Stop Counting Calories
I can't tell you how many times I've heard people talk about doing the thing that I used to do. Strangers, friends, all saying that they are on a diet and cutting out carbs and restricting their calorie intake. I want to tell you a little bit about my experience, and what will happen to you if you continue to do that. Towards the end of the post I will be giving better alternatives, both vegan and non-vegan and explain my reasoning for my recommendations. I'm not a nutritionist, but you don't need to be one to tell you that calorie restricting and cutting out all carbs isn't necessary or healthy in order to lose weight. I just really want to promote healthy living and eating.
Cutting down calories sounds good right? If you eat less calories you'll lose weight. Technically that is correct. The problem with this is when you restrict your calories you are setting yourself up for really unhealthy eating habits. Also, the reason you're most likely losing weight with this method is because you're putting your body into starvation mode by consuming too little calories. The reason you're loosing weight by eating such a low amount of calories is because just to survive that day you're body is running through that many calories just to function and give your body energy. Many people also start consuming less and less calories over time, wanting to lose that extra pound. Often times this is what leads people into eating disorders and very unhealthy relationships with food. When this happens your body's organs start to shut down and essentially you are dying. I remember when I would restrict my calorie intake it would work, I would see results. The thing that doesn't work is that as soon as you eat something different or go over your calorie limit, you gain the weight back. To put it simply, calorie restriction is not a attainable lifestyle and is harmful to your body. Another problem with calorie restriction is you might really really want a cookie, but that cookie is 300 calories. As soon as you eat that cookie that is taking up a huge portion of calories from your daily limit. Overall, counting calories is not a realistic way to live, nor is it healthy. No one wants to live everyday of their lives counting calories so please, don't do it.
The next thing I want to address is this whole "carbs are bad" talk. I'm sorry to tell you that what you've thought you're whole life is wrong, but it is. There are good carbs and there are bad carbs. Cake, cookies, fried foods and other junk foods contain bad carbs that aren't good for you. Good carbs which are found in fruits, vegetables, brown rice, whole grain bread, whole grain pastas and other foods are GOOD FOR YOU. In fact you needs to be consuming these carbs in order to survive. Carbs fuel your body to give you energy so that you have good brain function, so that you can have a full day without napping, so that you can function like a normal human being. It's important to know what things are actually good for your body so that you aren't cutting these things out. Basically what you want to know is that simple carbs are bad, and complex carbs are good. It's important to know that you want to be cutting out carbs that are found in refined foods such as white bread, soda, candy, sugared cereals and other items. Most of the time processed foods will have refined sugars and unhealthy carbs so avoid processed foods and foods with long lists of ingredients that you can't understand.
Since going vegan I have learned so much about health, my body and how to take care of it. I no longer restrict calories because I'm eating plant based foods and can eat until I'm full. I have energy that I have never had before and I feel better than I ever have. I know that people worry about not consuming the proper amount of vitamins, or think that going vegan means you will eat salads for the rest of your life. I'm here to tell you that you're wrong. As someone who used to have these same beliefs while I was consuming animal products, the more I became educated, the more I knew I needed to make a change so that I could be healthy, no longer restrict my calories, and stop putting hormones and other products that my body cannot digest into my mouth. While there are many videos and sources that have educated me on veganism, I want to share one that I found that isn't preachy but is also really informative. Even if you don't care about the animals or environment (I don't understand how you wouldn't), but if you don't do it for your own health. Veganism prevents disease and can even cure disease. As a vegan I promote a high carb, low fat vegan diet, all with plant based foods. There are so many alternatives to normal animal product foods that we all really like, you would be surprised. There's pizza, cheesecake, cereal, cakes, pasta, wraps, muffins, sliders, bread, ice cream, smoothies, cookies, meatless tenders (that really taste amazing), rice, snack foods and so much more, that are ALL VEGAN. Of course as a vegan you shouldn't rely on these alternatives and you should focus on eating raw plant based foods such as vegetables, fruits, rice and other unprocessed foods.
When you're vegan and on a high carb low fat diet you don't need to restrict your calories. You can eat until you're actually full. You're so much more in tune with your body that it makes it easy to know when you're full because when you go vegan you will no longer be bloated or feel sick after eating. If you think about it, 400 calories of meat vs. 400 calories of fruits/veggies: you're going to be able to eat way more fruits and veggies. Because plant based foods are lower in calories you will be able to eat until you're full and never have the need to count calories again. Also I just had to mention this, you get more then enough protein from a vegan diet and do not need to consume meat and dairy for protein.
I also wanted to add the video above by Kalel because it's super informative and it's cool to hear about it from someone who's my own age and has other ideas that I can relate to. I also just really love her as a YouTuber.
If you guys would like for me to write a post solely on veganism I would love to do that for you guys. I now understand why vegans sound preachy sometimes and it's because they're so passionate about the vegan lifestyle, and once you become informed on the facts you'll find it a lot easier to understand where vegans are coming from and why they say the things they do. Since going vegan I have such a positive relationship with food. I don't dread eating, in fear that I might gain weight. I don't stress over counting calories. I just eat and give my body the food it needs to survive and be the healthiest it can be.
As I said, I would give recommendations that were both vegan and non vegan for healthier alternatives to calorie restriction and carb cutting. My advice would be to eat healthier foods and eat until you're full. Vegan or not you should not deprive your body of the carbs, nutrients and energy it needs in order to function. And vegan or not, you should be making sure that what you are eating is providing you with all the essential nutrients that your body needs. I hope that this blog post has given you guys some insight and hopefully broken some of the patterns that you guys might be having.
Have an amazing day everyone!