Yes, you heard me correctly – STOP. COUNTING. CALORIES.
I don’t believe in calorie counting, and while I’m at it, here is another recommendation:
Ditch your bathroom scales
Now before you start hyperventilating (or maybe you’re just celebrating!), here are my reasons:
- calorie counting is time consuming, boring and takes the focus away from nutrition to pure energy. For example, a banana and a chocolate bar might have similar calorific value, but the banana is a much better choice for you when it comes to nutrient value.
- very few calorie counting apps and tools are accurate for you as an individual
- your body doesn’t extract every last calorie from the food you consume, especially with whole plant foods
- food is so much more than calories. Plant based foods are packed with 1000s of different nutrients and health promoting chemicals. Food is about culture, family and connection – let’s enjoy it.
- “calories in and calories out” is outdated and wrong. Most calorie information on product labels has been calculated in a lab and not in humans, making it largely inaccurate.
OK, now to deal with the bathroom scales:
(disclosure: I do have a set for my work, but they gather dust when I have them at home.)
Here’s why you should ditch them:
Your weight can fluctuate up to 2kg within a day: first thing in the morning vs afternoon; well hydrated vs dehydrated; even where you put them on the floor can affect the reading.
You, my dear gorgeous reader, are more than a number on a scale so please don’t let that define you.
Yes, scales do have a purpose when it comes to weight management under supervised use (eg for those suffering from eating disorders and other conditions), but for the purposes of everyday health, go by the fit of your clothes (not the stretchy lycra ones!). If your waist band is getting snug, it might be time to adjust your diet…
So, how do you measure a healthy size if not by calorie counting or weigh ins?
My recommendation: get yourself a good tape measure and measure your waist circumference.
Waist measurement is an indicator of the level of internal fat deposits that coat the heart, kidneys, liver, digestive organs and pancreas. This fat layer can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke
The Heart Foundation recommends these guidelines:
– women should measure 80cm or less
– men should measure 94cm or less
How to take your waist measurement:
place the tape measure around your middle at belly button level
breath normally and take your measurement
What does it mean if I’m above the recommended guidelines?
You are likely carrying excess body fat around your middle and are at increased risk of the inflammatory diseases mentioned above.
So, what should you eat?
If you do need help with weight management, shift your focus to fibre.
Studies show its often fibre intake (regardless of total calories or the of diet) that leads to a healthier weight. Whatever that looks like for you. That’s because your gut microbes are linked to your metabolism as well as regulating appetite.
Aim to eat 30 different plant based foods a week. That includes:
- fresh vegetables and fruits
- nuts and seeds
- legumes, beans, lentils
- herbs (= 1/4 serve)
- whole grains
All these foods will give you a wide range of nutrients, vitamins and minerals as well as lots of soluable and insoluable fibre which will help with digestion, nutrient absorption and overall health.
Bottom line: count plant varieties not calories
Need more help with your weight? Check out Rock THAT Frock, our 6 week transformation program. This is not a one off weight loss program, it is designed to become a way of eating for life.
Check out Unpause: the natural menopause program and equip yourself with the knowledge to manage your menopause naturally
Source: the gut health doctor and The Heart Foundation.org