How many years have you been dieting? Or how many diets have you undertaken over the past 5 years alone. If you are like most individuals who pursue weight loss you have probably engaged in restrictive eating and calorie counting and we are here to tell you that it is time to stop. Calorie counting is a dreadful activity that sucks the joy out of eating. Put the pen and paper, iPhone app or notebook down!
Your Caloric Needs Estimate is Probably Wrong
Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the number of calories your body burns at rest. In truth, this number isn’t going to do you a whole lot of good since your BMR only accounts for approximately 70% of your daily caloric burn, with the other 30% being determined by your activity level. Your metabolism is affected by a wide range of factors, including your gender, age, body type, stress levels, nutrition, hormones, amount of sleep, and more. With so many variables at play that could cause your metabolic rate to vary from day-to-day, it is unlikely that any caloric needs calculator will give you an accurate target to aim for.
Focusing on Calories Often Means We Restrict Healthy Foods
This especially happens when it comes to fat. We often omit higher fat foods simply because they are higher in calories without taking into consideration what benefits we might get from them, such as staying fuller for longer, absorbing antioxidants from vegetables, and getting necessary nutrients, like fat-soluble vitamins.
Not All the Calories That You’re Having Are Equal
When counting calories, people usually don’t take the quality of their food into consideration. They just want to make sure that they don’t exceed their pre-calculated 1500 calories a day. But that’s very dangerous. Just think about it. If you had a choice of eating a 200-calorie banana or a 200-calorie candy bar, which do you think is better for your health? Though both are equal in calories, the banana has all the beneficial nutrients that your body needs, whereas the candy bar has almost zero. Therefore, you need to be aware of the fact that not all calories are equal.
You Are Underestimating Your Portion Sizes
Could you tell the difference between 1 cup and ½ cup of pasta? Are you painstakingly measuring each and every portion size of your home-cooked meals? Even if you could guarantee accuracy, do you really want to subject yourself to such a tedious activity for the rest of your life?
Labels Can Lie
Labelling laws allow a 20% margin of error on the nutrition facts. That means your 100-calorie snack could actually be 119 calories. Or that 500 calorie TV dinner could nearly be 600 calories… legally!
You Look at Life Through a Restrictive Lens
Counting calories creates a mindset programmed to think only of restrictions. It puts your brain into counting mode, and, therefore, restricts you to numbers. As soon as your brain perceives deprivation, it’ll start to rebel and want more of what it is being deprived of. That is when you will start binge eating.
You Start to Obsess About Food
Research shows the people who count calories think more often about food than those who aren’t counting. Obsessing about food can lead to a bad relationship with food and some pretty serious mental illnesses. You start to demarcate the food that you eat into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods. This is destructive to your mind and body.
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