I use to be a calorie counting ninja. You could throw a few labels my way and I had that ‘ish’ tallied up in no time! At the time, I considered it a gift that in any given moment I had an idea of what I was eating and the amount of worth it had in my daily-allotted calorie intake (which was scary low now that I look back). Bad, bad and more bad. The fewer calories the better and when it came to chemicals (what are those?) the more the merrier. Worse, worse and more worse.
I was malnourished to say the least and had zero energy all the time (I wonder why *face palm*). When I embarked on my health journey a few years ago, I knew this needed to change, but I have completely honest, it was devastatingly hard.
I possessed one mindset for ten years and it was ridiculously hard to undo. I got my hands on a couple of Michael Pollen’s books “Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual” and “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto” and everything changed! For the first time, I saw food not in terms of calories and losing weight, but as something to truly nourish my body and help it to function optimally. *hair flip*
Up until that point, I had never looked at a single ingredient in my life. You could quiz me on basically any food product and I could tell you the amount of calories, but I could not tell you a single ingredient and if I could, I probably wouldn’t have been able to pronounce it- can you say problem?
When I gave this a try, I had to get rid of about 95% of my food. EVERYTHING I ate was processed, so it was no easy task. I did this slowly and over time (a long time, like a year). I guess you could take the whole cold turkey, rip off the Band-Aid approach, but that was too overwhelming for me. Plus, this wasn’t a two-week, drop 20 pounds in an hour fad-type deal. This was truly a lifestyle change, and if I wanted to stick with it, I had to do it slowly and on my terms.
Some label reading “rules” I went by:
(1) If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it
(2) Stick with five ingredients or less per food item.
That’s it! I didn’t get crazy, I didn’t have a rule for everything and I did not follow this 100% of the time. When I go out to eat, I have no idea what the ingredients are and I honestly don’t care. I just want to enjoy myself in that situation. Balance peeps!
I try to eat this way 80% of the time and enjoy myself the other 20%. Create something you will stick to, so maybe yours looks more like 70/30 or 60/40. Whatever it is, stay consistent, but always strive for better! I think once you get to 80/20 you can just chill there because anymore and then you become that weird annoying girl that can’t go out to eat with her friends, or they stop inviting you because you are constantly reminding them of their food sins. Don’t be that girl. No one likes her.
This week, try switching out a couple of your fav chemical-filled foods for more ingredient friendly ones and see how you feel. I had so much more energy and my weight stopped yo-yoing. I have pretty much stayed the same exact weight for like five years (like, it’s almost bizarre) because my body is used to me doing the same types of things with it and not binging and crash dieting.
Also, the crazy thing is that I eat maybe 3 times the amount of calories I used to and I am pretty sure I weigh less than I used to. If anything, I look and feel so much healthier!
Tip: Shop the perameter of the grocery store for less processed and more whole food options! 😉
Last little nugget: Not all calories are created equal. A 100-calorie apple will have a different (better) affect on your body than a 100-calorie pack of Oreo crisps. 😉