I do count calories.
Not because I feel like I need to or because I am trying to restrict my eating…but because I am just VERY aware of how many calories are in different foods. So I sort of keep a loose running tally in my head through the day just to keep myself in check.
I am also super interested in nutrition stats on food packaging- mostly the calorie to carb, sugar, fat and protein ratio. If the stats on a product don’t look well balanced, I usually won’t eat it….usually! (everyone makes an exception every now and then right?!)
I think it is a good thing to be aware of your calorie intake- knowing how much is in the food you eat and being able to figure out what you need to nourish and fuel your body properly. If you know your calorie count for the day, you may think twice about an extra glass of wine at night or a second serving of pasta etc…
BUT! Not all calories are created equal.
NO. NO. NO
If you are trying to lose weight….and maybe sticking to somewhere around 1,400 calories a day…that doesn’t mean you should eat those calories however you please.
I mean, you could eat a chocolate muffin for breakfast, fries and ice cream for lunch and wine and cheese for dinner and still hit your 1,400 goal. But that would be terrible for your body internally. You could technically still lose weight this way- ever hear of the Twinkie Diet Guy?
But, if you ate this way, you wouldn’t be able to build muscle, and your body wouldn’t be functioning very well. Forget intense workouts. Forget a busy day where you need to be productive. Not going to happen if you eat junk. You would be on a sugar rush and crash roller coaster ride, which is the most NOT FUN roller coaster ride that can ever exist. Your energy levels would suffer and your skin will probably start to look horrible.
Sugar wreaks havoc on your body- I write about it here!
So…would you rather eat small portions of absolute junk every day or big nutritious meals that make your body look and feel better? I would definitely go for number 2, hands down!
Clean eating is the way to go. You can treat yourself every now and then for sure- you need to- but keeping it clean will keep you healthy, lean and strong for the long haul.
The basics of clean eating ensure that you are eating a ton of fresh veggies and a balanced amount of protein, complex carbs (whole grains) and healthy fats. These are your macronutrients.
A lot of people count macronutrients instead of counting calories now, to ensure that they are staying on track with clean eating. There is a whole points system that goes along with counting your macros, which I will break down in a post next week (it can be a little complicated to get used to at first!), but the whole purpose of it is to make sure you are conscious of where your calories are coming from. When they come from greens, proteins, healthy fats and complex carbs, you will see incredible changes in your body and overall health.
Those bomb abs you want so bad? Clean eating and macronutrients will get you those.
I personally don’t count macros unless I am getting prepped for a new role or a photoshoot of some sort because I trust my ability to gauge clean healthy choices on a day to day basis. What I do instead, almost daily, is enter my food choices into a food diary app and make sure I am hitting my targeted macro percentages….
I use the “My Fitness Pal” app and it is super easy to use and customize…and it basically counts your macronutrient percentages for you! In a separate tab, the app breaks down where you are regarding macros every day, so you can adjust accordingly and know where your diet is lacking. It’s an easy introduction into clean eating and can be SUPER helpful.
So keep it green, lean and clean. Count those calories (or at least have an idea) and make sure they come from sources you can feel good about.