Friday, November 14, 2014

#nbnhealthyliving: 5 Reasons to Stop Counting Calories

 If you're human, you've probably obsessed over the number of calories you're consuming at one point or another. Maybe you're stressing about it this very minute, constantly reading the calories per serving for every bite you eat and stressing about eating too many calories (or not enough)! I'm sure you've noticed that it's a horrible, terrible, restrictive way to live. It's not fun and typically doesn't produce the long-term results you're looking for. So today, I'm giving you 5 reasons why you should stop counting calories. 

Enjoy the foods your eating. Focus on feeding your body well rather than feeding your body X number of calories. Learn to know when you're actually hungry and when you're actually full and start to enjoy eating again. Give food the power to nourish and fuel your body (like it's supposed to do) and stop allowing it to dictate your every move (or bite!).

5 Reasons to Stop Counting Calories

1. Not all calories are created equal. 
Ever heard the term “empty calories”? They’re calories from foods that provide no nutrients. Zero. Zip. Zilch. These foods are providing zero nutrition to your body. They just leave you hungry for more, resulting in you actually eating more. Counting calories can also be extremely inaccurate. It is a common misconception that calories from different foods are all the same. They’re not. Each food is metabolized differently by your body. Some are used for energy and some are stored as fat. High-quality, nutrient dense foods (that are higher in calories) actually satisfy you for longer, so you eat less overall!

2. Focusing on nutrients is more effective 
Counting nutrients rather than calories is much more effective for weight and health management. When you eat nutrient-dense foods (versus lower calorie, low nutrient dense foods) your body normally burns more calories. On the flip side, overfeeding your body with unhealthy foods or eating a lack of nutrient dense foods, will result in it burning fewer calories. When you’re focused on consuming a certain number of calories, you typically are more focused on the calories versus the nutrients. This can lead to a chronic nutrient deficiency, and nutrient deficiency can lead to continuous overeating. Your body will continue to tell you you're hungry until it has the proper nutrients. So, until you fill your body with good, rich, nutrient-dense foods, you will stay hungry.

 3. Counting calories creates a relationship with food based on restriction rather than health.
Counting calories takes away from the joy of eating and keeps you from having a positive and healthy relationship with food. Oftentimes, it can lead to an eating disorder. This stems from the restrictive behavior and mindset behind counting calories. This constant focus on "how many calories" leads to a paranoid attention on food. Food is so much more than energy in and energy out. Food is life sustaining nourishment. Incessant counting of calories also creates a disconnect between how much you eat and your hunger levels. Rather than learning to tell when your body is truly hungry or full, you become completely focused on reaching your calorie goals or limiting the calories you consume. Allowing yourself to eat when hungry and stop when you’re full is a much healthier approach that will lead to natural weight maintanence. 

4. Calorie counting is not a long-term solution.
Counting calories is not a good, sustainable, long-term weight management strategy. It is a very tedious and time-consuming process that typically leads to yo-yoing between weight gain and weight loss. Most people eventually get tired and wind up overeating, finally glad to not be consumed by such a restrictive diet. Instead of counting calories, change your lifestyle, the way you eat, and what you eat. Learn about the foods you’re consuming, the nutrients they’re giving your body, and how your body uses them. Learn to appreciate food. And listen to your body - it will tell you when you’re hungry and when you’re satisfied. This will lead to a much healthier and happier life where naturally, your body will find it’s own rhythm and maintain your weight without the stress of counting every bite you put into your mouth. 

5. Calories are just one small part of the story. 
A calorie is not just a calorie. What your body does with the calorie is what actually counts and the quality of the food determines how your body uses it. So, stop focusing on calories and instead, focus on the food you’re eating. How is it nourishing your body (or not)? Is it providing you with the nutrients you need?

xoxo Lauren

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