A Note From The Editor: We’re so excited to begin sharing content with FabFitFun. Known for their monthly curations of health and beauty products, they also host a wealth of fun reads — ranging from entertainment to wellness — over on their magazine. We thought this article was a great reminder (and educational lesson) on the way we need to rethink our eating habits so that they are truly a part of a healthy lifestyle, not an unrealistic means to an idealized end.
Sure, counting calories may lead to short-term weight loss, but it doesn’t serve us in the long run. It doesn’t create healthy habits, control cravings, prevent inflammation, or ward off disease. (Plus, eating portion-controlled French toast is just no way to live!) Let’s abandon the calories in/calories out mindset.
Instead, let’s grab a greater understanding of how to optimize the way our body works, and find effortless sustainability.
First off, all calories are not created equal. Your body simply does not process 100 calories of chocolate cake the same way it processes 100 calories of chicken breast. It just doesn’t. When you eat that decadent dessert, it spikes blood glucose levels and releases insulin. The surge of insulin signals fat storage, inflammation, and also blocks the “I’m full” message from the hunger hormone, leptin. Not only that, but it butters up our brains, triggering reward-pathways and releasing “feel good” hormones like dopamine. This is why we always want more chocolate cake even though we are so full we can’t move! Does, “This cake is like crack!” sound familiar?
On the other hand, when you eat 100 calories of chicken breast, glucagon is released telling your body to burn fat. It doesn’t hijack your hormones or tell your brain to do anything crazy. (This is why you’ve never used chicken to cope with a breakup — Duh!) Quality protein actually helps you feel full and assists in the production of lean muscle mass, which makes you burn more at rest. Also important to note: About 30% of the calories in the chicken will actually go to digesting it because the thermogenic nature of the protein requires more energy to process it. Win!
Keep in mind that real foods don’t have ingredients. They are ingredients.
Look, are we saying never to have chocolate cake ever again? Haaaaaayle no. We love chocolate cake. Like, really love it.
What we are saying is to eat nutrient-dense whole foods as your foundation, and then treat a treat like a treat, enjoying every. single. morsel. So, let’s break free of these calorie-counting shackles, shall we? Shift your mindset to consider ingredients instead. The less ingredients, the less processed. Keep in mind that real foods don’t have ingredients. They are ingredients. Think outside the box, the bag, and the container in which all of these “food” products come in.
Think plants, animals, nuts, and seeds, and you are on your way to sustainable fat loss, consistent energy, curbed cravings, and a happier version of you. Now, that, is something we want to count on!
Image via Urban Koi