Losing weight is the number one fitness goal in the world. Look around any gym and you’ll see people sweating away on the treadmill or crosstrainer to help them shed those few pesky pounds.
While this is all well and good, the real key to losing weight is to get your diet right! I’m sure you’ve all heard that before though (Abs are made in the kitchen, nothing tastes as good as skinny feels blah blah blah…) so I’ll skip the paragraph I was going to write and get to the tasty stuff.
Foods and Calories
A very common question amongst folk who want to lose weight is ‘What foods should I be eating’. This is a great question, but not the only one they should be asking. A more effective question would be ‘How much do I need to be eating’. When it comes to changing your weight, calories are the ultimate factor here.
To lose weight you simply have to be eating LESS calories than you are using throughout the day – Otherwise known as being in an ENERGY DEFICIT. Doing exercise means that we use energy/calories so it makes it easier for us to be in an energy deficit and eating loads of high calorie foods means that we are consuming a lot more calories which makes it more difficult to be in an energy deficit. That’s why I ALWAYS give my clients a calorie target if they are trying to slim down.
Okay so does that all make sense? To lose fat from your body you need to be taking in LESS energy than you are using. Doing exercise helps this happen. Eating lots of high calorie foods doesn’t help this happen.
Capiesh? Good, now let’s talk about the actual foods themselves.
Food – Healthy vs Unhealthy
The common theory is that if something is healthy then it’s automatically better than something that’s unhealthy if we want to lose weight. Is correct?
No! Well, kind of.
When we think of things that are ‘healthy’ we generally think of natural, whole foods like fruit, vegetables, potatoes, rice etc and when we think ‘unhealthy’ we think of junk food like crisps, chips, McDonalds, biscuits etc.
Now, these typically healthy foods are very good to add into a weight loss diet because they provide vitamins, minerals etc – nutrients which are generally lacking in junk food – which are great for overall health and wellbeing. But, are they automatically superior for weight loss? No, not all the time. Why? Because remember, CALORIES are the most important part of losing weight.
While eating a salad is great because foods like lettuce, tomato etc are low in calories, it is important to remember that you still MUST control your portions and not all ‘healthy’ foods are low calorie. If you eat massive amounts of healthy foods the calories are really going to add up and while foods like avocados are accepted in society as good for you, they are actually highly calorific for the volume of food you get.
An avocado actually has the same calories as a Mars Bar (230), a typically ‘unhealthy’ choice so as odd as it sounds it would be acceptable to woff down that chocolate bar IF it means you don’t go over your calorie target.
So What are you Actually Saying?
My point is that yes ‘healthy’ foods should the main staple of any diet, especially one to result in weight loss, but it is even more important to control your calories and understand that you are allowed to satisfy those cravings and have something naughty as long as you don’t go over your calorie target.
On that note, I’m about to go have a burger and fries, because it’s fits in my targets for the day and I can.