I get asked all the time if I count calories. I don’t and never will. I lost 42lbs of pregnancy weight without ever counting calories. Let me explain why and how you can do the same. Counting calories has its place for athletes and bodybuilders BUT obsessing over calories and weighing every piece of food that goes into our bodies is just not healthy or even necessary for the majority of us. As a busy mum time is of the absolute essence to me, counting calories just adds more unnecessary stress to my thoughts and my day.
When you spend your days stressing about food and obsessing about calories, you can easily get trapped in cycles of restricting and binging. As soon as you get a craving for sugar you end up binging on way more than you intend to leading to cycles of guilt and shame that trigger more emotional eating. It’s much harder to control your calorie intake permanently when emotional eating comes into play.
For me, the types of foods I am eating are more important than the calorie content. I focus on nutrient-dense real foods and combine them in a certain way. I allow myself the occasional treat without feeling guilty. Most of my meals are made up of protein, good fats and lots of vegetables or salad, I call these ‘anytime’ meals. My post workout meals are made up of complex carbohydrates and proteins. This is a simple way of eating for weight loss without ever needing to count calories.
<b>Simple explanation of real foods you should include in your meal plan:</b>
Protein: Turkey, chicken, beef, eggs, white fish, tuna, lean red meat. If you are vegetarian things like tofu, chickpeas and other high protein legumes such as lentils and beans would be your protein sources.
Complex Carbohydrates: sweet potato, quinoa, gluten free oats, lentils, beans, fruit and vegetables.
Good fats: avocado, nuts, nut butters, extra virgin olive oil, oily fish such as salmon, seeds (only a small portion of good fats is needed).
Protein is the most important part of every meal and you should pick this first and base the rest of your meal around it. Pick and chose one food from the lists depending on whether you are having an ‘anytime’ meal or ‘post workout’ meal. I would have 5 meals a day spaced 2.5-3 hours apart based on these simple principles.
Following this simple guide 80% of the time will get better results than trying to be 100% perfect and restricting yourself with calorie counting. This means you can still have occasional treats without it impacting on your results. It just comes down to making healthier swaps. I eat my Naturally Guilt Free treat range all the time. Also if you have any type of intolerance or autoimmune health condition, counting calories doesn’t work for you- you need an approach to health and weight loss that heals your gut and cuts out the foods likely to cause inflammation and weight gain like the simple approach I have just described.
So many women tell me they just haven’t got time to do lots of exercise or can’t get to the gym because of childcare or other responsibilities. Can you still lose weight without going to the gym? YES- by trying to focus on moving more, getting at least 30 minutes of movement into your day. If you want to take it one step further there are super effective home workouts you can do in 20 minutes or less.
The most important thing is start being kinder to yourself. If you go off track don’t beat yourself up as this just leads to eating more of the wrong foods that don’t make you feel good.
Tips for managing your weight
- Eat 5 small meals a day spaced out 2.5-3 hours.
- Base your meals around your protein source, the most important part of every meal.
- Anytime meals should be made up of protein, good fats and vegetables/ salad
- Post workout meals should be based around protein and carbohydrates.
- Focus on movement every day and short home workouts that can be done in 20 minutes.
- 80% is better than perfect.
- Occasional treats will not impact on your goals.
- Be kinder to yourself.
This is my philosophy for weight loss and optimum health and it works incredibly well for myself and the thousands of women I have supported with their own weight loss and health journeys.
Healthy eating doesn’t need to be difficult and I pride myself on showing women simple, effective and delicious ways to live and eat well.
Love Natasha x
P.S. My body and mind transformation programme, Transform25, is full of incredible simple and delicious meal plans and recipes to help you rapidly boost your health, change your mindset towards yourself and lose unwanted weight. It will literally change your life! Click here to find out more.