Do you think QUALITY is more important than QUANTITY? This is a concept I often find myself talking about with clients.
Some have trouble grasping the concept of getting rid of the “total calorie” muggled thinking (there really is no true number for you as an individual because it would change daily), and instead focusing on the simplicity of food.
One of the main things I try to instill in my clients is that if you fill your diet with good stuff, total calories aren’t that important.
If you eat mostly fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, lean meats, etc. – and limit, or eliminate, the junk like processed foods, alcohol, breads and even some dairy, your body will TELL you when it’s had enough. After a few weeks, your body will begin to recognize foods it really enjoys (and boosts your energy levels) and foods it absolutely hates.
Let me illustrate this with a conversation I had with a client: “Ed, I have a question. You tell us I should have things like almonds along with an apple as a snack, but why can’t I just have a candy bar instead? The candy bar has fewer total calories than your snack, and aren’t calories more important?”
The first response that popped into my head was to jump up and down while smacking myself in the forehead and holding my breath until I blacked out. But I quickly realized that this was a good question and a good learning experience for both of us.
“You have to stop thinking ‘calories’ and start thinking ‘nutrition,’” I responded.
Her point is valid if all we think about is calories, but it’s impossible for most to master. I could give you a 200-calorie candy bar or a silly 100-calorie snack pack, and that would be fewer calories than a serving of almonds and an apple (approximately 250 calories).
Math is math, right? But when you remove the calories from the situation and compare nutrition, you begin to see why her argument is flawed.
A candy bar is 200 calories of sugar and fat. It’s pure evil. Tasty evil, but evil nonetheless.
Candy is the stuff that gives women bra fat and makes men wear bras.
The stuff that messes with your hormones and causes severe energy and mood swings, and gives you fat that jiggles when you walk.
However, the almonds are loaded with fiber, protein and healthy fats. The stuff that helps your body burn stored fat gives you loads of natural energy, keeps you healthy, lowers cholesterol, helps your digestive system, etc.
The apple is a good source of fiber, vitamins and water.
Both are LOADED with phytonutrients – the little cancer-fighting powerhouses.
Plus, if you eat a sugar-loaded snack, you will be hungry again VERY quickly, and you’ll be sent on an energy roller coaster. Both of which make you crave and eat MORE simple carbohydrates, which in turn makes you gain weight and turns you into a crabby pants.
The nuts/fruit combination takes a while to digest and gives you a consistent flow of nutrition and energy, which will leave you feeling upbeat and full of energy for hours and will keep your hunger in check.
See the difference?
That’s why I tell people to stop worrying about calories and start worrying about nutrition and quality of ingredients.
If you follow that rule 90 percent of the time, most of your food worries will be taken care of, and you’ll still be able to indulge in your favorite treats.