Weight loss is all about calories in and calories out – right? Yes, but as much as people would like to simplify weight loss down to just eating less, there becomes a limit to just how little you can eat and still lose weight while maintaining a healthy body.
Eating less and less food means you’re eating less and less nutrients, which eventually causes your body to slow its metabolism and conserve energy. It doesn’t care that you want to lose fat. It wants to keep it. After all, it needs fat, and you aren’t providing any energy from your diet.
Now is Not the Time to Cut Calories
We’ve been taught that in order to lose weight we need to eat healthy food and create a calorie deficit. This is true, but unfortunately, more people focus on the calories part of the equation than the healthy food part. Let me tell you something that I hope will stick – eating a diet that is 90% whole foods will take care of the calories part all on its own.
There’s no need to concern yourself at the beginning with finding your BMR, creating calorie deficits, or playing around with calorie calculators. Eating healthy food should be your absolute number one priority. There’s no point in cutting calories, and thus the nutrients of an already bad diet.
Focus on Calorie Quality
Your only goal from the very beginning should be to work on reducing processed foods and replacing them with whole foods. This can be done in baby steps to make things easier.
This week you might simply add a serving of veggies to just one of your meals. Who can’t do that? And guess what? Once you’ve done that, you’ve just moved one step closer to your goal. You made progress.
Next week you may add another serving of veggies to a second meal. Bam – progress again. Now you’re two steps closer to your goal. Next week you sub a glass of water for a flavored beverage or soda. Snap – progress again. Next week you add in a fruit smoothie. Booyeah – progress yet again. Do you get the idea?
Quality Food Pushes Out the Bad Stuff
What you’ll soon notice is that as you add more and more whole food to your diet, the bad stuff slowly gets crowded out. This happens for several reasons. First, the shear bulk of veggies from the fiber and water content makes you feel full and kills your appetite.
Second, you are getting more nutrients, which stops your body from sending out signals to eat more food. Many times hunger and cravings are a result of your body needing nutrients.
Before you know it, your diet has moved from 90% processed, to 80%, to 60% processed, to 50% processed, to 30%, and eventually you’re eating a diet that is 90% whole foods.
Along the way, your body has been changing with your improved nutrition, and you never even had to think about your calories. Simply eating a diet that is consistently 90% whole foods will take you very close to your goals.
Try not to focus so much on your calories. While it is important to have a calorie deficit to lose weight, focusing on those numbers puts the cart before the horse. Instead, focus your attention on your food choices, and your calories will fall into place all by themselves.