We are surrounded by messages that tell us we have to cut back on calories to lose weight. And we've been brainwashed to think the less we eat, the skinnier we will be.
Our society applauds those who eat like birds. How many times have you heard...
I haven't eaten anything since breakfast.
All I ate today was a bagel.
I skipped lunch because I had to get some things done.
I ran errands all day and only had a cereal bar.
We secretly laud ourselves when we "achieve" a day of eating very little. And when we want to get our weight under control, the first thing we do is focus on cutting back calories.
But restricting your calories is not necessarily the way to make you thinner. Here's why:
1. Quality over quantity.
A calorie is not a calorie, per say.
Say one woman eats a bagel and coffee for breakfast, then snacks on crackers, pretzels, and cookies all day until she gets home from work.
Another woman eats eggs on toast for breakfast, a salad with grilled chicken for lunch, has trail mix an hour later, then an apple with peanut butter as an afternoon snack.
Obviously, the second woman is eating much higher quality food.
Focusing on choosing quality over quantity is what really matters in our journey towards health. If we fill our plates with fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean proteins, and other natural foods, it may seem like we are eating a lot.
But this type of quality food is what sustains and nurtures our bodies. Our portions of these foods can be big, but these are the types of foods our body NEEDS to function. You really can't eat too many pieces of broccoli!
2. Less is not more.
We often praise ourselves for going long stretches of time without eating. We think it's some sort of achievement to go hours and hours without giving our bodies food or surviving on coffee all day at work.
But less does not equal better. In reality, more is better.
More high-quality, more vitamin-packed, more mineral-rich foods are better. You really can eat AND lose weight. It often takes experimenting with eating more often in order to trust our bodies to tell us how much we need to eat.
And, it's super important to understand that eating fewer calories can shut down your metabolism.
When you aren't eating regularly and often, the message your body hears is, "Oh no, starvation mode. Must conserve energy." So, it stores the food you do eat as fat. When you are eating regularly, your body relaxes, trusts that more fuel is coming, and burns the food immediately. Eating more gets your further in your journey.
3. Our Bodies NEED fuel.
I remember when the realization of this statement hit me like a ton of bricks. When I started eating smaller meals more frequently, it amazed me how much it changed my life. My hunger levels were less intense, I had more energy, and I felt more balanced and stable.
Instead of either being on a diet or going off a diet, I was eating more "normally." And it felt fantastic! It was almost a silly realization -- oh, yes, my body needs food to sustain its basic functions. But for someone who had been dieting forever and a day, it was a light bulb moment.
Our bodies, even at their resting rate, need fuel to do all the things they do effortlessly -- breathe, pump our heart, run our digestive system, heal from an illness, walk, move, and all the other activities we do in a day. Even without exercise and tons of movement during the day, we still need fuel!
It can be a relief to "allow" ourselves to actually fuel our bodies -- instead of restricting and focusing on cutting back. It's a much more satisfying way to eat and live.
So, tell me -- do you fall victim to the "eating little is the way to lose weight" mindset? Do you believe that cutting back will make you thinner? Comment below and let me know how you're gonna break this myth!