Calorie counting, a technique that so many of us have bought into. And for many reasons. It gave us a systematic way of monitoring our weight and health.
But I believe it’s days are numbered. Because more and more of us are realizing that it is not the perfect model for weight loss and healthy living that we though it was. And for many, it is actually hurting us more than it is helping.
We have continued this flawed program because we hadn’t found another alternative. Until now (well it was always there, but many of us didn’t see it). There is another way. But before we get to the solution, let's look at the holes in the calorie counting scheme:
- Doesn’t always work. You can track everything you eat to a T and you can still be gaining weight and this is because weight gain has many factors other than food: stress, hormones, sleep, exercise etc...
- Can be disheartening. You spend your time and energy all day tracking everything you eat so closely, then you go on a 5K run and you only burn 230 calories? What?!!! You can eat that in 3 minutes! Which can lead to reason 3.
- Lowered desire to work out. It can feel like getting exercise isn’t making a that big of a difference so you have a harder time motivating to do it. This happens because your focus is on your calories not how you feel from getting movement.
- Inaccurate. You can eat really unhealthy food that is low in calories (think diet sodas and food, sugar free sweeteners, etc…) and a healthy high calorie meal (a salad with avocados, cashews and a coconut oil based dressing). This makes healthy eating pretty confusing.
- Not a healthy model for self- love and confidence. It plays into our insecurities about ourselves and our bodies which makes it our priority to lose weight rather than to live a healthy lifestyle that focuses on taking care of ourselves.
- Constrictive. You are limiting what you can eat. Which creates a mindset of restriction and deprivation. What happens when we tell ourselves we can’t do something? We want to do it even more.
- Stressful. Constantly calculating and worrying about what you are consuming verses burning can be stressful. And what is a main factor that gets in the way of losing weight? STRESS. You are working against yourself here. And when it doesn’t work, it causes even more stress- a vicious cycle.
So what could we do instead? Focus on Nutrient Density.
Nutrient density is a way of eating where you focus on adding in foods to your diet that are high in nutrients. Pretty simple.
What happens when you do this?
- Healthy choices become more clear. Hmm what could I eat? A bowl of cereal or a superfood smoothie?
- You have more energy so exercise becomes easier. Hey do you want to go on a bike ride? Heck yea I do!!!
- You are focusing on expansion. Which makes you more likely to stick to it. Hmm how many nutrients can I get today?
- The more nutrients you eat the less food you actually need (when combined with mindful eating). Wow that superfood smoothie lasted me all the way to lunch- I didn’t even want to snack!!!
- You have less cravings for junk food. Your body is satiated (your not eating ‘empty calorie’ foods) with the nutrients it needs to survive so your body isn’t telling you to eat more food.
- It is more of a fun challenge rather then a problem. You find yourself sneaking healthy foods everywhere. How can I add leafy greens into this meal?
- Your cravings and taste buds change. You might start to desire kale. Enjoy fresh veggies more. Love the taste of brown rice, even though you thought you never would. What?!!! I like salad now?
So what does eating nutrient dense food look like? Whole, natural, fresh, fermented, sprouted, seasonal, local food, and superfoods. Fruits and vegetables. Beans, grains and nuts. Organic and naturally raised (grass-fed, raised outside) animal products. Healthy oils used at the right temperature. Superfoods like chia, hemp, spirulina, cacao, flax, etc…
What do you think? Is calorie counting really working for you? Ready to make the switch?
This may seem like a big change, maybe even too big. Which is why I am here as a health coach. I break down these changes into simple steps that gradually create big change.
Schedule a free session today. Click here.