Calorie counting, we have all heard of it, we have probably dabbled in it, do I do it? Never have. For me the idea of counting calories for everything I eat is extreme and downright difficult! How do you enjoy a meal with your family if you are sitting there trying to add up and record everything you ate? Sorry but this is crazy behavior and one that I believe can lead to eating disorders down the track. So what do I focus on? Food for nutrition and fuel, eating foods that I know are wholesome and will make me feel good both physically and mentally. This is something that I have been doing since my late twenty’s when I finally realised that eating loads of sugar made my moods unbearable for me and everybody around me! This is the stage of my life when I switched out destructive behaviors and changed them for the better, that being said I also quickly realized that you cannot be completely extreme and avoid all toxins in life, so my hippie phase quickly changed to one that is definitely more sustainable with reality.
Moving on and back to calories, so what is a calorie and why should we not focus on counting them? To keep it simple a calorie is a unit of energy. The calorie content of foods depends on the amount of carbohydrates, fats and proteins present in the food. I believe you cannot compare calorie for calorie. The body processes foods in different ways, especially when it comes to processed foods. We are still trying to understand the different effects that chemicals, trans fats and processed foods can have on the body. Another example being there are around 97 calories in an Arnott’s Tim Tam, probably the same found in a large banana. Should these two foods be compared? Given the options if your ‘counting the calories’ I’m sure some people will justify eating the Tim Tam over the banana if it falls into their daily caloric allowance.
So what should you focus on and what should you be eating. My philosophy on food is to focus on getting the most nutritional benefits from each meal, biggest focus is making sure the plate looks very green, by doing so you are always eating plenty of fibre, and fibre is the key to fat loss and health. Your plate should be overshadowed by the vegetable and salad, this should be double the size of your meat portion and then by also adding in some good fats and carbohydrates you are covering all bases.
So as a general rule of thumb, ask yourself these questions at every meal.
- Do I have plenty of green vegetable or salad on my plate?
- Have I included a small portion of protein to satiate my hunger?
- Is there a small portion of quality fats, i.e nuts, seeds, avocado or oils?
- Have I included a healthy choice of carbohydrate such as brown rice, potato or sweet potato?
If focusing purely on fat loss you may need to look at mixing up your portions by skipping out on carbohydrates in the evening or making sure not to overdo portion sizes with fats, example you don’t need to eat a whole avocado, ¼ is a better option.
Eating needs to be kept simple and not complicated, especially when feeding a family. My meal plans and recipes represent this and when cooking most meals leftovers should be considered to follow on to the next day for lunches.
If you interested in learning more information on fat loss and meal preparation please contact me directly about my 10 week nutritional and fitness programs.