Here is the deal, You don’t HAVE to count calories but calories always count!
I’m going to be tough love coach Gina and put it straight; healthy eating does not automatically equal weight loss.
Yes, the quality of the food you eat matters but fundamentally if you are not in a deficit you will not lose weight.
Take this scenario: Say you choose to put an entire avocado in your salad at lunch. The avocado is a fantastic ingredient for our health; great source of healthy fats, keeps you full and functioning for longer but when we further take a look at portion sizes, we in fact only need about a quarter of an avocado to reach this.
This is just one example of foods that tick all the boxes in terms of health benefits but will hinder and slow the progress of your weight loss if you’re not aware of portion sizes or the amount of calories in the food your eating, even if it is healthy food!
To achieve weight loss, there is one primary step: eat in a calorie deficit. This means eating less than the amount of calories required for maintenance of your current body weight. Going back to the avocado, it can actually go either way.
See if you’ve accounted for the calories of an entire avocado to fit within your calorie budget, then go for it!
However, if you are eating without much knowledge of calories contained in food but simply focusing on the ‘health’ of the food you may just be eating in a calorie surplus and will actually gain weight – even if it something as healthy as an avocado.
So how much of a deficit do I need then? You’ll find A LOT of variety in answers to this question. Essentially to succeed in SUSTAINABLE weight loss, I recommend a mild to moderate deficit. See many calculators that you find online will spit out a number that in my opinion is far to extreme, leading to people canning the whole thing and bingeing – and no wonder!
A calorie deficit does not mean eating the least amount possible. In fact I encourage you to eat the most amount possible for the least amount of calories. I know this seems confusing but a big bowl of salad filled with a mix of raw and baked veggies and a good serving of protein can look like a lot and it is a lot of food but not a lot of calories. It’s all about getting the most bang for your buck!
Healthy eating and making the best options that you can is important and super fantastic but in the same respect you can eat McDonalds and continue to lose weight (this is all hypothetical – I am not saying hit up the drive through every week!). My point is, so long as you are in a calorie deficit, you can make up your day of eating with burgers or doughnuts and still lose weight – you probably won’t feel well and be lacking in nutrients! but it can be done. While I don’t suggest living off of a caloric deficit fast food diet, I also like to show my clients that you don’t need to omit anything from your diet and all foods can fit, just in monitored portions.