Count your calories! Sound familiar? This has been a common strategy for health and weight loss for decades, but does it really work?
More and more researchers, scientists, and doctors are finally waking up to the reality that quality is what is most important, as calories from different sources influence the body in different ways.
Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian an associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at Harvard says: "...100 calories of fat, protein and carbohydrates are the same in a thermodynamic sense...But in a complex organism like a human being, these foods influence satiety, metabolic rate, brain activity, blood sugar and the hormones that store fat in very different ways*."
Also the number of calories you see on a label isn't necessarily what the body ends up absorbing: "When people eat high-fiber foods like nuts and some vegetables, for example, only about three-quarters of the calories they contain are absorbed. The rest are excreted from the body unused*."
But why is the emphasis on eating fewer calories and exercising more so pronounced?
Enter the processed foods industry. If the conversation is steered towards this idea that all calories are equal, then they never have to change the low quality, highly processed, sugar loaded, lifeless things they call food and drink.
The reality is that this is a blatant lie. Many who go on diets which include restricted calories and continual movement get frustrated because they never lose the weight. Or lose it and then gain it all back.
Why? Because no one ever talks to them about quality. A higher quality food with higher calories is simply a better choice then a low quality low calorie food.
So how do you apply this to day-to-day life, especially if you are trying to lose a bit of weight?
- Trust the intelligence of nature and life. Add more high quality fats (ghee, coconut oil, avocado), proteins (clean fish, eggs, free range/grass fed meats), and carbs (veggies galore, quinoa, brown rice, millet).
- Make sure you eat enough. Calorie restrictions often throw the body into starvation mode which leads to fight or flight. In this state the body will hold onto fat because the it thinks it is in survival mode and needs fat as fuel.
- Move your body at least 30-minutes 4x a week (even a walk counts). Add some sort of relaxation modality into your life 1x a week (the body will balance weight better when it is in a state of calm)
- Do something you love 1x a week, fun is just as important as food!
- Stop counting and run the experiment for 21 days.
What do you have to lose?