How to Eat Well (And Still Lose Weight)

It's not about how many calories you eat - it's about what kind of calories you eat.

How to Eat Well (And Still Lose Weight)
Photo by i yunmai / Unsplash

For ages we’ve been taught that in order to lose weight we just need to reduce our calories and work out more. That all sounds good and seems to make sense but we’ve been misled and that’s not how it works. And I can tell you from my personal experience that it doesn’t work.

When I was growing up I never had to worry about my weight. I was always very thin and in great shape. After I had kids everything changed. I gained a good amount of weight with both of my pregnancies and I was never able to lose it all. As we age we also tend to add a little bit here and there too and since I’m getting older that didn’t help.

Talk about discouraging!

I’ve never been a fan of fad diets so I hadn’t tried many of those but I have always tried to limit my calories and get in a good workout. I mean, after all, we’ve always been taught the calories in/calories out mantra right? Eat less and move more. But it just wasn’t working. I tried SO hard and nothing made a difference. A few years ago, I found myself weighing more than I ever had (without being pregnant that is) and I knew something had to change.

By diving into some research and learning more about nutrition I learned some shocking information! It went against everything we’ve been taught for the last 40-50 years or more. Calories in/calories out doesn’t work. It might work temporarily but it’s not sustainable long term and therefore not a good lifestyle choice. (I could write a whole post about the science behind this but we’ll save that for another day.)

The over simplification of it is - by reducing your calories, you’re making your body think that it’s going to be deprived of the fuel it needs. As a result, it’s going to slow down your metabolism in order to preserve energy. And by “preserving energy” that means fat is going to be stored on your body.

“Recent research has shown that when you lose 10 percent of your body weight on a conventional diet, your metabolism slows. In fact, the number of calories you burn during the day can drop by 30 to 40 percent—an amount that’s enough to completely undermine your efforts to maintain your new weight. And your metabolism may not rebound for years. In order to keep the weight off, you have to eat even less, a long-term challenge that, for most people, is unachievable. – Dr. Josh Axe in The Keto Diet

So what can we do about this? Choose a nutritional lifestyle that gives you the nutrients you need but meets the macro levels you should have and doesn’t make you starve yourself.

For us, that was the keto diet. As of July 2019 James and I started a keto lifestyle and it’s been life changing. Not only have we been able to lose a considerable amount of weight - both around 40 pounds - we’ve become much healthier too. And we’ve never gone hungry. We aren’t counting calories, we aren’t trying to eat less and move more…we’re just eating healthy food.

With the keto diet, we eat very low carbs (we try to stay under 20g a day), moderate protein, and plenty of healthy fats each day. The typical keto macros are 5% carbs, 20% protein, and 75% healthy fats. By eating good quality food and making sure it’s the proper balance of macros, we eat the right amount of calories for our bodies (without having to count them I might add) and our bodies continue running properly with good metabolism.

We feel full faster when we’re eating quality food and not empty carbs. Fats are more filling and we’re less likely to overeat when eating this type of balanced meal.

But isn’t keto just eating a lot of bacon and butter?

People that haven’t really looked into keto and haven’t researched it often think it’s all about eating meat – specifically bacon. It’s not.

Yes, we eat meat and we do eat bacon but that’s not what our meals all consist of. It’s also important to note that you can eat keto while being vegetarian or vegan. So it’s not all about meat. It’s about getting a healthy balance of fats and protein while keeping carbs at a minimum.

The carbs we do eat come from vegetables, leafy greens, and even some berries. Not from starchy, sugary foods that have no nutritional value. When you choose to feed your body with moderate protein (which means don’t just eat a ton of meat), a good amount of healthy fats, and plenty of low-carb vegetables and salads, you end up losing weight and getting your body in a very healthy state.

One great aspect about keto is weight loss, but that’s really just a bonus!

If you’re sticking to a keto lifestyle you’re improving your health and adding years to your life. You’ll be improving your brain health, heart health, and just overall body health. You’ll reduce the chances of getting diseases that plague our country today and you will increase your quality of life because you feel amazing.

So if you want to start it for weight loss like we did – that’s great! Hopefully you’ll find even more value once you get started and you’ll understand how important this is to use for a lifetime.

Whatever diet/lifestyle you decide for yourself, I hope you’ll do yourself a favor and really educate yourself. Don’t just take my word for things and don’t just read one article or book and decide it’s 100% truth - find books to read, look at studies that have been done, and try things with your own diet to see how your body responds.

As I already mentioned, when we decided to start the keto lifestyle, I went all in and started educating myself like crazy. I found a lot of good books about nutrition, the keto lifestyle, and overall health. By reading lots of books by lots of different doctors and scientists and by checking out different studies that show how all this works with our bodies, I learned SO much.

I encourage you to do the same and I hope you find health and happiness through this like we did! :)