In my initial consultations with clients I generally start with going through their current eating habits and their dieting history... so I get to hear a lot of stories about failed diet attempts that brought on frustrations, unhappiness and feelings of failure. And among all the people I´ve met and the stories I´ve heard there´s one thing that they all have in common: CALORIE COUNTING.
If you´ve ever been on a calorie counting diet you´ll know what I´m talking about... they´re not only a waste of time but they´re fcuking annoying and frustrating too. Who the hell would want to live that way? In addition to that, it´s a very reductionist way of looking at food because it only takes into account its energy content. It´s like looking at a Ferrari & a Renault and saying that they both have the same amount of fuel in them. Does this make any sense to you?
Well this is how we look at food if we only refer ourselves to calories. By looking at food this way, we don´t take into account what the food does to our bodies, how it stimulates us and how well we digest it. It doesn´t either take into account the amount of nutrients, vitamins or the amount of crap it contains for that matter either!
When you consider that 125 grams of avocado (approximately 1 avocado) approximately has the same amount of calories as 40g of Doritos (about ¼ of a pack) then you can maybe see why relying solely on calories to determine the quality of a food becomes a problem.
Imagine yourself eating ¼ of a pack of Doritos. Wait, who the hell eats ¼ of a pack of Doritos? Don´t you just open the pack and the next thing you know it´s gone? Or at best, you share it with a friend and it´s gone? Ok aside from the fact that eating ¼ of a pack of Doritos takes a lot of discipline (this is why calorie counting diets require discipline…), now imagine the sensation it will give you. Will it leave you full and satisfied? Or will you be hungry for more? Maybe have the rest of the ¾ of that pack? Anyone?
Now imagine eating an avocado. Wait, who eats a whole avocado? I mean it´s possible and I´ve certainly managed but it´s pretty filling right? It´s not really a sensation that is comparable to the on you would get from eating the Doritos. Right?
Ok so aside from the feeling of fullness, let´s look at the ingredients. When you eat the Doritos you get the added bonus of "Acidity regulators, colorings and other flavor enhancers such as Monosodium Glutamate & Disodium 5´-Ribonucleotide"... Wait, wtf is that? Well Monosodium Glutamate is MSG. It was traditionally used in Chinese restaurants to encourage people to eat more (it triggers insulin to make you feel hungry) and has often been blamed for causing a range of nasty side effects including headache, nausea & even brain damage.
Now the Food Regulation Authorities still allow it to be used in our food but it needs to be listed, which obviously makes it a lot less harmful to our health (right…) I´m not going to get into the nitty gritty of MSG here and I think we are all allowed to make our own opinion of it but for what it´s worth, here is mine: MSG is shit and anything that contains it is too.
Which brings us back to avocado. What are the ingredients in avocado? Well, avocado. Ok and what is avocado known for? Well avocados are known for being high in heart healthy fats and for helping to reduce bad cholesterol. They contain more potassium than bananas and also contain Folate & Vitamin B5, B6, C, E & K. The healthy fat in avocado can also help with "oiling your pipes" (if you know what I mean...) and can therefore contribute to weight loss.
So now that you know all this, would you recommend someone who is trying eat healthier and maybe lose some weight to eat the avocado or the “1/4” of the pack of Doritos?
Well those who advocate for calorie counting will argue that they´re both equal because they both contain the same amount of calories. And if you´re lucky enough, like some of my clients have been, your diet advisor might try sell you some manufactured products as a substitute for real food because it contains less calories than the food they are currently eating. Basically it´s something like:
“Here, stop eating those avocados that are full of calories & fat and eat this chemical shit bomb that´s got all this made up shit that is basically dead because you can leave it in your handbag for 7 weeks and still eat it! But it´s only got 100 calories! Yeah!"
Sounds like a really healthy choice right?
I think we can all agree that it´s not. And that´s the problem with the diet industry and the people who are encouraging us to make food choices based on calories (pretty much anyone who is trying to sell packaged foods these days...). The whole concept is flawed because it completely ignores the quality of the food and whether it is going to fill us up with a bunch of vitamins & nutrients or just make us more hungry because it´s full of shit (like MSG…). This is why losing weight by trying to reduce calories is not only difficult but it also often makes people feel like shit.
The good news is that people are starting to wake up to this reality and to realise that weight loss and making healthier choices doesn´t have to be hard, nor does it have to make us feel like shit. It just requires us to be smart and to stop believing all the bullshit that is being thrown around in the diet industry.
When you think about it, the only reason this industry is surviving is because of our confusion. If we all got smart and started listening to our bodies and stopped giving a FCUK about the C-word, we´d stop consuming all the crap that is being manufactured for the sake of it being “low calorie”, “low sugar” or “low fat”. We´d all eat REAL foods filled with vitamins & nutrients and we´d be in vibrant health & full of energy! We´d eat what we feel like when we are hungry and our minds would be free to focus on more important shit than worrying about what we should be eating to be "healthy"!
If this sounds like an appealing state of mind, the first step you can take today is to cut out the CRAP (aka the processed foods) by downloading my free cleanse cheat sheet here. It contains 9 simple steps to start cutting out the crap from your diet and to help you start a new relationship with food that focuses on quality, taste & satisfaction, rather than calories. And as a result you will feel healthier, leaner, happier & even more badass than you already are!