If only it was that easy to learn from Family Guy! Granted, there may be some merit in Brian’s words, and many people would do well to consider this advice, however if there’s one thing that eating primally has taught me, you really need to consider the type of food you are eating as well! The context of calories that you eat plays a huge role in your total body composition.
I heard recently about a workplace where there was a group of women, all overweight, committed to losing weight. Not an unusual story I’m sure. Also not unusual were their daily lunch habits. Maggi 99% fat free noodles, Continental low-fat cup-of-soup, and replacement shakes. By limiting their calories and fat intake and following conventional wisdom, these women thought they were doing the right thing. As you already know, I’m a fan of eating food with as minimal processing as possible, and so regardless of the fat content, these daily lunch choices will almost certainly continue to lead these women down the path to obesity.
These women couldn’t be accused of not putting down the fork! Those meals aren’t exactly large portion sizes. I don’t know about you, but whenever I’ve eaten one of those noodle dishes, I’m looking for more food ½ an hour later! And this is where the next dilemma comes in. These women feel like they’ve eaten a healthy lunch and therefore when Tom’s birthday mud cake comes around for afternoon tea, they don’t feel guilty in helping themselves to a slice. They are still hungry and rationalise that their fat free lunch offsets the copious amounts of fat and sugar in the cake!
This is where conventional wisdom fails. Why restrictive diets don't work. Yes, they may work initially but they are not sustainable. Can you imagine eating 2 minute noodles every day?!? Constantly being hungry and feeling guilty if even an iota of fat touches your mouth?!? Those shake replacement meal diets are the worst! Unless you are prepared to give up your regular meals for the rest of your life, evenutally you are going to have to start eating normal food again, and without strict commitment to eating the 'right' type of food, the weight will pile back on again.
Another poignant observation is that not one of those women was ever seen eating a salad for lunch! Rarely did they touch a piece of fruit. I dare say that they could up their daily food intake, and minimise their hunger in the process, if they swapped their noodles for a BAS (big ass salad!). Mark has an awesome Choose Your Own Salad Adventure post to give you an idea of how you can make amazing lunches on a daily basis. Imagine being able to eat more food but lose weight! Salads have become a highlight of our day, even for my husband who is not really a lettuce man! I've been inventive in using left over roast pork to make a pork & apple waldorf salad (minus the dressing) or left over lamb chops to make a grilled lamb and pumpkin greek salad. Avocado (an amazingly healthy fat) has become a favourite addition, as have many different types of nuts. The possibilities are endless and the food is so much tastier than those bland noodle/soup/frozen meal options!
The great thing about the Primal Blueprint is we’ve stopped counting calories. When the bulk of your food comes from vegetables and fruit you don’t need to! It’s so liberating. After I got over the initial feeling of guilt when eating that full fat yoghurt, or the best bit of the chicken (the skin!), it was really refreshing to not have to keep track of everything that goes into your mouth. Of course, we are still aware and mindful of our eating habits, but with a weekly and daily plan, and careful shopping each week, the process becomes simple.