Why calorie counting can stunt your weight loss…
Why do people count calories?
As the food industry has changed, so has our perception of food and nutrition. What we consider to be food would not have been considered edible by generations before us. The foods seen today as health foods would mostly have been dismissed by our ancestors and we dismiss the dietary habits of the past as being an extreme way to eat.
Because we have become so set in our ways about the foods we want a simple system needed to be created to control the epidemic that our new diet has brought upon us… Obesity! This method of weight control was counting calories and it was based on the theory that the human body worked in a similar way to a furnace; burning up all the food we consume and utilising or storing its energy.
Over the years this system has become the standard and most accepted way of losing weight. This method is promoted by food companies and even our government.
Unfortunately this method is not only ineffective, it is also dangerous. Our diets are filled with energy rich foods that are low in nutrients, fibre and enzymes. They are mostly addictive and contain chemicals you wouldn’t consider giving to your pets. If you try to restrict these foods due to their high calorific values you are likely to be seriously malnourished and due to the addictive nature of your food you will experience serious cravings. Not only this but low calorie diets don’t tend to work after the first two weeks.
The problem with the calorie counting method is the human body is not a furnace. We don’t burn food, we digest it! Not only this, but the way we store and use energy is far more complicated than this. What we seem to be forgetting is that certain foods cause different chemical and hormonal effects on the body.
OK so calorie counting is not the answer, so what is?
It’s simple really. We start by going back in time and start eating real food. Start eating the way we were designed/evolved to eat. If you have read much of what I have written on diet you will be aware that I am a vegan. That does not mean that I am going to be preaching “veganism” at you. Whether you are a meat eater or a strict vegan, it doesn’t matter, but it does matter that your diet is natural.
Once you have taken all the processed foods from your diet you can start to look a little deeper. Remember that your body was designed/evolved to put on fat. It is a totally natural “winter” process. To survive the cold weather, we have adapted to insulate ourselves, but it is not just the cold that tells your body when to store fat. It is also your food!
Eating a high protein diet and consuming large amounts of starchy foods tells your body that food may be scarce as these foods would be the most abundant in the cold seasons. Most of the fruit and leafy vegetables would die, leaving you with foods like meat, dairy, nuts, roots (potatoes) and grains. When you start consuming foods like this in high quantities it tells your body tough times are here and it needs to insulate for the cold and build muscle so you can hunt more effectively.
The important bit
If you are looking to lose weight my advice to you is to focus your diet on a mixture of brightly coloured vegetables, a variety fruit and a mixture of dark leafy greens. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat meat, grains, roots etc… It just implies that you should keep these foods in check. I would suggest eating meat/fish no more than twice per week and start really experimenting with different vegetables.
If you would like to learn more about diet & nutrition or you are just interested in a few healthy recipes, feel free to have a browse at some of the other articles on the website.