Forget about counting calories

Tuna salad nicoise; greens, fats, protein.

We don’t recommend calorie counting, as it is not a sustainable way to lose weight or establish lifelong healthy eating habits.

The concept of calorie balance is helpful to some extent and, of course, calories do matter. You get energy from them that keeps you alive, after all!

However, instead of counting calories, we advocate for a real food diet. This involves eating real, unprocessed whole foods and avoiding ultra-processed foods as best as you can. Knowing what foods are healthy and nourishing will help you to achieve better health in the long run, alongside sustained weight loss and an enjoyable life.

If you have one, delete that calorie counting app and liberate yourself from calorie counting for good. Here are a few benefits to doing exactly that:

Freedom from diet culture and diet mentality

Need we say more? Ditching calorie counting will free you from restrictive diet culture and help you to let go of micromanaging every bite you eat.

Living a life without calorie counting can be liberating – and although it may feel odd at first, you’ll soon adapt and discover that food is not the enemy.

Instead of constantly calculating whether you’re allowed to have something, you’ll focus on fuelling your body with healthy foods. You’ll enjoy your meals mindfully and appreciate the flavour, instead of having to input calories consumed into an app.

Once you ditch the diet mindset and focus on eating real un/minimally processed whole foods, you’ll find freedom from restrictions and the stress of always having to think about ‘calories in, calories out’.

Group shot of 3 images; roasted mediterranean vegetables, homemade chicken curry with cauliflower rice, bacon, eggs and avocado.

A focus on eating nutritious foods, not just calories

Not all calories are created equal. By ditching calorie counting, you’ll focus on the quality of your food and not just the calorie content.

Whilst the number of calories in a slice of cake vs a serving of grilled chicken and non-starchy vegetables could be the same (if counted), eating the latter will provide an array of important nutrients that processed foods can never rival.

Whole foods always triumph processed foods, so be kind to yourself and give your body what it really deserves by opting for whole foods whenever you can.

This means no more counting calories, but a focus on filling your plate with foods that are nutritionally dense. The result? You’ll feel satisfied and fuller for longer, with much better nutrition.

And as we mentioned last week, you can absolutely have the occasional treat – life is there to be enjoyed! There’s no need to input it into an app. Just be mindful of how often you have one and simply carry on with your healthy eating habits as usual.

Reconnect and understand true hunger

A diet based on whole, unprocessed foods will help you to discover when you are truly hungry.

Eating ultra-processed foods that are high in refined carbohydrates means you’re often left in a constant cycle of craving more and feeling hungry – even though you just ate. This is because such foods are nutritionally void and do not contain the nutrients (fibre, protein and good fats) that you need to feel satisfied.

Instead, after eating, your blood sugar/insulin levels rise rapidly. Once the glucose is quickly shunted away by insulin, you’re left with a ‘sugar crash’ and a huge drop in energy, leaving you hungrier than before.

In contrast, fibre, protein, and healthy fats from whole foods digest slowly and keep you fuller for longer. You’ll soon learn to feel in tune with your body and understand when you are genuinely hungry; not just experiencing a blood sugar crash.

It’ll be sustainable, enjoyable and empowering and help you to naturally eat fewer calories. Over time, this will help to regulate your weight and boost your long-term health.

This blog is part 2 of 11 of our healthy eating & lifestyle for weight loss series.

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