In American culture, we have become so focused on counting calories that we don’t pay any attention to what we are actually putting into our bodies. We’re all guilty of it. We see those yummy packaged cake rolls that say “50% fewer Calories” or that cereal bar with the “light” frosting, or only “100 calories”. This seems too good to be true! I can eat my favorite guilty pleasure foods without increasing my calorie count?! Why not!?
Sadly, it’s far too good to be true. Where you gain in one area, you sacrifice in another, and with these types of “calorie-saving” foods, you sacrifice REAL nutrition.
Humans didn’t even start counting calories until we started processing our foods. There was no need. Even 40 to 50 years ago we were still eating REAL food, not synthetic, processed “food”. For those of you who like numbers and charts, below is a link from businessinsider.com showing 11 charts comparing the consumption of food over the past 50+ years. My favorite chart is the last one – #11. It links the start of the obesity epidemic to the publishing of low-fat dietary guidelines. We ate food that was digestible by our bodies and obesity was not an issue. As soon as we started processing and adding refined sugars to our food, the rate of obesity, heart disease and certain cancers increased. Our bodies are not meant to eat these processed, boxed, fake foods! According to Joe Rigonlas:
“The correlation between obesity and disease with the consumption of things like refined sugar, grains and processed vegetable oils is crystal clear. Simply put, we have evolved to eat foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. When your diet is centered around basic foods like veggies, fruits, quality sources of protein and natural fats, there’s no need to count calories (or “points”). These foods will nourish you and naturally make you feel satisfied making you less likely to over-eat. More importantly you become healthier as your body begins to learn how to run on this better source of fuel for energy rather than relying so heavily of sugar.”
Counting calories will work to an extent, but if you want to drop the size of your waist, and build a sustainable, healthy lifestyle, you must first drop the processed foods. I tell all my clients to get rid of the scales and stay away from “diets”. You aren’t likely to succeed with them and even if you do, you’ll likely struggle to maintain that combination of weight and lifestyle. If you are serious about getting healthy, start by eating REAL food. Below is a diagram called the “Real Food Pyramid” that shows what your daily food consumption SHOULD be. Your body will pay it forward by trimming inches from your waist, giving you more energy, and putting you in a better mood!
I tell my clients to give yourself a 30 day trial when making a significant lifestyle change. That’s how long it takes to “retrain the brain” and build new habits. Be patient with yourself and know it’s okay if you falter at first – but stick with it and you’ll see the results you desire.
So stop. Stop counting those calories. Throw out the weight scale and start eating REAL food.