Has counting calories taken over your life? Are you worried that if you stop counting calories how else are you going to lose weight? Well the good news is there are other ways to lose weight, without being stuck in counting calories
Counting calories has its time and place.
When you are first starting off on your weight loss journey, you need a place of reference, a starting point. Many times weight loss can seem simple – eat less – exercise more. In order for us to eat less, we need to track how much we are eating now. This is where calorie counting comes in. If we have no idea what foods are causing us to put on weight and what foods are healthier than others counting calories is a good place to start. At the beginning, when we lessen our calories we are naturally going to lose weight.
Now that might work well for some people. The trick is however, to use it as a guideline into how much you should be eating quantity wise and to give you an idea of what foods are going to be fattier for you than others so allows you to stop counting calories.
Not all calories are created equally, this makes it easier to stop counting calories.
This is where counting calories starts unravelling a bit. Once you have been on the weight loss journey for a while, it is then not as simple as eat less, exercise more.
You realise that as you eat less, it is not a simple case that you will burn more off. In fact studies have shown that you burn less. Not all calories are the same in our bodies. A calorie is a unit of energy, so that might be ok on the outside of our bodies, but inside we digest and make use of foods differently. For instance, an avocado is high in calories but extremely beneficial for us in the good fats that we need and we digest it quickly and use that energy wisely. A chocolate cake might have the same number of calories but it is full of saturated fats. It gets stored on us as toxins and fats, adds to our cholesterol and has sugar which causes us harm, so stop counting calories.
Once we have a guideline of how much to eat, we need to switch our attention to being healthy, rather than losing weight. Make weight loss a secondary gain of getting healthy. You are never going to overeat natural foods. Foods in their natural state like fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
Bring snacks of fruit instead of processed foods. Focus on as natural foods as possible and as healthy foods as possible. Even if you love pizza’s, go for vegetarian instead of processed meats like pepperoni.
You be in control of your food instead of your food controlling you.
When we get wrapped up in counting calories, we eat according to how many calories something has, whether it is good for us or not. We eat the quantity of calories we have decided we need, regardless of how hungry we are. In the end it can control us because we aim for a magic number each day that is just difficult to get right and our emotions then revolve around this number. We lose sight of what is important. We lose sight of us, listening to our bodies and what we really need.
Get back in control of your food and get back in control of you.
Think what healthy foods you like and plan to eat so much of them in a day or a week. Make small switches like sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes. Tomato sauces instead of creamy sauces. Pick at least one day a week where you cook from scratch if you can. Include a small salad with every meal. Avoid the processed ready dinners that will be full of fat, cream and hidden calories. Sneak in some vegetables where you can, for instance, sneak broccoli and peas into pasta. Listen to your body, it’s telling you what you need. Concentrate on enjoying the food.
It’s time to stop when it consumes you.
It’s time to stop counting calories when the number becomes more important than the actual losing weight. We end up calculating every bit of food which can then get exceedingly difficult when you know labelling is not totally exact. When cooking a home meal, we have to work out how much of something we have had and then calculate the calories. Going out with friends induces great stress instead of enjoying yourself. Relax. You are going to continue your weightloss journey the more enjoyable it is. Have some guidelines where you don’t count calories but you know you are eating within less than 2000c a day. Eat as much fruit and veg as you want, you are never going to put on weight by eating too much. Eat as natural as possible, for instance for breakfast instead of cereals, cereal bars, croissants or baked goods, eat apples, fruit bowls and smoothies made just purely from fruit. When you want to go out to a restaurant, enjoy yourself, have want you want and eat lightly with lots of salads the next day. Each week make a note of one food to swop out for a healthier option, for instance swopping out fizzy drinks for water. Just do one a week and you will have new healthier habits and lose weight.
Vanessa is a hypnotherapist specialisting in weight loss.