I used to count calories
It was part of my training as a dietitian – one of our homework assignments. It seemed everyone in my class was really good at it like they had memorized the calorie content of a bunch of foods. I treated the project as an experiment. What I mean by that is, if this is what we’re supposed to have our patients do, I should be able to do it well.
The funny thing however was, the more I counted calories and the less I was paying attention to the food in front of me. It was like looking at a spreadsheet on a plate. All you see is numbers.
I’d choose the less tasty entree because it was lower in calories, even if it didn’t sound appealing. If I got hungry after the meal, I’d second guess myself. “But I ate 700 calories!? That should be enough!”
It was like a battle between the calculator and my stomach. The calculations said I needed a certain amount of calories per day. If I went over, it was a “bad” day. If I went under, it was an excuse to eat junk food. I’d think to myself, “Well, these chocolates are only 90 calories…”
I’ll admit, I failed miserably at counting calories and gave up within a few weeks. I never really enjoyed it and I felt restricted, what I was going to develop is ordered eating.
Making good food choices is important for everyone. As a Nutritionist and Dietitian, I believe there are two important things you can do to achieve healthylifestyle—
# Make good food choices.
# Identify habits that you can keep doing over a long period of time, which fit easily into your daily routine, and can become a sustainable part of your life (what I mean by this is no fad diets!)
How else can you start making good food choices? Let’s start with the grocery store.
Here are some tips that may help you:
# Never shop when you are hungry. You will make much better choices if you shop after you’ve had a good breakfast or lunch, or when you’re not in a rush.
# Try to spend the most of the time while shopping in the fresh fruit and vegetable section. Most of us don’t eat enough vegetables, which offer many nutritional benefits and fill you up so you can better resist the temptation of unhealthy foods. Deeply colored fruits and vegetables provide more nutrients, so be sure to eat a variety of different color produce.
# Select whole grains instead of white flour, white pasta, and white rice. Quinoa is a great grain to try because it has a lot of protein, which is not the case for many grain products.
# Choose naturally low-fat and high-fiber foods (e.g., low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese, whole grain cereals).
# Know that not all oils are bad for you. Look for nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil and other healthy oils which can provide the fat you need in your diet.
# See if you can check out and exit the store without buying packaged and processed foods.
It’s simple to conclude that all you need to do is take in fewer calories than just count calories and make sure you are getting healthy fats into your diet each day.