No More Calorie Counting!

By Samantha Binkley
Healthy Foods

The 411
A new study published in JAMA discovered that people who cut back on highly processed foods, refined grains, and added sugar, then replaced them with nutrient-rich foods like salmon, olive oil, brown rice, and barley, lost weight faster than people who simply count calories.  If you’ve taken my classes, you already know this. It’s one of the main reasons I’ve decided to teach people how to cook healthy meals at home as a tool for losing or maintaining a healthy weight.

What’s even more amazing about this study is that portion control was out of the window and not even a consideration in the results. As long as the participants consumed healthy foods and reduced added sugar over time, they lost significant amounts of weight.

Many believe that their body type matters. The study is observed to show that it actually does not. A diet that is high quality, low in fat and low in carbs goes a lot further in helping you achieve your weight loss goals versus simply cutting 500 calories from an unhealthy diet.

What You Can Do Instead of Calorie Counting
Adjust Your Diet
One of the hardest lifestyle changes is changing our diet. Often times, we are so used to our style of consumption, that we fall into dangerous patterns that harbor weight and excess water. By adjusting our diets for the better, we can begin to introduce our bodies to nutrient-dense foods, paving the way for a healthier lifestyle.

A great way to begin your new lifestyle shift is to eliminate unhealthy foods from the kitchen, your office, or anywhere else you have food easily accessible. For more information on ridding your space of unhealthy foods, check out my other blog here.

Finally, we must find alternatives to the unhealthy foods we love. Below, I’ve compiled a short guide to help you ease into these changes.

The kinds of foods that are up for elimination cover a huge portion of the standard American diet. These include processed foods, diet foods, and further adulterated foods. These do not break down as well in the body – as naturally, we are not meant to process artificial and processed matter.

Foods to eliminate:
● So-called “low-fat foods” like chips, brownies, and cakes. Unfortunately, they are still chips, brownies, and cake.
● Zero –calorie drinks, sodas, and sugary juices
● Refined sugars and flours (white bread, bagels, etc.)
● White rice
● Muffins – A huge culprit. Pastries are full of sugar and fat.
● Processed foods + snacks (i.e. chips, chocolate bars, gummies)

Now that we’ve covered foods to eliminate, we can begin to dive into foods we can consume as alternatives and replacements. These foods are whole, nutrient dense foods that offer us nourishment and keep us satiated longer.
Foods to replace:
● Dark leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, broccoli, etc.
● Wild salmon and other fish high in Omega 3s
● Pasture raised, grass-fed animal foods
● Olive oil
● Brown rice
● Steel cut oats
● Lentils, chickpeas, beans

Additional Tips to Keep Your Health Up and the Weight Off
● Read the Labels:
I encourage you to read labels of the foods you purchase, like yogurt, for instance. The low-fat version may have more added sugar than the whole milk versions. Ensure that you are taking the time to truly understand what you’re eating because buzz words like “100-calorie-pack” and “0 carbs” can often hide other nutrient deficient or unhealthy culprits.

● Get Your Sweat On:
Keep your body moving. A great rule of thumb is to exercise at least 3 to 4 times per week. This includes walking! If you’re not particularly active, easy ways to sneak in some exercise can include:
○ Parking your car further away from your destinations so you’ll have to walk further to and from your car.
○ Using work breaks to take walks.
○ Take the stairs.
○ Walk your pets often, take the longer route.
○ Enlist a workout buddy to hold you accountable.