For a really long time I thought losing weight and being healthier was mostly about counting calories. I was constantly eating the hundred calorie snacks, lean cuisine’s, the smallest option from the dollar menu, and other “healthy” “low calorie” labeled foods. It just didn’t make sense to me why I wasn’t feeling better or losing weight at all. I was eating quite a bit less, constantly feeling hungry but still somehow staying the same weight or sometimes gaining it! It’s such a confusing and frustrating place to be when you’re doing everything you think you should be doing but somehow not getting the results you’re promised. That is why I was so amazed to discover that truthfully it isn’t about calories at all! It’s about what KIND of calories you’re eating!
Real, whole foods typically contain the same amount of or less calories than their processed prepackaged counterparts, but with a whole lot more nutrients which result in you feeling much fuller after eating them. The very simplified explanation for this is that when you eat the “empty” calories in foods like white bread and pasta that are in so many of the processed and fast foods that are so ubiquitous today, you’re getting the calories, but since most of the nutrients are removed, you’re not feeling satiated. In addition to this, those 100 calories of the really refined foods (mostly some kind of refined grain) act like sugar in your body and end up being stored as fat. This causes huge blood sugar highs and then lows when you crash and so you just end up wanting more. These don’t nourish your body in the way that 100 calories of a fruit or vegetable would. So you may be eating something with less calories that a real food option, but those calories aren’t as filling or nourishing, and the result is your body reacting as if it is eating sugar instead of a beneficial food!
So once I began to figure this out, I realized that instead of a 100 calorie cookie from a package that would satisfy me for MAYBE an hour, I could eat a handful (or two or three!) of carrots or almonds and feel so much more full and actually be giving my body the nutrients it needs to be healthy. In all actuality, I could eat a few handfuls of carrots AND almonds and still be better off because I’m eating GOOD calories! My body isn’t processing these like sugar or just empty calories, but as the real, complex foods that they are! Fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, complex sprouted grains, organic dairy and eggs, grass fed meat, desserts made with real cocoa, syrup, honey, coconut oil and other real ingredients… the options are abundant and it’s truly amazing how much happier your body feels when you eat a diet full of them.
This is one of the most exciting and liberating things I have learned because now I’m never hungry, I don’t have to diet, and I truly eat constantly! But once I started eating the right things, I felt so much better and lost weight so much more quickly! Now understand, this is not about weight loss. That ultimately is not the goal for me at all. Health is the goal! But for me personally weight loss was a side effect of a healthier diet because my body was getting the wide variety of nutrients that it needed and not tons of “low calorie” processed flour, sugar, and artificial ingredients. When I’m no longer constantly eating foods that essentially make me MORE hungry, I end up eating less calories and I don’t have to feel like I’m depriving myself! THAT is what I want to hear!
I can’t really explain what a relief this was to me to discover. I was terrified of diets and hated being hungry. I would have honestly rather been overweight and unhealthy then have to live on a perpetual diet. So learning that I could eat nearly to my hearts content every day and still be healthy was a dream come true! So when you’re looking for something to eat, think about what you’re eating and how your body is going to process it. Is it something that just tastes good but doesn’t have good calories that will nourish your body? Or is it a real, nutrient rich food that your body will be able to use in an effective and healthy way? Simply looking at foods in these terms has made my food decisions so much less daunting! Now I actually get to eat when I want to!!! What could be better than that!? 🙂