In all my years of struggling with my weight, no matter what new weight loss bandwagon I jumped on, certain rules never changed. Reducing portions. Eliminating unhealthy snacks and second helpings. Substituting full-fat foods like cheese and butter for lower-fat versions. And, of course, counting calories.
Do Calories Really Count?
We all know there is a scientific formula for weight loss: calories in minus calories out equals weight change. Eating 300 to 500 calories less per day should lead to a loss of between one and two pounds per week. That’s a realistic and healthy target.
But, as usual in the world of dieting, counting calories is not quite that simple!
“A calorie is a calorie is a calorie,” we’re forever being told. The truth is, not all calories are created equal. Some count significantly more than others and this isn’t always obvious. For instance, some foods have a “healthy” association when they can be just as bad for you as “junk”. A trip to the salad bar can prove to be even more costly in calories than a Big Mac.
And we all know how easy it is to forget to “count” nibbles here and there.
For some of us, calorie counting is just too complicated and prone to human error (otherwise known as cheating!). Luckily, if you eat the right foods, you can forget all about counting calories.
The Right Foods for Weight Loss
Some say it’s what you eat, not how much, that makes the difference. I fantasize that one day nutritionists will discover that French fries are good for us. But, in the meantime, I’ve learned to retrain my taste buds and I now actually genuinely enjoy many of the “right” foods.healthy food
So-called “super foods” like oats, lentils, green vegetables, oily fish, berries, yoghurt, avocado and olive oil can help us drop pounds by curbing cravings and revving-up our metabolism.
Additionally, research has shown that there could be some advantages to higher protein foods for weight loss. Now I don’t believe that extreme low-carb diets are effective for the long term because they’re almost impossible to stick with. But a reduction of starchy carbs like bread and pasta while increasing fibre-rich carbs such as fruit, vegetables and whole grains is a sensible approach.
But many of us lack the knowledge and discipline to decide for ourselves what to eat when we’re trying to lose weight. We need the guesswork taken out of it. And that’s why most of use will at some point choose to go on a “diet”.