Counting calories is like adding your savings and debts together

It doesn’t tell you anything at all.

Calories are not all equal and it took me a   v – e – r – y   long time to figure it out. 

As a recently graduated registered dietitian & nutritionist, calories were my whole world. I knew how many calories were in every food and used a tracker daily to try to stick to the amount my body needed… with the only result of turning an already distorted eating pattern with an even worse relationship with food.

I even gained unwanted weight from counting calories and trying to stick to the 1,400 calories I thought my body needed.

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Calories in and calories out is WRONG!

Because I was taught calories in and calories out are all that matters when it comes to weight loss, I even experimented with days of getting all of my calories from whole grain cookies, fruits and low-fat yogurt. After all, aren’t all calories equal?

But calories in and calories out DO NOT work!

I have tried for years. Yes, years. 

I thought I was doing something wrong. I thought my body was broken. 
I thought if only I would try harder, I should finally be able to get at my ideal weight.

I thought I was the worse dietitian in the whole world.

All counting calories do is leave you tired, sick and fat…
and it also leads many to develop an unhealthy relationship with food.

Counting calories is like adding your money and debts together

Counting calories doesn’t tell you anything at all!

This is because you are not really what you eat.

You are what your gut digests and absorbs.
You are what your body utilizes these absorbed nutrients.
You are how your hormones and body respond to your food AND life.

Your body couldn’t care less about what a calorie is.

I don’t meant that calories don’t count at all because they do to a certain extend. I still use them to a certain extent with my clients (usually not disclosing numbers), but it’s only one of the many factors I use to assess their diet and make nutritional recommendations.

What I believe matters even more than calories is… the nutrients they bring.

Count nutrients instead of calories

This concept is so unfamiliar that you probably have no clue how to do that.

This is not something I was taught in dietetic school either but once I learned to count my nutrients, my health starting to improve and I started feeling a lot better in my own skin.

I don’t like reducing food to numbers, grams and percentages and it’s also important not to fall into that trap when trying to count nutrients.

How does counting nutrients help you?

If not paying attention to calories sounds scary… it’s a good sign that you NEED to stop!

I remember when I first stopped, I thought I would become out of control. I thought it would be like driving on the highway without the speedometer. I thought my body wouldn’t be able to tell me when to stop eating and that I’d end up gaining a ton of weight.

But none of these things happened.

I’m not saying I became a perfect intuitive eater and that I magically improved my relationship with food. It took a lot of time and I’m not always there every day. But that was the turning point where things started heading in the right direction.

Counting nutrients allow your body to get the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants it’s cravings.

The nutrients that it’s lacking and the reason it is sending hunger signals all the time in the hope that you’d finally eat these nutrient-dense foods.

The very nutrients that your body needs to function optimally, stop the cravings and naturally reach a weight that is best for you. 

Counting nutrients help me (and can help you):

  • feel strong and awesome,
  • feel comfortable in my skin,
  • don’t get sick more than once a year,
  • have a healthier radiant skin,
  • not feel HANGRY anymore, and
  • finally feel like yourself again.

Ok, I’m convinced! What should I count exactly then?

Does that seem to make sense so far but you aren’t even sure what I’m talking about when I say to count nutrients?

Counting nutrients is NOT a black and white thing. And it is not precise.

Rather, I simply try to make sure that I get a source of each of these key nutrients each day.

The 15 key nutrients you need to start counting NOW!

Here’s a list of 15 of the key nutrients I try to get every day (or most days for some of them). It is NOT an exhaustive list but I know that if I hit these 15 nutrients from food, I’m very likely to get a good balance of all the nutrients my body need.

  1. Protein: grass-fed beef/bison, pastured chicken, wild-caught fish,
    pastured eggs, organic cheese, nuts… (at most meals)
  2. Carbs: fruits (berries, bananas, citrus fruits, melons, apples)
    or starches (sweet potatoes, potatoes, plantains, yucca…)
  3. Healthy fats: grass-fed ghee/butter, avocado, extra-virgin olive oil, grass-fed tallow, pastured lard, coconut oil, coconut milk or butter… (at most meals)
  4. Omega-3s: wild-caught salmon or sardines are my favorite (2-4 times a week)
  5. Folate: liver from grass-fed beef/bison or pastured chicken (weekly)
    and leafy greens (daily)
  6. Choline: egg yolks (daily) and 
    liver from grass-fed beef/bison or pastured chicken (weekly)
  7. Vitamin A & K2: grass-fed ghee/butter or grass-fed tallow (daily) and 
    liver from grass-fed beef/bison or pastured chicken (weekly)
  8. Vitamin B12: quality animal protein – meat, poultry, eggs and fish (daily)
  9. Vitamin C: fresh fruits and vegetables and/or camu camu powder (daily)
  10. Vitamin E: extra-virgin olive oil or avocado (daily)
  11. Iron & zinc: grass-fed beef or bison (daily) and 
    liver from grass-fed beef/bison or pastured chicken (weekly)
    (oysters are also great for zinc)
  12. Collagen: homemade bone broth or hydrolyzed gelatin powder (weekly)
  13. Probiotics: fermented foods like sauekraut and/or kombucha (daily)
  14. Antioxidants: a large variety of vegetables, herbs, spices, fruits and plant foods (I aim for at least 10 different ones a day)
  15. Vitamin D & L: food is not a very good source of vitamin D so I try to get out in the sun for at least 10-15 minutes a day and get some vitamin L (for love!) at the same time by taking a break and spending time playing with my family 🙂 (daily)

What do you think? 
Do you count calories?
Are you ready to try counting nutrients?

Click here to get a pdf of the list of these 15 most important nutrients
you should start counting today (delivered right to your inbox)!

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IMG_2024Your no-nonsense registered dietitian & nutritionist,

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p.s. Please delete all of your calorie-counting apps NOW and share this with your loved ones that might still be stuck counting calories (use the buttons on the left of your screen).