Who feels like this when it comes to choosing healthy food options? There are HUNDREDS of diets floating around all claiming some sort of ‘get fit quick’ result. I hate to break it to you but diets don’t work. Unfortunately, the diet industry preys on vulnerable women (and men) that want to lose weight and ‘be healthy’ but don’t know where to start. This faddy diet culture is the complete polar opposite of healthy and actually contributing to the growing problem of obesity and an unhealthy mindset and relationship with food.
So what should I do?
What you need is a lifestyle change. Something you can maintain. Something realistic. Something that isn’t stupidly restrictive. Something that will make you FEEL amazing and will work for life. Yes, it is true that for ‘weight loss’ (I hate the term weight loss because it's usually fat people want to lose rather than just 'weight') calorie intake should be less than calorie expenditure (basically eat less than you burn). However, I don’t want you to just mindlessly cut your calorie intake to lose weight. If you eat less of course you will lose 'weight' but that's not a healthy approach. As I said above weight does not equal fat. And really it's fat we want to lose right? It’s not all to do with numbers. You are more than what you weigh. You are more than just a number on a scale or a body fat percentage. You are a human and you deserve to FEEL amazing.
Quantity vs. Quality.
What is important, is the quality of the calories you consume because that will determine how you feel. 100 calories is 100 calories right? WRONG! What are those 100 calories made up of? What are the ingredients in the product? How will those ingredients benefit (or damage) your body? Be RESPONSIBLE when it comes to fueling your body. You can choose whether you want to feel energized and vibrant or groggy and lethargic. And one huge contributing factor of that is what you eat.
I have genuinely heard of someone choosing a curly wurly chocolate bar over a nutritional cereal bar because it has 'less calories'…I almost cried when I heard this because I was honestly shocked that this is the mindset being taught in some places. I was in utter disbelief that someone could honestly think that a curly wurly was better for them than a product with all natural ingredients just because it had less calories?! Crazy right??? But then I realised if people aren’t taught the correct information, are overwhelmed by the vast amount of harmful 'diet' information out there and don’t have a healthy relationship with food then of course they would assume the one with less calories is better for us. And that’s because it’s been drilled into us by the diet industry that less calories means healthy. But let me tell you now, that literally couldn't be further from the truth!
Let me use this example to explain why this is not a healthy mindset if you are wanting to give your body the nutrients it needs to function and get you results.
Ingredients in a curly wurly (118 calories)
- Glucose syrup
- Palm oil
- Skimmed milk powder
- Cocoa butter
- Cocoa mass
- Whey permeate powder (from milk)
- Milk fat
- Emulsifiers (E471, sunflower lecithin, E442, E476)
- Sodium hydrogen carbonate.
If anyone can honestly say they know what E471, E442 or E476 are and where they come from then I salute you because I haven’t got a damn clue! Seriously guys what the hell are these things that they are putting in our food that we actually eat?! Truth bomb! If you don’t recognize what these ingredients are how on earth can you expect your body to recognize them and digest them accordingly?? Also, the first TWO ingredients are sugar... I'm not going to expand on that because a). it makes me too mad to talk about that this is even legal and b). do I really need to? It's obvious that the ingredients in this chocolate bar are a load of rubbish if we're being real here, yes?
Ingredients of Organix Goodies Carrot Cake Soft Oaty Bar (120 calories)
- Wholegrain Oats 46%
- Raisins 32%
- Sunflower Oil 12%
- Carrot Juice Concentrate 7%
- Apple Juice Concentrate 2%
- Cinnamon <1%
- Orange Oil <1%
I think I can probably speak for all of us when I say I recognize ALL of those ingredients right? Also, no sight of refined sugar which is a winner. I literally get so excited when I find good quality, nutritional products with REAL ingredients!! Like seriously it makes me so happy! Which is why I will always share products I love that have awesome ingredients with you guys (usually on snapchat or Insta stories) because I know how overwhelming and hard it is to find healthy 'healthy options' these days.
So by comparing the actual ingredients of a curly curly and this Oaty Bar (rather than calories) you can see that the Oaty Bar is the healthier option. So think QUALITY over QUANTITY.
Let's talk sugar.
Usually when sugar is in the ingredients list it should be a bit of a red flag as it means they have added refined sugar to the product (which has absolutely no nutritional value to our bodies by the way). On top of that, if sugar is one of the first ingredients on the list it means it is high in sugar. Generally the first ingredient on the list is the highest percentage of what that product is made of, second is the second highest etc. (Can I just remind you that the first TWO ingredients in a curly wurly are sugar).
Here's what I do when reading labels. Check the ingredients list. How many ingredients? (Usually the fewer ingredients there are, the more nutritional it is). Is sugar in there? If no, then we're off to an ok start. If yes, then check the 'nutritional info panel'. Ignore calories. Go straight to sugar. Per 100g how many grams of sugar is in that product? I find this chart really helpful.
Don't get caught out!
When it comes to checking the sugar contents per 100g, always refer back to how big the actual product is in total. For example, a bag of crisps may say 6g of sugar per 100g.....not so bad right? But then where you get caught out is the packet might actually be 400g (and you know damn well you're gonna eat the whole pack, let's be real). So really what you've actually got is a product with 24g of sugar! So if you do eat the entire bag it is actually quite a lot of added sugar. And yes there is usually sugar in crisps - I know, crazy right. Sugar is actually a hidden ingredient in so many food products these days. Even bread! Seriously! I challenge you to find a loaf of bread that doesn't have added refined sugar in it. It shouldn't be this hard to try and eat healthy and avoid so much sugar. This is why I get so angry that food companies (especially those marketed as 'healthy') are legally allowed to add in so much refined sugar!
So to summarise - read the ingredients on the back of packaging to see what you are actually putting into your body. Cut the faddy diets crap, they do not work, they are NOT sustainable, they are NOT healthy and long term actually really detrimental to your health. Instead, focus on eating REAL, whole foods, reducing processed foods, reducing refined sugar, moving your body and changing your mindset. There is no quick fix. There is so tea that will give you a flat tummy. There is no magic pill that will make you drop fat and become healthy. If there was one that truly worked, do you really think we would be faced with a global obesity epidemic??? It won’t happen overnight and it won't be easy but nothing worth having comes easy and in all honesty, what’s the rush? Don't rush something you want to last forever.
P.S. I am not a nutritionist I am just sharing what I have learnt but if you have any questions please feel free to contact me. I don't pretend to know all the answers but if I don't I will try and find out for you!
Love Georgia x