COUNTING CALORIES. I dedicate this new article to all the people who put calories counting as a priority in their lives. Or to all those who have already been counting calories obsessively.
I have been through this type of counting myself, and believe me. Everything got better (my mental health, my fitness, my energy levels…) when I realized how detrimental that is and how all these calories myths are just BRAINWASHING. So yes, I decided to write something about it to help you change your mind about it.
We all know how difficult it is to change a habit. It is as difficult – or maybe even more – to change an idea that you have been living with for years. That’s what I see when I talk about Cholesterol or Soy. But I am not here to please you. I am here to open the doors to some facts that unfortunately too many of you ignore. So let’s start :-)
1. It is not about how many calories, but rather about what kind of calories you are eating
And this is easy to realize by just opening your eyes. Never ever before have human beings been so overweight as in today’s society. As if everyone is struggling with this extra layer of fat. And research shows that most overweight or obese people don’t eat more calories than other people, but they just eat the WRONG TYPE of calories.
The top calories sources consumed today on average are CARBS, in the form of sugars (primarily fructose), and grain-based foods and sodas.
The problem with those types of carbs is that they directly impact your insulin response, which is basically one of your most potent fat regulator. Fats and proteins impact the insulin at a much lower level. This basically means that comparing to meals with same calories, you won’t have the same metabolic effect depending on the types of calories and nutrients in your plate. So yes, you got it. One calorie doesn’t equal to one calorie. Instead of spending your time counting those calories, check the nutrients and the quality of those calories you are eating. Because yes, more often than not, more calories in the form of good fats for example can help you lose weight compared to less calories in the form of grains, cereals or even fruits…
The worst type of calories that is the most eaten today is fructose. It is among the worst type of carbs because it is directly converted in fat in your fatty tissues and in your liver. Unfortunately, it is often used as a cheap sweetener in many processed foods, and it is also present in fruits. But again, fruits will always be a better option than any other synthetic form as they also contain pectin, which slows down the absorption of some of this fructose.
It is advised not to eat more than 25g of fructose per day. Unless you are suffering from any type of condition (diabetes, obesity, bad cholesterol, hypertension...). In this case, you shouldn’t eat more than 15g a day. Here is a little list of fruits with their fructose amount per piece:
2. Replace those bad types of carbs with healthy fats
Well, things are changing, even if this is all happening behind the scenes…
First of all, I am not talking about the wrong kind of fats (that are more similar to plastic than anything else), like the trans fats, margarine, vegetable oils like canola oil, sunflower oil, rapeseed oil, soy or corn oil… AVOID THOSE as much as now you are avoiding sugar and other bad carbs.
Here, we are talking about the good, healthy fats, that will make you healthier, full of energy and will raise your well-being level. Saturated fats are the favorite fuel for your heart, and also in situations of high activity. Fats also slow down the absorption of your food. That’s why you feel fuller for longer.
Don’t know what to choose? Go for saturated and mono-unsaturated fats, like olives, olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, raw grass-fed butter, grass-fed meat, pasture-raised poultry, wild-caught salmon…
3. It is not about how many calories come in and how many go out
No, if you want to lose weight, it is not about decreasing your calories and spending the most calories possible running on your treadmill at the gym.
Yes, MOVEMENT IS LIFE. And therefore, moving your body in a functional way should be part of your daily habits. But it is not about exhausting yourself for hours long in the gym, or doing hours long of cardio. This is actually quite counter-productive, as it raises your stress hormones and can get those hormones out of balance (and therefore make you store even more fat...). If you are looking to get rid of some fat, or if you are looking to become fit with some muscle definition, shorter well designed training programs based on strength training can be much more efficient in a much shorter time.
Regarding food or calories intake, as I said before, it is not about how many calories you are having or you are burning, it is about what kind of calories and how nutrient-dense they are.
The nutrients you are absorbing determine your hormonal response. And this hormonal response plays a key role in the amount of fat you are accumulating, using or just stocking up. Many people are spending their time sweating off their bad diet in the gym, but don’t seem to see any results. Well this is easy to explain: their hormones are out of balance because of the bad food choices and lifestyle they are making. Bad carbs like sugars, fructose or grains disrupt your insulin balance. But there is also another hormone, leptin, that they get resistant to. Leptin helps you feel full and satiated. Have too many bad carbs and bad fats and you inhibit the ability of your body to use fat as energy and to work efficiently.
So yes, hormones impact your weight loss much more than your calories in and calories out calculation.
You might see some results at the beginning, but it is never a long term result and you can’t go on playing tricks with your body for too long.
I have spent months or years of my life living on maybe 600 calories a day, on only low-fat to no-fat foods. Yes I was really skinny, but I was actually skinny fat. No muscles at all, as muscles need good fats and proteins to function and exist. And I wasn’t losing any more weight. That was it. I had disrupted my hormonal system completely, and it took me quite a while on a healthy holistic lifestyle to get back in balance.
If you are looking to lose weight, STOP FOCUSING ON THE CALORIES.
Count the chemicals instead if you want to count something! Focus on having great nutrient-dense foods, with a good amount of healthy fats and proteins, and good carbs like vegetables. Choose organic as much as possible, as pesticides, GMOs, and other chemicals definitely wreak havoc your whole system.
Focus on balancing your hormones out.
Basically, focus on BEING HEALTHY, rather than being skinny. And see what happens.
Stop watching brainwashing TV programs or ads that make you think you are not good enough because you don’t look a certain way. In order to sell you something you don’t need, they create a problem you don’t have. So just move on from that and start realizing that your inner self, your body know it better.
If you are struggling with some kind of eating disorder, start with stopping reading and watching things about weight loss. You are worth much more than that. Love yourself enough to stop this self-beating and constant negative self-talk. Listening to personal development audios definitely helped me get out of the downward spiral of self-criticism.
Hope this article can help some of you shift this belief that weight loss is all about the calories in and calories out. And more than that, I hope you can realize that by focusing on your mental, physical, spiritual health, everything falls into place. Even your weight :-)
In Health and Happiness,