on the scale go down.
Some Specific Food Tips
Replace white potatoes, French Fries and white rice with sweet potatoes, baked green beans and brown rice
Drop the white flour foods like bagels and breads made of 100% enriched flour for whole or sprouted grain breads
If you are accustomed to eating meat most days skip it one night a week, then 2 nights a week, until you are only eating it occasionally.
Replace store bought cookies with home made cookies and have them only once in awhile. (I make a batch 2-3 times a year and give most of them away.)
Does the idea of not counting calories sound workable to you? How would you feel if you shifted from calorie counting to quality food? If you need help with this, contact me and we’ll make a plan.