Most people that want to lose weight start to count their calorie intake. And while some swear by its effectiveness, this method isn’t necessarily the most reliable. That’s because the number of calories you eat isn’t an indicator of healthfulness. For one thing, we couldn’t say that calories are equal.
Let’s look at an example: 100 calories from drinking a soda aren’t the same as 100 calories from eating a serving of quinoa. That is to say, the nutritive value of the two is utterly different. One of them consists of a healthy mix of carbs, fiber, vitamin, and minerals, whilst the other has poor nutritive value. And it is this difference in nutrients that influence the way in which your body feels in terms of satiety, energy, hunger and blood sugar.
Irrespective of that, we’re not arguing that calorie intake is insignificant. We’re merely saying that we often overlook the nutritive value of the food we eat – which is the most important thing, at the end of the day. On top of that, counting calories is a stressful practice, which places a lot of pressure on you. Since life is stressful enough, we shouldn’t make eating stressful, as well. When you’re continuously calculating, weighing and planning your meals, you add a lot of unnecessary stress to your daily life. These are only some of the many reasons you should give up this practice.
That being said, what are the things you should really focus on, as opposed to counting calories? Let’s see.
Fruit and Vegetable Servings
It’s no secret that a balanced diet comprising of fruit and vegetable servings is the key to weight loss and a healthy lifestyle. And when you consume more fruits and veggies, your cravings for other less healthy foods will diminish, if not go away completely. That’s because the caloric intake of fruit and veggies is small, meaning you don’t have to restrict your portions in order to get to feel satiated after a meal.
So, when you concentrate on including fruit and veggies in your daily meals, and combine them with lean types of protein, smart carbohydrates, and healthy fats, you’ll manage to change your eating habits. Most importantly, you’ll accomplish this without the stress of counting calories.
Researchers point out that a diet rich in fiber can be an effective weight-loss strategy. That’s because these types of foods fill you up, whilst slowing down the digestion process. What is the result? You experience a feeling of fullness after the meal, and you don’t feel the need to snack between meals. Evidently, this will reduce your overall calorie intake, which translates into weight loss.
The Institutes of Medicine recommends eating 38grams of fiber (for men) and 26grams of fiber (for women). Some of the ways in which you can increase your fiber intake are by snacking on fruits and nuts, choosing whole grains in favor of processed grains, and so on.
Most people have a higher intake of carbohydrates than recommended. And while carbohydrates are definitely essential for our health, we tend to get them in excess of starches, bread, and sugar. So, as opposed to calculating your carb intake, which can be just as stressful as counting calories, you should choose healthy carbs, such as whole grains, plant proteins, legumes, dairy, veggies, and fruits.
To sum up, counting calories isn’t something you should embrace doing. Not only that it is not reliable, due to the fact that this practice overlooks the nutritious value of foods, but it is really stressful. And eating shouldn’t be stressful, should it?