Quit Counting Calories And Do This Instead
I like to think that the archaic practice of counting calories is going the way of the scrunchie. Sure, it might rear it’s ‘80s styled-head once in a while, but does anyone really pay attention? The fact is that counting calories has been a rampant wellness myth for far too long.
Personally, I learned this the hard way after an almost decade-long stint with dieting. The goal of dieting is to burn more calories than you consume. This created chaos in my life as I obsessed over what I was or wasn’t eating and how much exercise I could squeeze out of my exhausted body. Overwhelm and burnout ruled my life until I decided to do something *radical* and quit dieting forever (out of desperation more than anything).
It turns out that this led to my life forever being changed and I finally learned first-hand that counting calories was what was holding me back from having everything I was so desperate for in the first place: a youthful, healthy, glowing body that I love without sacrifice.
So how do you build your best body without counting calories? Let’s dive in a bit deeper, then I’ll reveal my top 3 beauty laws for breaking free from counting calories once and for all.
On a metaphysical level, calorie-counting creates stress, anxiety, frustration and a strong sense of lack that leaks into a lot more areas of your life than just your diet (maybe you’ve noticed this before in your life?). These habits tend to build bodies that are underweight, gaunt, aged and stressed.
On a physical level, counting calories takes the focus away from what it really should be on: eating nutrients that build your most beautiful body.
This mental shift is HUGE and when you finally start trusting your body’s intelligence to guide you to your best body ever, instead of fighting with it, that’s when the miracle happens. I talk a lot more about this in my free program called How To Build Your Best Body because the way we think is the way we become.
Calories don’t tell the full story - not all calories are created equal.
It’s so important to know that calories don’t tell the whole story. Our bodies are wildly complicated and wise. Different nutrients are processed uniquely and have a variety of effects on the overall ecosystem that is our complex body, even if they have the same number of calories in them.
These days it’s trendy to fall into the trap of believing that one hundred calories is one hundred calories regardless if it’s 100 cal of broccoli or 100 cal of potato chips. We get an almost *high* feeling like we’ve got it “figured out” (usually when I feel like I’ve got something figured out, it’s a sure sign I actually have no idea what I’m talking about #ammiright?!). To understand the entire story, let’s talk about thermodynamics for a second here.
The first law of thermodynamics states that our body weight is a function of total calories of energy IN (this includes everything we eat or drink) minus total calories OUT (exercise, metabolic processes energy, waste heat etc).
Desperate Housewives everywhere strive for the coveted “negative” balance. Where we burn more calories than we consume. This mentality is what led to the “calorie-counting boom” of our diet-obsessed society.
And while this law of physicals remains true, it doesn’t take into account one other very important law: beauty = efficiency (more on that in a minute).
Even though thermodynamics dictates that all calories are equal, there's one big elephant in the room. This simplistic laboratory model ignores the way that macronutrients and micronutrients are processed by our living bodies and how the result of those processed nutrients affect our complex biochemistry.
For example, science has shown us that because of the dense fibre in broccoli, the body does not absorb all the calories. Not to mention the nutrients found in broccoli work to reduce inflammation in the body, heal the gut, optimize metabolism, boost liver function and create the sensation of satiety (just to name a few).
And what about those chips or 100cal snack pouches?
Well, they create addictive brain patterns, cause inflammation that leads to the body holding onto excess weight, create spikes in blood sugar levels leading to weight gain and promote the growth of microorganisms that slow digestion and metabolism.
So I'm proposing a new model so we can all finally move on with our lives, ok?
TGL LAW #1: An Efficient Body is a Glowing Body
An efficient body is one that’s youthful at any age, slim, toned, glowing from head-to-toe, energetic and full of life. When it comes to building an efficient body, dieting simply won’t get you there. So what will?
When I was stuck in my dieting rut no matter how hard I exercised or how little I ate, I felt terrible, exhausted and miserable (and was ALWAYS battling intense food cravings) and the result was that I also looked that way. My skin was dull, I was less confident than ever and I just looked unhealthy.
This is the thing: feeling amazing about our bodies has zilch to do with counting calories, and everything to do with building an efficient body that empowers us to live our best life possible.
Everything we eat starts to build our body (& mind) in one of two directions: efficiency or sluggishness.
A sluggish body is one that can’t keep up with processes required to upkeep a glowing, slim body. When you’re eating processed foods that the body struggles to assimilate (as opposed to fresh plant-based foods), your body systems, everything from your hormones, the health of the microbiome in your gut, metabolic rates to your mental patterns, start to get clogged and slow.
Even if you’re well within your daily calorie requirements but you’re filling that up with processed, heavy and hard to digest foods, you’re contributing to more clogging and slowing down. This inevitably builds a body in turn that lacks energy, holds onto extra weight, has dull and lacklustre skin and is prone to illness.
Dr. Sarah Gottfried talks about weight loss being 99% hormonal, having nothing to do with calories. I couldn’t agree more. The quality of what we choose to eat impacts the ecosystem and efficiency of our bodies.
The natural response in the body when we eat foods that are healing us is to make us actually *gasp* feel good after a meal.
TGL LAW #2: Efficient foods are simply foods that make your body feel good.
Our bodies know EXACTLY how to look and feel their best. We’re born with such amazing, ingrained intelligence. In the exact same way that a spider just knows how to artfully weave a web without ever being taught (this seriously baffles me to this day), our bodies know exactly how to unlock the most confident, glowing version of you.
When you start to listen to your body (not the patterns/habits/addictions that you may have developed when it comes to food like that pesky 2am doughnut binge), forget about calories and just start eating what makes you feel electric/alive/glowing/light/free...<insert your dream bod words here>, everything falls into place.
When the focus becomes about feeling good, you’re empowered to actually enjoy food and exercise again. You can eat what you want, when you want without guilt or fear.
When you feel good, it’s impossible not to look amazing. Channel your inner Beyonce vibes and quit the calorie counting (because that’s just settling). Instead start living in the moment, loving the moment and loving your body!
TGL LAW #3: Focus on nutrients, not calories
So what does this all really come down to?
Quit counting calories and instead put your focus on creating an abundant body that is loaded with healing nutrients. Get excited about plant-based meals that build your best body without sacrifice.
The magic of this mentality is that when you do indulge (because: wine and pizza), instead of that moment derailing the fruits of your labour, you can do so with confidence. Your body is optimized and efficient not deprived, so it’s able to process whatever you throw at it and still wake up the next day feeling light, energized and ready for a new 24hrs.
If you struggle with obsessing over calories, you’ve got this! Trust your body and trust yourself to make decisions that lead towards health and happiness!
Want more? In my exclusive, free training called How to Build Your Best Body you get the exact mental shifts and framework including recipes to get you started that free you from dieting forever and teach you how to build a body you love without sacrifice.