Hey guys! I’m feeling sick today, but happy to report that I’m still keeping with my clean eating even though instead of cooking I just feel like sleeping. Forever.
Until I remembered I had a blog post to write.
So I thought I’d tackle a really important issue in the health world:
Calorie Counting vs. Intuitive Eating
We all know what calories are, and most people in the world put a lot of stock into measuring them. Calorie counting banks on the idea that by reducing calories (units of energy) you can lose weight. The problem with calorie counting, however, is that it doesn’t emphasize the quality of calories. Calorie counting can also encourage obsessive behavior if done for too long.
Intuitive eating on the other hand points out that not all calories are created equal, and studies that compare two groups of people eating the same amount of calories (one group is meat eaters, one group is vegans), that the vegans lose more weight DESPITE eating equal calories. (Check out Dr. Greger’s website Nutrition Facts.org for more info on this.)
There’s also research done showing that our bodies don’t absorb all the calories from foods like almonds, and that our bodies actually expend calories breaking them down. Once again, the quality of a food trumps the quantity of calories.
How to Be An Intuitive Eater
1. Foster a healthy relationship with food. The endless string of fad diets and photoshopped ideals women are bombarded with often make food the energy. We’re supposed to be battling cravings, finding guilt-free food (when did guilt become a part of our eating habits in the first place?) and losing 20 pounds in 3 days. Instead of eliminating, restricting, and cutting out foods, let’s eat more of the healthy, whole, nourishing foods that give us fuel, and also eat that piece of cake at your best friend’s birthday without feeling bad about it? Intuitive eating is not about feeling bad about going over your calorie budget because you’re starving — it’s about feeding your body good foods.
2. Understand hunger. In order for intuitive eating to work, you have to understand hunger. Are you actually hungry? Then feed yourself good foods that will actually fill you up and have fiber and protein and nutrients, not foods that are just empty calories. Are you just eating because you’re bored, sad, or angry? Divorce emotions from food.
3. Measure out portions. If you want a piece of chocolate, then break off a piece of the candy bar, don’t munch on the whole thing. Treating yourself on occasion is important, but it can be easy to overeat if you’re presented with large portions. I like making semi-healthy mug cakes and small batches of only 5-6 clean eating cookies so that I can still enjoy semi-healthy desserts without huge portions lying around my house.
4. Be able to spot unhealthy foods. Intuitive eating — just like calorie counting — can be tripped up by foods that are not what they appear. All salads are not created equal.
5. Follow the 80/20 rule. We talked about the 80/20 rule before in this clean eating series, and it still applies with intuitive eating. You’re allowed to treat yourself, but you still want to keep splurges to under 20% of your diet. You don’t need to calorie count to track 80/20, it’s just something that once you begin practicing, the rule will stick.
Clean eating and intuitive eating go hand in hand. If you’re actively eating whole, clean foods, it’s much easier to follow intuitive eating and see positive changes in your body and mood. If you’re house is filled with junk food, it will be much more difficult to eat good foods if you don’t have any!
Remember, health is a lifestyle. You have to build and improve on it in order to get where you want to be.
See you guys tomorrow!