I see them everywhere I look. Women sharing their screen shots from one of the dozens of food tracking apps out there.
Sometimes I cringe when I see these, I truly believe most women don’t eat ENOUGH and then here they are, flaunting to social media, how little they just ate. It makes me sad and frustrated. I want to ask them a million questions. Are you happy with eating this way? Are you hungry all the time? How is your mood? How is your sleep? How are your relationships? Do you still get a regular period?
All of these are dead serious questions and all of these aspects of life can be affected by not nourishing your body properly.
So when a woman wants to lose weight and she immediately cuts her calories to some drastically low number, I want to scream, but I also totally understand.
We are taught from an early age that eating less will mean we lose weight (the good old calories in/calories out). While I agree that a person needs to be in a calorie deficit to lose weight (if that is the goal), the way I see it being done is not my favorite.
I want better for women.
The diet/food industry is a smart one. It feeds off of what we were taught about eating less as the key for weight loss. It markets “low fat” this and “zero calorie” that and we eat these things up (literally). Then we happily add them to our food trackers because these foods help keep that calorie number low. When this happens, we feel progress, like we are moving closer towards the goal of losing weight.
Now, I understand that a calorie deficit is needed for weight loss, I don’t think we should try and defy physics but what if we take a step back from trying to lose weight by eating fewer calorie and first work on eating foods that actually nourish and fuel the body!
Yes, I think we all need to stop counting the calories for a minute and focus on getting in whole, unprocessed, REAL foods that are good for your body. And surprise, this does NOT include “low fat” and “zero calorie” foods.
Wait. . .what? What do you mean?
Yeah, that might seem counterintuitive but hear me out. The foods that you eat should NOT have a label on them! In other words, if your foods promote being “low fat” or “zero calorie”, you shouldn’t eat them! This includes low fat yogurts, low fat cheeses, zero calorie beverages, low fat cookies/crackers, and other things in these categories.
These foods have little to no actual nourishment, they are made to cater to people who are counting their calories and who are concerned about sticking to a certain number of calories in a day.
Look, I get it, these foods are convenient and marketed very intelligently. We need to step away, though, and this is where calories become the issue. You can get in your perfect calorie allotment for the day but are you getting in all of your nutrients for the day?
See, our bodies need things like vitamins and minerals to maintain and run optimally. If we are just feeding it calories with no regards to the vitamin and mineral content, we are doing ourselves a disservice.
Now, obviously, we need calories! Calories are energy! Can we just work on making sure we are consuming calories that have a little more to them (ie. nutrient dense).
When we focus on nutrients FIRST our bodies get what they need to run optimally and I truly believe that this is the first step to a sustainable and healthy way of eating.
And when I say “sustainable”, I mean you are going to be able to do this long term, this is NOT a diet, it is a lifestyle.
So please, let us put down the calorie trackers for a minute. Let us NOT obsess over how many more “low calorie” items we can eat. Let us instead buy foods WITHOUT labels (you know, fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, nuts, seeds, and beans) and start nourishing and fueling our bodies properly.
We deserve this. We deserve to not be eating foods that only serve as a way to get in “less” in. We deserve to eat foods that fuel us and that make us feel fantastic. We deserve a lifestyle not just a diet.