Calories Aren’t King

February 10th, 2016 by admin

I can’t remember the last time I counted my calories. Seriously.

When I was in my undergrad studying to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, I learned how to count calories and carbs from memory, based on portion sizes. I could count calories in my sleep. Weight loss was all about calories consumed versus calories burned. That was it.

It wasn’t until AFTER I had completed my Master’s degree in Nutrition that I began to understand that calories aren’t everything. I started to look at the research on inflammation showing how it impacts hormone levels, which impacts weight gain and one’s ability to lose weight. Then I got into Functional Medicine (the relatively new paradigm of Western medicine that looks upstream of the problem and addresses the root cause, mostly without medications), and I started learning about how problems with detoxification and toxin exposure impact weight gain. That’s also when I started getting into the amazing study of healing the gut to reduce systemic inflammation, which lead to learning about how the microbes in the gut, as well as the balance of these, impacts weight. More recently, I have become keenly aware of how stress—both physiological (inflammation from any source, but infections in particular) and emotional—impact stress hormone production and lead to weight gain and/or weight loss resistance.

Along the way, I also discovered on my own, how quality of food coupled with the balance and timing of meals and snacks, could be used to optimize blood sugar balance and result in weight loss (and risk reduction), without so much as a thought about calorie counting.

Clearly there are a lot of factors that go into weight management, and one or ALL of these can contribute to one person’s presentation of weight gain and/or weight loss resistance. And those are just the physiological and nutritional factors. What about the emotional/spiritual factors? Clearly, there is a lot that must be uncovered to find the right approach for each individual. I like to look at all of the above.

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There truly is no such thing as a magic pill or diet. To be sustainable, the approach must be multi-dimensional and most importantly, individualized. This type of investigation takes not only deep listening and looking–it takes a willingness to invest in yourself. And most importantly, it takes TIME. These kinds of mysteries are not solved overnight. Healing is a process. It’s a journey of self-discovery. A big part of healing is learning to first accept, love and be grateful for what is actually here right now, and trusting that there IS a reason why things are the way they are for you in the present moment.

Your body is not being whacky or rebellious. It is simply responding to physiological and emotional/spiritual/energetic inputs. When you can look at these inputs without judgement and WITH curiosity, this is when the answers begin to come. This is when real change can be made. This goes for weight management just as much as it goes for any type of “dis-ease”. This includes but is not limited to Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue, GERD/Heartburn, autoimmune diseases, hypothyroidism, infertility, migraines, etc.

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For what it’s worth, your weight should never be the primary focus of your efforts, because it is merely a symptom. In order to restore balance and alleviate symptoms, we must look for and treat the root causes. My approach to weight loss is to have it come as a side-effect of restoring balance to the body and mind. For that to happen, we’re going to need to do some digging around via food/mood/poop journaling, functional and conventional labs, transformative coaching and finding your personalized anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle. Resolution comes easier and faster for some than it does for others. When it doesn’t come as easily, we just know that there is more looking, healing and time needed.

All of that said, no matter what kind of issue you are dealing with, if you choose to continue focusing on the idea that you are trying hard (exercising, counting calories/eating less, eliminating certain foods, taking certain supplements, meditating, etc.) and getting nowhere, and you overlook the importance of relaxing into your current body and appreciating where you are at this very moment, you will stay stuck. You will stay stuck because, a.) you believe that you are stuck; b.) since you believe that you are stuck, you behave like a stuck person and take actions that will serve to keep you stuck (like resisting further exploration or staying caught up in negative, stress-inducing lines of thinking);  and c.) because you are either focusing on the past or the future and resisting being in the present moment. We must first appreciate where we are, in order to move forward.

Have you been stuck in a health rut for a while?

My 90-Day VIP Healing Intensive is a great way to kick off a thorough exploration of what your body is truly asking for. If you are ready to embark upon a coordinated and focused, yet relaxed and curious, investigation of what your body and spirit need to find balance, so you can finally get on with feeling good in your own skin and have a well-functioning physique, I invite you to read more HERE.

Here’s to your health & happiness! Create a beautiful day, and know that you are blessed.
Be well,