Firstly Happy New Year. I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year break and are now ready to get into 2018.
The other day on someones Instagram stories they said for their breakfast they were only having half a banana so that they could "save" their calories for later in the day - face palm on forehead!!! What has the world come too when you can't even eat a whole banana??
So in light of this, today I'm going to tackle something that I have spoken about before but would like to touch on again. counting macros or calories. Now I know a number of people spout this as the best and easiest way to lose weight but let me tell you it is far from that and indeed causes many more problems than it fixes.
Now I admit that I used to count macros and calories... and yes i lost weight ... BUT I also lost my sanity at the same time.
Let me tell you that during that time, even just looking at that picture of sweet potato would have given me anxiety ... because sweet potato was a big no no as it was a carb. I was heavily carbohydrate restricting (RIP those 3 years of my life without sweet potato chips - how did I survive really??) and a big apology to anyone who I met/ talked to during those times as i'm sure i would have been one hangry person.
Now why counting macros and calories isn't all it's made out to be . . .
For starters, you can’t be 100% sure that the numbers (calorie and macronutrient) numbers on various food packages are correct as the ways that they can be calculated can be quite inaccurate. The FDA allows a 20% fluctuation in the calculation of calories so a 150 calorie food could really be anywhere between 130 -180.
But beside that point even if the numbers were 110% correct, the way that food is prepared can add calories and also the amount of calories that your body absorbs from that food varies significantly.
The thing with counting macros is that it doesn't take into account what the food is, as long as you fit it into your macros it's fine. But that is when the flaw comes into it. Eating 1800 calories made up of Mcdonalds and ice cream is going to be a lot different then eating 1800 calories made up of nutrient dense fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.
On the opposite end of this, there are people that heavily restrict their diets and cut out whole food groups. Cutting out or reducing a food group means depriving your body of vitamins and minerals that your body is receiving and can go into a deficiency state and that is when disease happens and your body starts to not function properly. Eating should not be about a restrictive approach, it should be about nourishing your body and eating the right foods to fuel your body to help ward off disease and help you live the longest and happiest life that you can.
Ok now back to what I was talking about before, about losing sanity. Having to measure out and count calories religiously can cause people to so obsessed with it that if they don’t know the exact calorie amount of a certain meal or food they won’t eat it. I never went that far, but I’ve read many a story of it when they get so obsessed with counting calories and exactly measuring out food that they never go out for a meal because they won’t be able to track it. Ummmm I don’t know about you but life is there to be lived and if you can't enjoy a meal out at a restaurant or at a friends house without having to calculate the macros for it then that is not a life I want to live.
The only time I would ever advocate eliminating a food group is when you have certain conditions such as coeliac disease or an autoimmune condition when certain foods can exacerbate them. Even then this should be done under the strict guidance of a qualified professional (nutritionist, dietitian or naturopath) so that they can ensure that you don’t get any nutrient deficiencies.