If you want to lose some weight, then you can quite easily get caught up in the counting of calories. But many nutritionists will say that counting calories can actually be damaging, especially if you don’t have a very positive relationship with food. It can become all about numbers and counting, rather than looking for the goodness in the food that you are eating. Plus, in many instances, all calories are not created equal. You could have 300 calories in a candy bar or 300 calories in a protein ball, but the latter is going to have so much more nutritional value than a candy bar would. So there really are several reasons why you should stop counting the calories.
If you stop counting calories, then how can you lose weight? You can still do it, so you need to make sure that you are implementing some other ways of doing things, rather than counting calories. Take the paleo diet, for example. That is a diet where the focus isn’t on calories, but rather, the focus is on eating the ‘right’ foods that are on the paleo list. You then listen to how your body feels and stop eating when you’re full, rather than just going and going, or closely inspecting food labels; it can all become a bit obsessive if you are constantly checking labels. So that is definitely one strategy to stopping yourself counting calories: focusing on the best foods for your body and needs. What else is there?
Give Yourself Time to Eat
If you are someone that eats quite quickly, but will keep going until you feel full, then it has been found that you are three times more likely to be overweight than your fellow counterparts that are much slower at eating. It may be something that your parents have told you since you were young, but you do need to take your time with food and not rush eating it; it makes a difference. This then allow your body to feel full, and send those signals to your brain, rather than you just eating until your plate is empty.
If you have a craving, then it represents your body’s need for fuel or for something specific that it is lacking in. For example, if you are feeling hungry, it can actually be a sign that you are thirsty and dehydrated instead of actually needing food. We can all crave certain foods from time to time, such as foods with salt and sugar or fat, as it is a natural thing to want to look for things that will help you to ‘survive,’ so it is something that we are programmes to do, pretty much evolutionarily. There is also a modern way of living, where we get into habits of things. You might eat something every day just because you are used to it, not because you need it. The mind has a habit of wanting things, even if your body doesn’t.
So listen to yourself carefully and how your body listens and feels. If you really are hungry, then it will show itself through things like hunger pains, stomach grumbling, and even feelings of sluggishness. So if you have these signs, think about when the last time was that you ate a meal; has there been a good amount of time that has passed, meaning that the hunger can return? You could try having a glass of water first, it could be all that you need to help to satisfy you ‘hunger’ for a while.
Choose the Best Fuel
Our bodies weren’t designed to eat junk or something that was concocted in a lab. Which is why choosing whole foods and foods that are unprocessed is going to better for our bodies. They are packed with vitamins and nutrients, and are usually lower in fat and sugar than processed foods. Our bodies know just what to do with them as well, which is going to be a huge help to get all of the nutritional value from the food. On another note, foods that are high in protein, and fiber are foods that are going to help you to feel fuller for longer. If your body takes longer to process and break down the foods, which it will if it is things like whole foods and complex carbohydrates, then it can mean that you will be able to feel fuller for longer, and will be less likely to snack, meaning eating less overall. On the flip side of things, sugar and simple carbohydrates take hardly any time at all to be processed and be absorbed.
So how do you make the best choices around what you need to choose the best fuel for your body. You could make simple, whole foods your first choice when you are feeling hungry or craving something. If you want something sweet, then choose something like dried fruit, rather than reaching for a sugary sweet, or something with nuts if you want a savoury option. Look for foods rich in protein, such as lean meats and vegetables and legumes that are loaded with fiber.
Eat Little and Often
You are likely to have heard the phrase that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And in fact, that is true in more ways that one. In fact, people that skip breakfast are over four times more likely to be overweight (and obese) than those that do eat breakfast. There are plenty of studies with an overwhelming link to any kind of meal skipping or eating irregular, and linking them to obesity.
It is a good idea to aim to eat something healthy every few hours or so, but keep the portion sizes small. If you eat like this, then you will never be so hungry that you start to lose control at the sight of food, and it won’t feel like you’re going to not get much food for a long time, each time you eat. So you’re less likely to stuff yourself to the feeling of being full.