Counting Calories to Lose Weight - Quantity and Quality

Counting calories to lose weight is not just about quantity.  Sure all of the really good weight loss programs make sure you eat less than so many calories a day, but if you are eating unhealthy foods your body will fill tired and hungry.  I just read this great sea faring novel by Patrick O'Brian and the sailors were all getting scurvy and dying of scurvy because they were not getting enough Vitamin C.  Unlike us they were unable to get any fresh fruits or vegetables at all.   That is unlikely to happen today unless you do something stupid like go on the Atkins Diet without eating any fruits and vegetables and without taking a vitamin pill, but I digress...  The point is if you make your body happy, it will reward you by a lack (reduction) of hunger and a lack (reduction) of cravings.

What Foods to Avoid

To lose weight permanently,  you've got to cut way back on processed food, including The White Stuff as follows:

  •  sugar
  • starch
  • salt
  •  fat       (particularly trans fats and saturated fats  -  oils that are liquid in moderation are better)

 What Foods to Eat  

While Counting Calories to Lose Weight, eat the natural fresh whole foods that our bodies are able to handle.  

  • vegetables and fruit
  • nuts and seeds
  • fish and seafood
  • lean meats
  • poultry and eggs           

The less processed food you eat, the better.  But nobody is perfect so here are some guidelines to make it 

  • eat Healthy Foods 95% of the time 
  •  keep processed food to a minimum
  • allow occasional planned cheating (see the Diet Calendar Tab for planning vacations from your diet)

Balanced Diet  leads to Weight Loss

We all know that a balanced diet promotes good health, weight loss, and more energy.

It's simple to eat a balanced diet.  So don't let them confuse you with complex nutritional information.  Do not forget that you are counting calories to lose weight, so a little bit of this and a little bit of that add up. 

The bottom line:

All animals eat the foods available to them in the environment.  They do not need to have exotic fruits and vegetables transported from Mexico, Chile and California in order to be healthy.   Animals don't study nutrition. For animals counting calories to loose weight is not an option and not needed.   They learn what to eat from their parents.  

Let me tell you what I learned by talking to a 93 year old woman a few years ago. She grew up on a farm in central Georgia. I asked her what she ate growing up. I was prepared for an exotic tale of all the fruits and vegetable that they grew.  Her answer was that 95% of the time they ate cornbread and sweet potatoes.  Many days that was all they ate.  they did have some cane syrup, some fruit preserves, one pig killed a year for the family and some fruits and vegetables when they were in season.  Flour had to be bought so biscuits were reserved for Sunday. 

Keeping it simple can help in other ways.  I find that the more that I think about food the hungrier I get.  As an example of simplicity, last month I had a half  a sub sandwich for lunch and the other half for supper (at work).  It was the nonthinking simplicity, not the sub sandwiches that made this diet work.  Make out a handful of healthy daily menus, and stick to it.

Let's look at the 3 main components of a balanced diet.

Good Carbohydrates 

  • leafy green vegetables
  • non-starchy vegetables
  • fresh fruit
  • oatmeal
  • sweet potatoes (yams)
  • potatoes
  • brown rice
  • 100% Whole Wheat Bread

Good Protein

  •  lean cuts of meat
  •  poultry (no skin)
  • fish and seafood
  • eggs


Good Fats

The body needs some fat .Fats and oils make foods taste good and if you do not give the body any the body will crave fats. Good fats are found in healthy foods, including:

  •  unsalted nuts and seeds (walnuts are particularly good)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • grass fed meats, poultry and eggs
  •  wild fish, seafood and game meat
  • avocado
  • flaxseed oil

We usually consume all the fats we need while eating a normal healthy diet.  If you are worried, a small teaspoon a day of olive oil on your food should be more than enough.

* Remember when counting calories to lose weight be sure to keep added fats (e.g, oil for cooking and salad dressings) to a minimum.

How to Eat

Did you know that how you eat can be making you fat?

Try these eating strategies to jump start your weight loss:

  • serve smaller portions
  • use smaller plates
  •  eat only at the table -- never eat on the run
  •  eat only when you're hungry
  • eat slowly and really enjoy your food
  • stop eating when you've had enough - never eat to the point of being stuffed
  • always leave some food on your plate
  • while eating out either ask for to go box right away or physically divide half of everything on the plate before eating.
  • try to not eat high calorie carbohydrates by themselves. If you eat some protein at the same meal it will slow down digestion and make the calories go further.

Making a few simple changes in how you eat can jump start your weight loss.  You can do it!

How Not to Eat

  • stay away from processed, pre-packaged, prepared and man made foods
  •  shop the perimeter of the supermarket - trans fats are often found in the processed foods in the inner aisles of the store
  • buy real food and cook it from scratch at home - scratch meals are cheap, quick and easy
  • plan ahead - plan a week's worth of meals, draw up a shopping list and have fun sitting down to real meals with friends or family
  • don't make it complicated.  Make it simple!