Why counting calories is not the best way to that flat stomach

Did you ever sit, with a black & white photo in your hand, to think about the lives of our grandparents and ancestors? Not long ago, I discovered a mysterious box in the attic. I admit, I was attracted to the age-worn wood and the rust on its metallic accents. I weighed it for a moment in my hands. It was lightweight. Opening the lid, I discovered the memories of another world, voices from the past in the form of monochromatic photographs and love letters written during the war. Most of the images showed a supple, elegant and proud woman, hand in hand with a little girl. Turns out, the little girl was my grandmother, and her mother besides her.

Other characters I didn’t recognise. The family resemblance was there, and they were all supple, but not thin. With right postures, and faces likes nothing could take them down. I was wrong, saying my great-grandmother was a proud woman. Rather, now that I know more, I would call her strong, living a hard life, and still managing to become a role-model in the society of the time.

What does this have to do with calories? For generations, people were supple and healthy without wasting time on counting calories. Until the 1950s, obesity wasn’t an issue and nobody carefully added up calories, grams of protein or carbs. Then again, how many people back then had our diet of heavily processed foods, de-greased foodstuffs or “diet” goods with low-calorie labels?

Nutrition facts and measure tape

Counting calories: the best way to be unhappy while trying to lose weight 🙂

Counting calories is a modern invention, restrictive, that makes us unhappy when we’re trying to lose some weight. While nutritional labels can offer useful information, just counting calories doesn’t guarantee a healthy diet and it doesn’t take into account the need to give our bodies what they need to keep us healthy and beautiful.

While generally it is a good idea to eat less calories in order to maintain our weight, I have good news: it doesn’t have to become obsessive. If we choose quality, nourishing food, it will happen by itself.

How much should we eat? I used to have this question, and it’s hard to find an answer with so much contradictory information floating around. We’re so disconnected from our real nutritional needs we don’t even know when we’re hungry and when we’re not. If we learn to eat the right way, to detoxify, then our bodies start to take in much needed nutrients, making us feel full sooner. By eating nourishing food, rich in fibre, we eat less calories – whether we count them or not.

We must be more relaxed when we talk about our choices regarding food and its quantity. Don’t just do it by numbers. Counting calories doesn’t work on the long term and leads to the depressing yo-yo effect of losing weight. As long as we respect the 80% alkaline 20% acid foods, we’ll generally take in less calories because we cut the proportion of concentrated and caloric-rich foods.

Fresh produce doesn’t need a nutritional label

Have you noticed that an apple or a bunch of basil don’t have nutritional labels in stores? The more natural our diets, the more integral and unrefined our food, the easier digestion is. It will allow us to enjoy some extra energy that would have been otherwise “devoured” by our own digestive process.

When they’re trying to lose weight, people generally choose smaller portions with low nutrient content, with little or no fibres. This is exactly why so many feel both hungry and frustrated. To make a bad thing even worse, such diets accelerate ageing and fill us with toxins. Meat, dairy products and simple carbs which in fact are very processed and refined carbs, they are all very rich in calories but poor in fibres and nutrients. It’s impossible to eat them without taking in many calories! Or, if we count calories, we eat very little and we’re always thinking about food.

A little tip: let’s start eating alkaline foods at least half an hour before meals, in order to benefit from enzymes from raw vegetal substances. This way we can make sure our diet includes these alkaline, water-rich foodstuffs, increasing their importance in our overall menu. I’ll share a little secret: I always carry with me, in my bag, a piece of fruit or a few pieces of carrot, for those moments when I don’t’ have time to eat a salad.

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