A Guest Blog by Melissa Costello, founder of Karma Chow and new partner in our nutrition guide offering, "5 WAYFOOD."
Often times when we want to lose weight or get healthy, we think of counting calories or cutting back on our food. As much as this can be a great way to help us lose weight, it doesn’t necessarily teach us HOW to eat healthy or STAY healthy. Not all calories are created equal; 100 calories of a donut is much different than 100 calories of broccoli. One has massive amounts of sugar and fat, the other has fiber, nutrients and tons of health benefits.
The most important thing when you are on the road to living a healthy life is to know what works best for your body. We are all miraculously different creatures and the way Mr. X metabolizes and breaks down food is going to be way different than the way you do.
Yes, it is true that caloric deficit does often equal weight loss, but like I mentioned earlier, there are a lot of factors at play here including age, hormones, sex, metabolic rate etc. and not all foods are created equal. Foodism at it’s best!
Eating clean, plant-based, whole foods is the key to living a healthy life, and the icing on the cake, no pun intended, tends to be weight loss. Cutting back on sugar, alcohol, and processed foods is key to being optimally healthy, so it’s important to make your calories count.
Here are some ways you can make your calories count, so you don’t have to count calories anymore:
1. Eat fiber and lean protein:
Both of these keep you full and provide your body with long-term benefits. Fiber not only keeps the digestion purring, but also plays a huge role in the prevention of colon cancer and heart disease. Some great sources of fiber are cruciferous veggies, apples, beets, and whole grains. Protein gives you the building blocks for a strong, healthy body. Opt for plant-based proteins such as legumes, quinoa, whole grains and nuts/seeds.
2. Stay away from Diet foods
Anything labeled light, fat-free, sugar free, etc is bound to be loaded with sugar, preservatives and fillers. Instead go for proper portions of real, nutrient-dense whole foods that fill you up, versus making you crave more sugar, salt and fat.
3. Eat the Rainbow
Yes, it’s important to have a variety of colors in your diet, and I don’t mean foods made with Red Dye #5. Choosing a wide variety of veggies in different colors means you are getting an array of necessary nutrients. Fill your plate ½ full with veggies and then add in lean protein and complex carbs in smaller amounts.
4. Stop using your workouts to offset bad calories
Too often people think that because they work out, they can eat whatever they want. This type of mindset can trap us and keep us in unhealthy patterns. Yes, exercise is important for health, but just because you are exercising and burning 700 calories, doesn’t mean you should use that as an excuse to eat whatever you want. Your calories need to be quality calories and what you’re eating needs to count.
5. Are you Investing IN Yourself?
What are your values around health? Do you want to be energetic? Strong? Fit? Vital? Write your values down and live by them. This doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and indulge ever so often, but it’s important to keep your eye on your bigger picture of optimal health. Every time you put something in your mouth, ask yourself how it’s an investment in your health. If it’s not, don’t eat it! Empty calories lead to fat gain.
The bottom line is that the quality of the food you put in your mouth is the most important guideline here. Eating whole, unprocessed foods will serve you the best in your health journey. Processed, refined and fatty foods will make you sick and toxic as well as throw off your metabolism and lead to weight gain.
Now go eat your greens!
Contact me at email@example.com to learn more about 5 WayFood, and learn a little more from this short article.