Thursday, September 15, 2022

Why I Focus on Eating Healthy Not Counting Calories

I stopped counting calories years ago. And the biggest reason for this positive change was years of restrictive dieting and food journaling that became stressful and burdensome.
Now I have a healthy relationship with food and just keep it simple and nutritious. I don't feel the need to track my calories because I eat primarily plant-based foods loaded with nutrients and antioxidants. I also listen to body cues of hunger and satiety so eat slowly and with enjoyment. 

The food I eat keeps me strong, healthy, and feeling good and that's what matters. When your food is nutritious, it promotes healthiness and appropriate body weight.


Eating Healthy

I keep my refrigerator and pantry stocked with plenty of organic vegetables, fruits, yogurts, raw nuts, grains, and lean meats. I graze throughout the day eating small healthy meals every three hours. This keeps me satisfied and well-fueled for work and physical training. 

Maintaining a healthy body is about living a quality life. This means being mindful of the quality of food consumed. There's a big difference in choosing to eat a fast food meal compared to an organic chicken breast with mixed greens. Healthy food is nutrient-dense, has fewer calories, and provides health benefits. It even looks like you're eating more when eating healthy because you are. 

This is a great example of why I don't bother counting calories. As long as I am eating lots of veggies, fruits, grains, and lean protein, the need and stress behind counting calories are pointless. I eat for health and listen to the cues of my body that tell me to fuel up.

Shop Healthy

I also apply a strategy when buying groceries. I shop the perimeter of the store and steer clear of the center aisles full of processed foods. Most grocery store setups are the same, produce to the right or left, dairy to the back, and the meat counter on the opposite side. 

Part of my grocery shopping also means sticking to a grocery list. This allows me to stay on track and on budget. I also enjoy the local farmer’s markets and shop for organic produce as much as possible. I also love the organics at Costco.

I believe in keeping my food intake simple. Eating healthy gets a slam for being complicated and this is really untrue. How is eating vegetables and chicken breast complicated? The problem is not with the food but how we feel about making changes to our lifestyle. Diet culture has done a great disservice to society making us feel bad for fulfilling a basic need in life - eating. 

Keep it Simple

Eating an organic apple with peanut or almond butter is healthy food at its simple best. Not complicated at all and something we can all manage. Grilling or baking a chicken breast is another basic way to eat healthily. Nothing difficult in the process. Again, the issue is believing healthy eating is some sort of restrictive diet that is a burden and doesn't taste good.

If we could just get back to the basics of eating to live, eating real food, and not stressing about it so much, getting healthy would be an easier process. This would mean forgetting about unrealistic diets with their false claims and simply enjoying wholesome foods.

Think about our ancestors, what they ate, and how it was provided, and prepared. They worked hard physically growing crops, raising cattle and dairy all from their own land. It was freshly picked, cooked, and consumed throughout the day. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner as they should be. 

I realize many of us don't live on farms or even grow our own food. However, I do try to eat as close to farm-to-fork as possible. What I do count is quality nutrients when it comes to my calories and that's good enough for me.

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