When it comes to nutrition, having the willpower and determination to make healthier choices can seem like a daunting reality.
“No more late-night desserts,” or “Time to ditch my McGriddle for a McSalad” are some of the decisions that seem easy on paper but are torture at the moment.
Fortunately, there is good news. We have two options when dealing with such nutritional conundrums: 1) restrictive dieting or 2) forming healthy habits which provide considerably more sustainability in the long run.
Today let’s answer aged-old questions like “is cutting calories bad for you?” and “is it ok to have a cheat meal?” to slice through the dogma and focus on smarter strategies to maintain balanced eating without going crazy!
Is Cutting Calories Bad For You?
Calories are the unit of energy that our body uses to fuel its activities. Whenever we eat something, our body raises its internal temperature to break down the food into energy. Funny enough, calories aren’t determined by weight or size, but by how difficult it is for your body to burn off. Hence the fact that five Oreos is the same amount of calories as a bag of broccoli.
In theory, reducing caloric intake will make us lose weight; however, cutting too many calories can slow down our metabolism, making it harder for our bodies to burn fat.
Plus, it adds unnecessary mental anguish.
Thus, calories in/calories is a MYTH.
A recent study from Harvard shows that individuals following a low-carbohydrate (20% of total calories) diet burn between 209 and 278 more calories per day than those on a high-carbohydrate (60% of total calories) diet. This is clear evidence that a calorie doesn’t equal a calorie.
Does it mean you need to eat no carbs at all?
But you should focus on eating quality foods like green vegetables, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates and every once in a while give yourself a reward like your favorite dessert to stay motivated!
Are Cheat Days ok?
Yes, it’s ok, even recommended to include cheat meals into your diet.
Cheat meals are not only vital to your mental well-being but they play a key role in boosting metabolism.
The idea is to reward yourself with a cheat meal every once in a while to stay motivated and on track. Your metabolism increases levels of leptins, the “anti-starvation” hormone responsible for sending hunger messages to the brain. Simply put, you’ll feel fuller for days after giving yourself a cheat meal.
Cheat meals also replenish glycogen for increased energy and ramp-up mechanisms for fat-burning.
“I love my cheat days, they have become legendary” – Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
That said, the key to successful cheat meals is moderation and restraint.
A grilled cheese sandwich with extra bacon on the side while watching the game on Sunday night may sound like the perfect combination; however, too much of a good thing can be detrimental to your overall health goals.
Give yourself rewards, but don’t overdo it!
Superfoods for Weight Loss
“Superfoods” is a buzzword that gets thrown around a lot these days.
But what are superfoods? Generally speaking, they’re nutrient-rich foods that offer additional benefits such as promoting gut health, helping with weight loss, and boosting energy levels.
Here are a few:
- Kiwis – 42 calories, 2 g of fiber (8%), 64 mg of Vitamin C (That’s 106% of your daily Vitamin C in one fruit)
- Wild Caught Salmon – 238 calories, 40 g of protein (80% of RDI) and high in Potassium, Vitamin B-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids
- Mixed Nuts (Almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, brazil nuts) – 173 calories and high in many nutrients including Vitamin E (12% of RDI), Magnesium (16% of RDI), Phosphorus (13% of RDI), Copper (23% of RDI), Manganese (26% of RDI), and Selenium (56% of RDI)
Yes, it is a Lifestyle
It may sound like hippie talk, but nutrition truly is a lifestyle.
It’s not about counting calories or sacrificing the foods you love, it’s about finding sustainable solutions to fuel your body.
By committing to healthy habits such as portion control, exercise, and eating nutrient-rich foods you’ll be on the path to success while still enjoying life.
It’s possible, but it requires consistency and determination.
Good luck and don’t forget to have fun along the way!
Happy Eating! 🥑