It’s been ingrained in our minds that counting calories is the important thing to do when trying to lose weight. Well, it’s not. Don’t feel bad if you fell for this, I did too. The reason for this fact is that not all calories are created equal. For example: 500 calories of a home cooked meal including veggies, lean proteins and whole grains is a billion times more nutritious than 500 calories of McDonalds (is it even possible to get a meal this low of calories at McDonalds??). The McDonalds meal provides us with little to none nutrients, fat and (in the end) health issues. Obsess over nutrients, not calories.
Eating clean is key to health and weight loss (along with an exercise routine). Here are some points to remember when trying to eat clean:
- Stop obsessing over calories. Instead, obsess over nutrients and chemicals. Avoid chemical laden food and eat food with the most nutrients. Why feed yourself junk foods, when you can feed yourself nutritious foods and feel 10x better plus lose weight in the end AND keep it off for life.
- Weight loss and health truly depends on where the calories come from, not how many calories it has. See the note above about McDonalds. In the end, sure, over eating is never good, but watching the nutrients before the calories should be your #1 priority.
- Know the truth about “processed food”. Any food that isn’t a “whole” food is technically processed. Example: applesauce has been processed from an apple. But, the important point to remember is: after being processed, is there any nutrition left in the final product? A lack of nutrition leads me to know that it’s most likely made with “fillers” and is basically a bunch of “empty calories”. Processed food is bad when it makes the food lack any nutrition. I’d also like to point out that processed food isn’t always bad. Back to the applesauce example – applesauce is a processed food, but eating applesauce that has nutritious properties is still better than not eating any fruit at all. So, go ahead, eat that “processed” applesauce!
- What are the worst processed foods? Any foods that are made to last for a long time on a shelf in a store. So, they’re essentially filled with preservatives and chemicals to extend their expiration date. yuck. Cookies, chips, pretzels, and other snack items fall in this category. See the picture below for a few examples.
- Keep your food choices simple. How many ingredients are in it? Are there 4 or more? Do you know where all the ingredients come from? Simple, short list ingredients and easy to understand where the food came from is your best option.
- Always take baby steps when changing your diet. Sure, I’d love if you’d just go cold turkey and change your diet for the better… but that isn’t always possible for everyone. You might get discouraged if you try to just jump right in. Take your time to learn what is right for your body and your health. Learning is a key to creating healthy habits.