Eat less calories, lose weight. Eat more calories, gain weight. Makes sense, right?
That's technically right. But it's also wrong.
You know what sucks more than cutting calories in order to lose weight? Counting every single bite of food you eat and driving yourself insane when the scale doesn't budge after a few weeks of "dieting".
But today, I'm here to prove that you can eat MORE calories and still lose weight!
The catch? The calories must come from healthy, whole foods.
When you switch to healthier foods, your body burns more calories naturally.
There is research to show that we burn about 40-50 percent more calories when we eat whole, fresh foods compared to eating highly processed foods. And I can say that I've had many clients break a weight loss plateau by increasing their calorie intakes by switching from "diet" or processed foods to clean, whole foods.
So, if you're feeling stuck on your weight loss journey, take a good, hard look at the food you're eating.
What does your current diet consist of? What processed foods can you swap out for healthier ones? Most people may skip breakfast, have a small salad or sandwich for lunch and maybe a bit of pasta for dinner and STILL not lose weight. How can this be? Well it's because you're not FUELING your body right! Your body needs good, quality food to function properly and when you eat less than 1200 or so calories per day, your body starts to say screw you and it holds onto more fat. Plus you have ZERO energy and feel like crap. How can you change this?
It's easier than you think.
For example, most people snack on the free goodies in the office, like goldfish and other snacks that claim to be "low calorie". But if they brought their own snacks like apples, nuts, veggies and greek yogurt, they began to see big changes in their body.
The notion of weight loss being all about calories in vs. calories out is outdated. Sort of. Remember, I'm not saying to go out and get Mcdonalds because I told you to eat more, I'm telling you that you need to eat more QUALITY food.
To clarify, when I refer to whole foods, I mean whole ingredients, such as produce, seafood, meat and one ingredient carbohydrates like potatoes, rice and beans.
These are foods that don't include any other ingredients, like preservatives. It does not mean food from Whole Foods or foods that are labeled "healthy" or "low fat". If it's labeled "healthy" or low fat/calorie, it's most likely NOT healthy. Let's just be clear on that.
We now know that not all calories are created equal, and some foods have a greater impact on calorie burning, as well as anti-inflammation, which is largely related to weight management and energy levels. Whole foods also tend to have a positive impact on satiety and appetite regulation, whereas processed foods may lead to a lack of fullness or a lingering sense of hunger which make you eat MORE.
When I say anti-inflammation, I'm referring to foods that won't make your body act up and feel bloated.
At the end of the day, you'll be at your best weight once you figure out the foods your body likes the most. It takes some trial and error, but it's effective.
I often find that when I'm trying to gain muscle, I end up LOSING MORE fat because I eat MORE quality foods and my body responds much better than when I eat a low amount of calories.
I eat 4-6 times a day, but I rarely touch processed foods.
Next time you think the only way to get over a weight loss plateau is cutting calories, fill your plate with good, natural whole foods and see what happens next.
What would a sample day of eating look like for someone who is 150 pounds and wants to lose a bit of fat? Maybe something like this...
Wake up: drink a full bottle of water
Breakfast: 1-2 full eggs and 2-4 eggs whites. Half cup of oatmeal with cinnamon and blueberries on top. Bottle of water.
Snack (about 2-3 hours later): Thumb sized portion of whole almonds and one apple. Bottle of water.
Lunch: Palm sized portion of chicken breast or fish, half bag of steamed veggies, small baked potato with a bit of butter. Bottle of water or diet soda if you want a fizz.
Snack (mid afternoon): High quality protein bar or greek yogurt and string cheese. Bottle of water.
Dinner: Palm size portion of lean ground beef/turkey, vegetable (zucchini, tomato, onion etc), and cheese casserole. Or a piece of lean protein, veggies, and rice or beans. Water.
Snack: 1 or 2 cookies :)
Let me know if you have any questions!