Here's a newsflash:
Your body inherently knows how many calories you need to stay at a healthy weight.
So why on earth do people need to meticulously count calories in order to lose or maintain their weight?
Because they're not eating the right kinds of food for their body.
Consider any animal in the wild: it eats when it is hungry, and stops when it is full. No calorie-counting iPhone app required. How is this so?
Because animals in the wild are eating their natural diet. They’re eating whole foods, which haven't been processed, interfered with, or portioned and packaged for their convenience.
They're also eating the optimal diet for their physiology. Take pandas as an example - they eat bamboo, every day of their lives. They don't wake up some days and decide to mix it up and eat something different; they stick with what nourishes their body.
If you are struggling with your weight, I'm here to tell you that it’s not your fault.
If you’ve ever felt guilt, shame, or a lack of control around food, it’s not your fault. Let me say this: don’t blame yourself; blame the food you’re eating.
Our body has multiple mechanisms to determine how many calories we’ve eaten in order to tell us whether to keep eating or to stop. The problem is that our body can’t accurately judge how much we’ve eaten if the food is highly-processed and calorie-dense. Consider the following scenario - you're hungry before dinner, so you eat a bag of crisps. There's more than enough calories in the crisps to be considered a meal, but you're still hungry after and eat dinner anyway. That's because the crisps are packed with oil and have a reduced water content, which means your stomach can't accurately gauge how much you've just eaten.
Foods high in fat, sugar and salt also stimulate reward centres in our brain to make us eat more. Who could honestly just eat one crisp? Food manufacturers know this information, and continue to produce foods that will we keep buying, which will keep making them money. Great for their wallet, but terrible for our health.
What are the foods that most people report lacking control around? In my practice, I usually hear the following:
- Potato crisps
- French fries
- Ice cream
All of these foods are highly-processed and packed with fat, sugar and/or salt, and totally devoid of dietary fibre. These foods are almost impossible to eat ‘in moderation’.
I see so many women who try to avoid or restrict themselves around these ‘bad’ foods, only to end up binging on the very same foods, feeling horribly guilty about it, then repeating the cycle.
So what’s the solution?
Get back to eating whole, natural, unprocessed food, as nature intended.
But how on Earth do we know what we, as a species, are supposed to eat? Yes, humans can survive on diets with very different macronutrient ratios - consider someone on a Paleo diet, who would derive the majority of their calories from protein and fat, compared to someone on a fruitarian diet, who would derive most of their calories come from fruit sugars (carbohydrates).
Merely surviving on a diet isn't good enough - I want you to thrive on your diet. I want you to fuel and nourish your body, and enjoy food, without guilt or restriction.
It’s my firm belief that a whole food, plant-based diet is the optimal diet for humans.
Whole plant foods are packed with thousands of beneficial phytochemicals which fight free radicals, lower our cholesterol and blood pressure, and help prevent the cancer and other diseases. Whole plant foods are high in fibre, which allows us to re-wire our appetite so we can intuitively know how much to eat to maintain our weight, or lose weight if we need to.
Whole food, plant-based (WFPB) diets are not a fad; it’s how you should be eating for the rest of your life for optimal health. The WFPB diet has been subjected to many years of rigourous scientific research, and is actively promoted by leading medical doctors, scientists and dietitians in the US such as T. Colin Campbell, John McDougall, Caldwell Esselstyn, Dean Ornish, Michael Greger and Julieanna Hever.
The diet is based on whole, unprocessed carbohydrate-rich foods, which fuel and nourish our body, the way nature intended.