Want to lose weight? Skip counting calories and start nourishing your body
Counting calories to lose weight totally makes sense: if you create a deficit between the calories you eat vs the calories you burn, then theoretically you should be losing weight. It is scientific, that’s how it should work.
And this works for most people. You are losing weight on any diet because you watch what you eat. The problem is when you are hungry or when you stop counting calories, then it usually backfires big time! And by this, I mean not just putting back on the weight, I mean putting on more weight that you’ve lost.
Here are the three reasons why you may want to consider another way to lose weight:
1. We are not able to calculate the exact calories from food because there are too many parameters to consider, from example where the food comes from, how ripe it is, how it’s been stored, processed, cooked but also digested. There are way too many factors to make our nutrition tables reliable.
2. We don’t know exactly how many calories our body needs. There are many models to help us figure it out how much our metabolism would need to survive, but there is no consensus to this day, so how do you know which one is the best? How do they take into account the intensity of an exercise – or the variability of an exercise session depending on the same individual, or whether you’ve done lots of intense thinking (yes, this burns calories too), or the weather that would require more energy to keep you warm or make you sweat? In my opinion, this is another equation without a solution.
3. Feeding vs nourishing. Not looking at the 'now', let’s pretend that we get it right for the calories in/calories out. In my opinion, the only reason why we should never do a calories counting diet is that we get stuck on the wrong numbers. Foods should not be classified by how much energy they could provide, they should be classified by how much good they do to the body first and foremost. Our body is like a machine: give it the wrong fuel and the machine stops. It’s the same with the human body: if you feed it low calories and low nutrients foods, then it won’t work for so long. Luckily we should have some reserves to buffer the imbalance, but this explains why some people are constantly hungry when they are on a weight-loss journey, or why they have no energy or get sick constantly (although they can be liberating toxins without expelling them) or in the long term.
And even if someone was to chose the right foods, how tempting is it to keep eating the same foods because we know exactly how many calories they contain, rather than have a rainbow diet? Counting calories is time consuming, do you really have time to do this?
We need to provide our body with the best nourishing foods possible. A diet made up of wholesome foods so that it wouldn’t need any label. These foods are full of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and other nutrients the body flourish one.
What I found works really well is mindful eating: listening to your body for cue while following a few healthy guidelines. The body will recalibrate itself gradually and you will lose weight while concentrating on what matters: eating healthy food that nourishes your body and pleasures your palate.
I believe that long-term weight-loss – or weight management – can only be successful if this is not seen as a quick fix, but rather a lifestyle change. Learning about good foods and listening to our body might be the key to your weight-loss success.
Let’s do this!
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About Severine Menem
Severine Menem is a no-diet weight-loss specialist. She helps professional women between 35 and 45 get a second life by rediscovering the pleasure of eating the right foods and feeling fantastic in their body.