Counting Calories… (Part Two)

…And Why It Has NOTHING To Do With Clean Healthy Eating
In part one of this discussion, we talked, or you listened to me rant, about why the concept of counting calories is absolutely absurd and does no one on a weight loss journey any good at all. I know that I knocked you all off the fantasy land cloud you were so happily floating on but have no fear! Tonight I am here to scrape you up off the ground you splattered onto and make you whole again. So let’s dive into how you can better judge the foods (not food-like products) that you are putting into your beautiful wonderful bodies.
It is a trillion and one times more important to focus on WHAT you are putting into the miraculously independently functioning machine that is your body than HOW MUCH of it.
Okay, so what really is “clean eating“? On the most basic level, it is eating only things from their complete natural and primal state. Clean, healthy eating is a much easier concept than our society makes it out to be. All these diets and fads convince you that there is an overwhelming amount of thought, mathematics, and suffering that goes into eating the right way. In reality, it just takes a couple weeks or months of utilizing the one technique many of us despise… self-control. We all honestly know the things we REALLY should not be eating. I mean if we don’t have that kind of common sense then it is a subject that is talked about so often that we cannot hide from it anyways. Beginning a serious journey to being healthy starts are deciding to have the self-control to eat the things we should be eating and not the things we shouldn’t. Are you decided and committed? Okay, good. So now what….
Tip #1: STOP SHOPPING THE AISLES! Seriously, when you go to the grocery store walk in and take a look for a second. Notice the perimeter of the store. What do you see? The veggies, fruits, meats, poultry, fish, dairy… everything that is sold in it’s most natural state! The perimeter of the store has now become your best friend. This is where you will live. Buy the things that don’t get sold with labels and ingredients listed on them. Stop eating out of boxes! Like just stop it. Enough. As I sit here I am seriously racking my brain to think of one single thing that I eat that is sold in a box… Nothing. There is absolutely not one thing. So don’t you dare pick up those Chewy bars and rationalize to me why they are a healthy snack. I don’t listen to liars.
Tip #2: Take every single thing any ridiculous diet has every told you…. And erase it from your memory. I’m being very serious. Now, this is not me saying that everything you’ve heard is wrong. I would not and could not even begin to say that. Mostly because I have no idea what kind of advice you have heard. It may be good. It may all be complete and utter crap. What I am really saying in this step is that in order to change your mentality you honestly need a clean slate. It is much easier to start all over and actually learn what is good for you individually than it is to try and alter your perceptions or work alongside your idea that if you eat a single calorie over that 2,000 in a day you are going to blow up like a balloon. The biggest point here is you have more of a fighting chance of actually developing good habits if you can rid yourself of all the ridiculous ones first.
Tip #3: In the battle of calorie vs. food product, food product should win. Almost every single time. The above depiction is a perfect example of what I am talking about and the basis for why I ultimately dislike the idea of calorie focused diets. Just because something is lower in calories doesn’t mean it should necessarily be chosen over the higher caloric item. A perfect example is high protein foods. A single large egg is roughly 70 calories. So the typical two egg breakfast is at the minimum 140 calories, that does not include anything else you may eat with it or perhaps the oil used to cook said eggs. There are plenty of 90 or 100 calorie “healthy” frozen breakfasts or breakfast bars on the market. Which do you think is really the better option here? You better have answered the eggs or I will be forced to find you and shake some sense into you. High protein diets are particularly recommended for those looking to build muscle. It is the kind of diet I have followed ever since beginning CrossFit. High protein diets are naturally going to be higher in calories because high protein foods have more calories than other food options. Yet somehow I have managed to lose inches, thin down more than ever in my life, gain muscle definition, and transform my entire body. All while not thinking twice about my caloric intake. Absurd?! Or completely possible and realistic.  
Tip #4: Don’t fear meal supplements and replacements. This is a touchy subject with a lot of people. I will start out by saying that yes ideally you want to aim to acquire all of the necessary vitamins, minerals, enzymes, etc. that your body needs through foods. However, as always, if we are being real with ourselves it is not necessarily realistic to think we will be able to accomplish this every single day. If you are working towards extreme weight loss you are probably cutting down on the amount of food you intake in collaboration with changing the actual food products. That is understandable but that means you may not intake everything your body wants. Also if you have an intense exercise regime, your body is going to crave more nutrients and more of specific amino acids and enzymes. There are a lot of not so good products out there that people use simply because they think it will help and do not know any better. I won’t get tough with you guys on this one. Most things you will see advertised as meal replacement options in the grocery stores are crap. Don’t buy them. Shop around for actual good options. I, myself, use a company called Nature’s Sunshine (whose products I will actually start selling right on my blog shortly so keep your eyes peeled!). An extensive amount of research has been done before opting for these products. It is all natural, superfood packed, and high protein. So with good choice meal replacements, you’re not starving your body. You are giving it more than you can get from basic foods daily and its like totally super easy, quick, & convenient at the same time! OH EM GEE! I won’t shove it down your throat but seriously, give meal supplements and replacements more than just a passing thought. You find like what you find out there.
Tip #5: PERSONALIZE! Remember that like everything I have talked about, there is no be all, end all. Nothing is black and white when it comes to a health and fitness journey. You are not your cousin, your father, your spouse, your best friend, your boss. You are you. Period. Your body works differently than anyone else’s. What has given me the best results of my life may not do the same for you. I am more than willing to admit that. I am not the type of person that will tell you there is only one option. That is limiting and is not being fair to you so anyone who tells you that is not a friend to you. There are a million really really good alternative healthy and clean eating lifestyle options (not diets). Just as people live as vegetarians or vegans, people adopt these different lifestyles and are living super healthy lives by following the laws and ideas laid out within them. Again, these are commitments that people make and grow to maintain as a lifestyle. The biggest difference between a clean eating lifestyle change and a calorie counting diet is that the lifestyle change IS meant to be permanent and is actually super easy to maintain throughout your entire life. Your body becomes accustom to (and super happy about) running on the good foods you feed it and then it becomes what you crave. Read up on the paleo diet, on “eating for your blood type”, on living gluten and dairy free, start trying new foods… I tried kale this past week and I am in love with it! haha… take advice from people who you SHOULD be taking advice from, look into supplements and meal replacements, talk to as many people as possible, take in everything you can. You can never have enough information on nutrition. Start out slow by cutting things out of your diet. Then start adding in new foods and recipes you will soon find yourself just itching to try. Test out a particular philosophy, hate it, stop it, and try out the next one. When it clicks you will F E E L the difference. I promise you. After a few weeks of your new healthy eating habits that are adapted for you, your body will feel a million times better and you will function like never before. Find what works for you, embrace it, and run with it.
There is a world of misconception and misinformation surrounding nutrition (especially when it comes to fitness and weight loss). Learn to weed out the bullshit. Very simply… eat all natural, healthy, pure foods. And remember…

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