"It's been a revelation! I've counted calories all my life, because that's what I thought I had to do. Even though it never worked."
These are the words of a client who has dieted on and off all her life, constantly losing and then regaining the weight.
For many of us, it is so ingrained that we have to restrict our calories to lose weight. Whilst it's true that if we consume more calories than we need we will gain weight, this is only part of the picture.
Let's look at an example to illustrate this.
You could eat a 250 Kcal chocolate bar or consume 250 Kcal of hummus with carrot sticks. Even though they contain the same number of calories, they affect your body differently.
Five ways the chocolate bar hinders your weight loss:
The high sugar increases your appetite, so you eat more.
Your blood sugar rises quickly, which can be followed by it crashing. At this point your body wants sugar or carbs to push it back up again.
Your body may also release stress hormones to get your blood sugar back up. This can encourage you to store fat, particularly around your belly.
The sugar in the chocolate bar feeds the 'bad' bacteria that encourage weight gain.
You use nutrients from your body to digest the chocolate bar as it does not provide vitamins and minerals. If you are low in nutrients, this can increase your appetite and may slow your metabolism. This means that you do not require as much food, but you eat more so you gain weight.
Five ways the hummus with carrot sticks helps your weight loss:
You feel fuller for longer as it provides protein and fibre.
Your blood sugar is stabilised, so you are less likely to experience cravings later on for unhealthy foods.
You are getting lots of nutrients, including nutrients that support your adrenals. This is important if stress is contributing to your weight.
Hummus contains substances which are helpful if hormone imbalances are a factor in your weight.
Hummus contains prebiotics which support your 'good' bacteria - the type that slimmer people have more of.
As you can see from this example, it is not just about calories. The type of foods you consume can either make it easier to lose weight. Or make it harder. Rather than counting calories, it can be more helpful to focus on chosing healthier foods.
Learn more in The Body Effect: Discover what's triggering your cravings and belly fat. Reveal your unique path to lasting weight loss.