Why Cutting Calories Isn’t The Only Weight Loss Option

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It’s undeniable that Americans have an unhealthy obsession with calories. So many trendy diets and weight-loss techniques presented in the media focus on the consumption of calories. It’s as if a line has been drawn to connect cutting calories to cutting unwanted weight. If only it were that easy. In reality, factors like nutritional value, genetics, exercise, and even how much sleep you get a night all affect your ability to lose weight. Here are five reasons to expand your weight-loss journey beyond just counting calories.

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1. Calories don’t tell the whole nutritional story.

Calories are an incomplete piece of nutritional information. The dictionary defines a calorie as a “unit of heat used to indicate the amount of energy that foods will produce in the human body.” But counting calories alone doesn’t let you know how many vitamins, fats, proteins, or other nutrients are in a piece of food. For example, some high-calorie foods, like quinoa or chickpeas, are chock-full of important nutrients like fiber, potassium, and protein. The key is to aim for nutrient dense foods that leave you feeling full, help you eat less, and keep you healthy in the long run.

Woman using calorie counter application on her smartphone

2. Counting calories takes the joy out of food.

Mealtime should be a happy time that you spend catching up with family and friends, but that’s not really the case when you’re caught up in counting calories. It’s important to try to enjoy the foods you eat, and to savor mealtime. Focus on eating the foods that you enjoy and you know are good for you in moderation, instead of spending mealtime with your calculator out and battling to figure out how many calories are in each ingredient of your meal. Aim to eat a wholesome and balanced meal that delivers all of the nutrients you need to be healthy; nutrients like fiber and protein, which allow you to eat smaller portions and feel satiated.

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3. There is no exact science concerning weight loss and calories.

All of our bodies react differently to changes in diet. What works for one person might not work for you. Differences in genetics and body type make it impossible to create strict guidelines based on precise calorie numbers. In effect, focusing on cutting calories might lead you to eat high-carb, low-calorie foods that could cause you to not only fail to meet your weight-loss goals, but to actually gain weight!

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4. Weight loss isn’t just about what we eat.

Living a healthy lifestyle is about so much more than just what you’re eating or counting your calories. It is really hard to lose weight without adding some sort of physical activity to your daily routine. Try balancing changes in your diet with regular trips to the gym or morning runs. Adding an element of physical activity also allows you to eat better, since you don’t need to rely solely on what you eat to ensure that you are being healthy. If you burn enough calories during the day, then you can focus even more on getting the right nutrients and vitamins as opposed to how many calories you are eating.

 

Loving couple preparing healthy food in modern kitchen

5. Cutting calories does nothing to help other diet-related health problems.

At its most basic level, consuming less calories than you are burning in a day seems like a sure fire way to build a healthy diet. A bowl of pasta and a salad might have the same amount of calories, but the salad (assuming it contains a variety of healthy ingredients) is the winning option as it offers a full range of nutrients that can help protect against a host of diet-related illnesses and diseases. It’s important to focus on how your food affects every part of your health, not just how it affects your weight. Aim to create a holistic diet that not only helps shrink your waistline, but also helps you stay healthy for the long haul.

While counting calories is an effective way to track what you’re eating, it’s more important to track the quality of the food you’re eating. Maintaining proper nutrition levels is essential to optimize your health. Take a free survey to see your customized WellPath solution.