author/source: Peg Doyle, M.Ed., CHHC
Have you been counting calories or points ever since you can remember and find you still struggle with your weight? Overweight has much less to do with calories than it has to do with food choices.
For years, conventional thought was if you count your calories and stay within a certain parameter, you maintain your weight. Scientists knew that food made of fat had more calories than food made of simple sugars, so they steered us away from fat. In the eighties, cardiologists said all fat was unhealthy for the heart. They said it was better to eat simple sugars, not fat because sugar burns quickly. They thought you would maintain your weight and prevent heart disease.
We since have learned that this is not correct. Some fats are truly unhealthy, but others are essential to health. Staying away from all fats can hurt your brain, your bones, and even your heart. We’ve also learned that sugar is the real culprit. It burns quickly and leaves us feeling hungry, so we eat again. And again. Never feeling satisfied. That’s how we gain weight.
Oh, and by the way, sugar can be quite addictive. Sugar is clearly the enemy, and if you have any doubt about that, check out my blog post on 78 ways sugar harms us.
Fats, on the other hand, metabolize slowly and give your body a sense of feeling full for a much longer time, especially when they are paired with protein. The secret is to make them healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil, nuts and avocado, all in moderate amounts.
It’s Not about Will Power
This hunger thing is not a lack of will power. This is simple biology and metabolism. When you get hungry you eat. Eat more sugar-based foods and you repeat the cycle. Over and over.
And that’s exactly what happened to me. I ate a lot of sugar, and I was hungry a lot. And tired. But worst of all, I had very high triglycerides, a precursor for heart disease, and I was only in my forties. That all changed when I replaced refined sugar foods with fruit and sweet vegetables. And it changed quickly, convincing me that our bodies can heal when we give them the right nutrients. Now many diet gurus tell you to avoid fruits because of the sugar in them. I disagree. The sugar you find in fruits is a natural form, and it is surrounded with fiber that makes the sugar break down more slowly than a refined sweet. Fruit is also packed with nutrients.
Next Steps for Wise Weight Loss
Now that you know all calories are not equal, change your focus to food choices high in nutrients. Toss your low fat and lite products away and eat small amounts of quality fat (nuts, olive or coconut oil, fish) mixed with protein. Combine your fat and protein foods with copious amounts of the complex carbohydrates found in vegetables, you will feel full and your body will metabolize these foods effectively. And best of all, you will feel better.
And forget about points. You and your food are much more than points.
Specific Food Tips
My book, Food Becomes You - Simple Steps for Lifelong Wellness, gives you a roadmap for losing unwanted weight by making positive changes in the way you eat. Read the reviews and you may find your own story there.
One simple start to improving your diet is to replace white potatoes, French Fries and white rice with sweet potatoes, baked green beans, and brown rice
Drop the white flour foods like bagels and bread made of 100% enriched flour for whole or sprouted grain bread
If you are accustomed to eating meat most days skip it one night a week, then 2 nights a week, until you are only eating it occasionally.
Replace store-bought cookies with homemade cookies and have them only once in a while. (I make a batch 2-3 times a year and give most of them away.)
Does the idea of not counting calories sound workable to you? How would you feel if you shifted from calorie counting to quality food?
Peg Doyle BIO:
Peg Doyle is a wellness specialist, author, and speaker who believes every woman can achieve lifelong wellness through positive nutrition and lifestyle changes.
She practices in Westwood, MA. Visit www.wellnessandyou.com for more information.