Why we should STOP Counting Calories
I feel like we've made eating nowadays so damn complicated. There are so many different companies out there now trying to grab your attention, trying to make you believe that their product is best & have the coolest packaging that looks "organic" & "fresh." It's our job now to decipher which product is best for us.
Too many people are still stuck on "counting calories" as their way of deciding how much food they should eat in a day, what snacks to choose, or my personal least favorite: their way of losing weight. Counting calories, in my opinion, is not the answer to any of these questions. I personally don't do it & I also don't make my clients do it.
Now, you fitness professionals or other fitness bloggers reading this are probably about to flip a bitch right now because I just said that. But to each person, calories are used differently & not all calories are equal. The definition of a calorie is
"the amount of energy that a particular food will produce in the human body when consumed and metabolized."
Different foods provide different amounts of energy. Different people use energy differently depending on their hormones, lifestyle, etc.
So look, there are smarter ways of going about eating properly & it doesn't have to be that complicated. Don't always listen to what other people say about this topic, including myself, but here are some things that have helped me with my eating habits & helped me teach others how to stick to a healthy way of eating:
1. SUGAR VS. CALORIES: Let's identify the REAL CULPRIT here... Our primal relatives didn't have nearly the same amount of health problems or overweight statistics that we have now. And hundreds of years ago, they were unable to count the amount of calories in something. But they also didn't put sugar in everything... Here's a comparison of 2 snack bars that are both viewed as "healthy" but one of them (Lara bar) has almost triple the sugar!
Now I'm not telling you to never eat a Larabar (personally I don't), but I just want you to be aware of the fact that 24 grams of sugar is pretty much the amount of sugar us as women should have in an entire day! I get the ingredients are minimal, which is fantastic & I will talk about that next, but just because you recognize those ingredients, doesn't mean you should be eating that combination of ingredients as a snack every day... That's a lot of sugar ...
2. INGREDIENTS VS. CALORIES: If you were just counting calories & not looking at ingredients, you would think that this Kellogg's 90 calorie bar was "healthier," but look at that LONG list of ingredients! And it's not even that it's long, but can you read 90% of those words? If you don't recognize an ingredient, it most likely means it shouldn't be in your body.
You may be looking at that 230 calories with big eyes thinking a snack should not have that many calories. But your body will put to use those almonds, pumpkin seeds, grass-fed collagen, etc while the corn syrup & those "strawberry flavored fruit pieces" will do nothing beneficial. And sure that Kellogg's bar only has 8 grams of sugar, but that's why looking at the ingredients is important too!
3. NUTRIENT DENSE CALORIES VS EMPTY CALORIES: One more thing I want to touch on is that there is a major difference between types of foods & which ones have beneficial calories & which are just empty calories. I could go on about this forever, but basically let's just say foods that are nutrient dense are "real foods" - vegetables, proteins, nuts, seeds, etc. Your body can use the calories from these types of foods to use by providing you with energy, while processed foods such as cereals, chips, basically anything that comes in a box or bag, will leave you with little energy & no nutritional benefit.
My fear in all of this too is that when we count calories, we not only restrict the amount of food we eat, but we also restrict the nutrients we may need & this can lead to much greater health problems, one of them being even GAINing weight...
So when I say stop counting calories, I'm not saying it's acceptable to just eat all the portions you want & to eat whatever you want... I'm giving you the idea that it's not just about calories. And in my opinion, it's more important to know WHAT you are eating vs. just counting calories & eating whatever. I've just heard way too many people say things like "well it's not the healthiest, but I stayed under my calorie count today."
Your body will treat you so much better if you recognize what you are putting in rather than just limiting the amounts you are putting in.
I hope this was helpful :)
xoxo - H