All too often I hear people talking about how they are improving their health and losing weight by counting calories. Now, while overeating is definitely a health issue, and there is a recommended amount of calories for each person—focusing on this alone can do more harm than you may realise.
Not all calories are equal – Think that all you need to do is make sure you hit a specific calorie count and you’ll lose weight? You may be right but think logically for one minute about the difference between losing weight and being healthy. You can make a diet out of eating nothing but cookies without going over your calorie count (you’ll be starving but you can do it) but do you really think that is doing any favours for your body? It isn’t. Your body needs nutrients. No matter how many calories you are getting, if you don’t consume the base amount of nutrients your body requires you are damaging your body, not helping it.
Make sure that in any given day you are getting the right nutrients. Here are the basic nutrients your body requires
In many diet plans, protein consumption is the main focus—this is because it is a great source of energy and it helps keep your muscles strong. If you aren’t getting enough protein over time you will become weak and tired…and that definitely doesn’t aid in weight loss!
Many diets in the past have been restrictive of fats, but if you make sure that your fat consumption is healthy it can actually aid your body in losing weight and staying strong.
some diets are very restrictive of carbs. Make sure that whatever healthy eating plan you opt for doesn’t completely eliminate carbs as you need them for energy and muscle growth (which means more fat loss).
Minerals are found in many healthy foods and are essential for our bodies’ regeneration and health.
Vitamins are needed for many bodily functions and for overall health. They are found in most natural foods and are especially plentiful in fruits and veggie. It is important to get some of your daily intake from green vegetables.
Fibre aids in digestion and is found in fruits, veggies, and grains. It also helps protect us from disease and helps keep our gut healthy!
Water is a nutrient but requires a special mention because of how important it is. Water is the basic building block of our bodies and our lives. Our bodies require it to survive, so make sure you get at least two litres of water per day.
Controlling how much you get of each nutrient base is a far better way to look at diet control. If you have a diet filled with protein and fibre and make sure you are getting your vitamins and minerals you will lose weight easier and stay healthier!
Weight loss doesn’t an equal fat loss – When you discard pounds that doesn’t mean you are shedding fat—you are also shedding muscle and water. The way to counteract this and make sure that you are staying healthy AND losing the type of weight you really want is to make sure you stay moving. That’s right. Exercise.
If health alone isn’t enough to motivate you, perhaps you think that you will lose the weight first and then focus on health? Please understand that though counting calories may work for a small amount of time, you will hit a plateau. There is a point at which your body simply won’t respond to calorie deprivation alone. This is where exercise comes in!
As you get in better shape, you burn fewer calories at the same intensity. Which means that exercise and a healthy body are what will push you past that plateau.
Watching your intake is great… but it needs to be matched with other smart dieting practices. How you are getting those calories matters just as much as what those calories are. So does remembering that your diet alone doesn’t comprise your health or fitness. So, yes, count calories, but do so in conjunction with exercise and smart diet control. There are no shortcuts to health nor fat loss and when you try to cut corners it is you who will suffer for it in the long run.
Let’s all try for a happier, healthier version of ourselves.