Raise your hand if you’ve ever counted calories in your life. I sure have. I’ve also done low carb diets, slow carb diets, juicing, cleansing…..the list goes on and on. It wasn’t until recently, that I finally gave all that stuff up. I quit weighing myself, and started paying attention to how I was feeling instead. I wanted more consistent energy throughout the day, I wanted to sleep better at night, and I wanted my skin, hair and nails to look healthy and youthful. I wanted to be able to workout without running out of gas halfway through, or being exhausted for the rest of the day.
The key for me was changing my focus from how many calories I was consuming, to the quality of calories I was consuming. Calories are our friends. We need them to power our bodies. If you’re counting calories you can eat a twinkie for 150 calories and get yourself a quick sugar buzz, or you can eat greek yogurt with fruit for 150 calories and fuel your body with essential protein, which will help stabilize your energy for much longer. Do you see where I’m going with this? If you consume quality calories, your blood sugar will stay steady all day long preventing energy crashes, and food cravings. Instead of being a slave to calorie counting, make those calories work for you!
Check out this meal for one I recently made while The Hubs was out of town.
This is 1/2 a sweet potato, 1/2 small onion, 1/4 c. white beans, 1 tsp minced garlic, 10 asparagus spears and an egg all sauteed together in one Tbsp of olive oil. All together, this is just under 400 calories. Let’s compare it to a “lower calorie” option. A McDonald’s cheeseburger.
9.1 grams of fiber
16.3 grams of protein
86 mg sodium
0.2 grams sugar
2 grams fiber
15 grams of protein
680 mg sodium
7 grams sugar
That doesn’t even cover all the vitamins that my meal is bursting with. The extra fiber in mine will help me to feel fuller longer, plus I’m avoiding all that extra sodium which is what makes us feel bloated. Even though i’m consuming 89 more calories, I’ll avoid the blood sugar crash, and subsequent food cravings that occur when you fuel your body unnecessary sugars.
Let’s be clear here, though. I eat desserts. I eat chips and drink beer. I usually don’t feel too great if I overindulge, but I do it anyway. If you fuel your body with quality calories, you’ll be able to more efficiently metabolize the splurge foods you choose. Don’t NOT have the greek yogurt in order to “save calories” for the cupcake. Have both. Your body will thank you for it.
The moral of the story is, listen to your body. Do you find yourself feeling sluggish and tired? Do you find it hard to focus at work? You’re probably not giving your body the fuel it needs to work efficiently. Forget calorie counting and start focusing on how the food you eat makes you feel. Start eating more nutritionally dense foods despite how many calories they have, and see how it goes. I’m willing to bet that you’ll feel better than ever. I certainly do!