With the new year coming, it’s a sure bet that plenty of people will be diving head first into ambitious weight-loss plans. Some will hit the gym and others will strive to eat healthier foods, but many will simply attempt to “cut calories”. As you might expect, not all weight loss strategies are equal. Counting calories is, ultimately, an ineffective weight loss technique. Limiting caloric intake may help shed a few quick pounds, but long-term it is unhealthy (if not done carefully) and could actually lead to weight gain!
Counting calories is a poor weight loss strategy largely due to the misconception that “a calorie is a calorie”. In reality, the quality of calories varies greatly from food to food. Calories from nutrient-dense foods such as broccoli, nuts, eggs, and chicken provide long-lasting energy while helping the body produce fat-burning hormones. On the other hand, calories from processed foods with added sugars and refined grains only provide short-lived bursts of energy, and are not inherently satisfying.
Cutting calories addresses the symptom of excessive calorie consumption (weight gain), but does not address the cause (an unhealthy diet). This year, instead of starving yourself, resolve to enhance your diet. Consider it quality over quantity. Fully satisfy your hunger with nutrient-dense foods that don’t need a nutrition label to let you know they’re healthy!
Some of my favorite foods with high-quality calories:
- leafy green
- plain Greek yogurt
Foods to avoid:
- starchy vegetables (potatoes)
- processed snacks
- white rice
- white bread
I encourage you to treat your body right while you seek a healthier self. Good luck, and have a healthy New Year!