8 Feb 2012
I was at a meeting last year when I struck up a conversation with a fellow blogger. After we introduced ourselves and our blogs, she told me, “I lost 60 pounds this year, but I don’t pay any attention to eating healthy foods.” I asked her why not. She said that she just counted calories and ate junk all day long like chips and candy.
She is not alone in her belief that losing weight is all about the calories, and that eating real food doesn’t really matter. Sure, you can lose weight by cutting your calories, but what are you doing to your health in the process?
I’ll confess that I have a tremendous sweet tooth and did have a hard time adjusting from eating brownies for breakfast to learning to appreciate a breakfast that included whole grains. I did miss the chips and cookies that previously accompanied my lunches, but found delicious, nutritious substitutions that left me satisfied and feeling better.
When I weighed 300 pounds I not only ate a lot of junk, but I also frequently suffered from a variety of illnesses. I had digestive issues, got colds more often than my children did, and felt sluggish all the time.
One of my primary motivations for committing to losing half of my size was my health. As such, I knew I needed to radically change my choice of foods for every single meal and snack of the day.
I started out simply by switching brownies at breakfast for oatmeal sweetened with honey or brown sugar. Although I don’t drink milk, I found that adding a high-fiber cereal like Uncle Sam to yogurt made a filling breakfast that made me able to skip a morning snack. Instead of chips and junky crackers for snacks, I had fresh fruit, low-fat cheese, and used organic graham crackers and ginger snaps for a sweet treat.
The change in how I felt aside from the weight loss was astounding. My digestive issues resolved themselves within several weeks, and over the 14 months that it took me to lose all my weight, the number of times I was ill decreased substantially.
Nothing changed in my life except for losing pounds, substituting unhealthy processed foods for real foods, and exercising regularly. I credit the real food with giving me the biggest boost in my health and energy level. After all, how many vitamins and minerals are in brownies or chips? Believe me. Not many.
If you are on your own journey to lose weight, I’d encourage you to not just count calories, but rather analyze each food you eat for its potential to improve your health and help you meet your weight loss goals.
What benefits to you see to eating real food, and are the benefits worth the effort?
DianeCheck out my latest posts here