Okay so let’s start with the basics. What are calories?
- Calories are a measure of the amount of energy in food/drinks.
Are calories bad for you?
- Calories are not bad for you, your body needs fuel, calories are the measure of the amount of energy you get from your food not a fat cell.
- If you’re eating too many calories and not burning enough of them through exercise then it can lead to weight gain.
- If you’re not eating enough then your body doesn’t have the energy to do normal day to day activities.
How do you work out how many calories your body burns in a day?
- You need to work out your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) this works out how many calories you would burn if you stayed in bed all day. Never eat less than your BMR your body burns calories for energy and your body needs that energy!
So why shouldn’t you calorie count?
- Not all calories are the same. now that might sound weird, but hear me out, you have a can of coke zero at 150 ml, that has 0.5 calories in it and then you have a strawberry and banana smoothie at lets say 250 calories. Which one is better for you, the coke zero or the smoothie? The smoothie has more nutritional value than the can of coke zero. There is absolutely nothing with having it in moderation but that is just an example.
- Calorie counting tend to encourage us to eat processed food, simply because food that has been packaged and processed have how many calories are in certain foods, and it’s easier just to look at how many calories are in your food rather than having something that is fresh and can be better for you. There is nothing wrong with having these types of things once in a while it’s about having a balance.
- Restricting the amount of calories you eat doesn’t always work for weight loss in the long term. By restricting the amount of calories you eat, if you don’t don’t eat enough, your metabolism with get slower and your body will burn even fewer calories. Eating fewer calories also doesn’t mean that you’re eating healthy.
- Counting calories can take the joy out of eating foods. Food is to be enjoyed, and having good food that tastes amazingis another reason you shouldn’t count, remember moderation. Want a cookie? Have one! Treat yourself.
- When you’re counting calories it can stop you from having a good relationship with food, while you’re sitting there counting the calories you’re not looking at the nutritional benefits from your food. Food is here to be enjoyed, if you’re out for a meal in a restaurant, there is absolutely no problem in having something that you wouldn’t normally have. ! Calorie counting can make you dependant on the numbers. Remember calories are units of energy
- Calories can not tell you anything about your heath, calories are just the amount of energy in that food. Your body relies on so much more than the amount of calories that are in your food, like the amount of exercise, how you sleep, how much water you drink, all of these play a part in good health.
- Listen to your body. Your body is incredible, it’s the only one you get, love it. Your body can tell you when you’re hungry, when you’re full, fill your body with good and nutritious food, by learning about your body, how to eat, what to eat and when to eat, your body is a temple.
- The more you count calories the less you tend to pay attention to the food that is in front of you. When you count calories instead of enjoying the food, you just see number in front of you.
- Labels can lie. Labelling allows the companies to have a 20% margin the error on the nutritional information, so if you’re eating a bar of chocolate that has 200 calories in it, it could be closer to 250.
- The nutrients in your food can very depending on the season, the type and how ripe they are. It would be near on impossible for a company to look at how many calories are in a banana from everywhere and how they were grown.
- The quality of your calorie intake is better than quantity. So if you’re buying things like low fat or fat free, these foods replace the fat with sugars, try to eat fresh food or even look at making your own, that way you know exactly what is in everything and probably has a better nutritional value.
- When you focus on calories you start to restrict healthy foods, the only reason for this is because you tend to look more at the amount of calories you have in there rather than the benefits you get from those foods, for example you might feel fuller for longer, or you don’t bloat as much.
- It changes your thinking about food. Instead of things food = energy, instead you think food = number of calories = numbers on a scale = failure. You have not failed, your body needs fuel, so eat, work out your BMR to figure out how many calories your body does burn if you were in bed all day.
- Not all calories are absorbed by your body! The reason for this is because it all depends of the type of food you’re eating and how processed that food is.
- High calorie foods can still be healthy so for example things like olives and nuts are good for you even though they have a higher calorie count, things like olives are healthy fats which shouldn’t be left out.
So what should you do instead of calorie counting?
- Listen to your amazing body, it knows what it needs and wants.
- Eat when you’re hungry, if you’re not sure if you’re hungry or thirsty, have some water, give it about 20 minutes, if your stomach is still rumbling eat something.
- Chew fully before you eat another mouthful, it makes a lot of difference!
- Enjoy your food, the flavours, the texture of the food, everything about it, enjoy.
- Eat foods in moderation, so have some chocolate if you fancy it, it isn’t going to impact upon your healthy eating journey, moderation is important because if you cut them out completely you’re likely to binge on them in the future.
- It’s okay to eat more sometimes, if it tastes good or you won’t have it for a while, enjoy it, but don’t eat so much you’re sick.
Enjoy your food, that is the most important thing!
Always falling into a hole, then saying “ok, this is not your grave, get out of this hole,” getting out of the hole which is not the grave, falling into a hole again, saying “ok, this is also not your grave, get out of this hole,” getting out of that hole, falling into another one; sometimes…
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