Counting calories, measuring foods, tracking what you eat and how much- it’s enough to drive anyone crazy! Or enough to make people totally obsessed and neurotic about what they are eating that it can literally consume their life.
After talking with some new clients this week, the issue of calorie obsession is one that is very much a part of many people’s lives- but where is it getting them? I can almost guarantee that most of the people are not happy and especially not very healthy. And isn’t that the whole reason that they do it in the first place?
What’s my issue with calories? First, the whole concept of calories in vs. calories out seems like a simple enough idea. And we all know, I am a big fan of simplicity when it comes to food. But, the calorie count of a food speaks nothing to the fact of how your body deals with it, once it’s inside your body. Different foods affect your energy, hormones, hunger signals, etc, all of which effect the scale in a different way.
For example- vegetables and fruit have the ability to release excess fluids and weight off of your body, while diet coke, most packaged cereals, crackers, bars or powders in fact do the opposite. But- the big question: which one has more calories? That’s right, the vegetables and fruit. The real deal foods. So, people choose the Diet Coke, protein bar, or snack packs- things that are made with non-real food that their body can’t digest- and they wonder why they can’t lose weight and why they feel tired and sluggish all day!
That brings me to my second reason for being a Calorie-Counting Hater: have you ever noticed that calorie content usually applies only to processed foods? Do apples or organic chicken breasts usually have labels on them with this information? Spinach and bananas? Well, why not? Because you know it’s good for you. It seems silly to tell you that- I know- but it’s true. Everyone knows that intuitively- even kids. Real food has real nutrients, which is what your body needs to function at its very best. Processed food does not. If you want to know the scary fact, processed food is full of anti-nutrients that actually leach nutrients out of your body. How’s that for doing a body good?
Calorie Counting Hater reason # 3: The Case of the Non-Fat Dairy Conspiracy. Most people these days are dieting and still eating a lot of dairy products to get their protein (this is a whole different story in itself, I realize). But, under the calorie mentality, most of those people choose non-fat milk. News flash, non- fat milk is a processed food! Yes, short term there is less calories in that very moment. But, even within a few hours, without the fat to stabilize the sugars in the milk, your blood sugar spikes out of control, leaving you hungry, grumpy and with more sugar cravings. Not to mention fatter. Regular full fat milk has the fat to balance out the sugar, and thus leaves you satisfied for longer and with less volume overall. Fat that is found naturally in foods has nothing to do with fat on your hips- in fact, the opposite is true. Calories don’t tell you all of that, so why trust them to tell you what to eat?
Because that’s what we’re told to do? By who? And why?
Calorie counting first came into the limelight a decade ago, as processed food started to become popular for people too busy to prepare real food on their own. What’s wrong with saving a bit of time by tearing into a bag of something instead of eating food with substance? Well, nothing at first. But now, after years of heading down that path, we’re seeing the truth of the situation now- people are rapidly gaining weight faster than they ever had before. Obesity and diabetes rates are sky high, and children are suffering from all sorts of autoimmune diseases, attention disorders, and hyperactivity. It’s no coincidence that our grandparents rarely got fat and had as many health problems as we do today. And do you think they gave a damn about calories? They just ate real food instead.
Preparing real food is not that hard and doesn’t take a lot of time. Seriously. That is why I wanted to write this blog- what you eat affects that much of your life. So if you want to have one for a while, get off the calorie counting train and get on the good stuff. Your body, your mind, and your sanity will thank you.