General Health & Well-beingHealth & NutritionWomen's Health

If you count calories and cut fat, you’re going to get fat!



If you count calories and cut fat, you’re going to get fat!

Yes, you heard me right.

What you learned from conventional dieting programs could be the reason you’re stuck in the hamster wheel of yo-yo dieting and still hanging onto those last 8 kilos… while suffering a rabbit diet.

Before we look at the science behind it… does this sound familiar:

Maybe you just had a baby. Maybe you haven’t been watching your health for any number of reasons.

One day you looked down at your muffin top and see an extra 8 or 10 kilos. You realize you no longer fit into those favorite jeans. You feel that extra weight literally weighing you down and it has become a chore to join your friends for a workout, or run around with your kids.

You look for a way to lose weight – if you’re anything like me, you’re a go-getter in other areas of your life so it’s no different when it comes to your health.

Maybe you looked up some diet books, or asked Google. Maybe you went to a nutritionist.

You came home with a meal plan that consisted of 1 cup of bran flakes with 1 cup of skimmed milk for breakfast; 1 palm-size piece of grilled chicken with a green salad for lunch; 1 piece of brown toast with 1 piece of low fat cheese or 2 TBS of tuna for dinner.

That’s what happened to me, after I had my first daughter and was struggling with the last 8 kilos.

Sure, I lost some weight – who wouldn’t if you live on a 1,000 calorie diet??!

But I felt trapped, wondering if I had been relegated to diet hell and had to stick with this bland and unsatisfying food plan for the rest of my life.

I was starving. I could only think about food all day. I had no energy to do anything. I lost focus. I had mood issues.

I was fearful that if I added just one little thing to my meal, the balance would tip and the 8 kilos I had sacrificed so much to lose would creep back in.

Then we went on vacation. I snapped. I found myself eating non-stop, ravenously.

Psychologically, I was eating for “revenge.” Part of me was screaming – don’t tell me what to do!

Physiologically, my body hit the breaking point. The 1,000-calorie diet with too little quantity, too little nutrients and too little fat was simply unsustainable.

I knew it had to stop.

I looked for another way to bring my body back to balance by eating more nutrient-dense food, and that included fat.

Yes, FAT. The 3-letter word for dieters.

I was scared at first. 1 gram of fat has double the calories as 1 gram of carbs or protein. I was worried that I’d gain back the 8 kilos, and more.

But then, something unexpected happened.

I had more energy. I was able to focus. My mood improved. I no longer spent my day thinking and measuring food. And my weight DID NOT creep back in.

In fact, I’ve been able to stay at my happy weight since because I’m not at war with food anymore.

What’s the deal with FAT?

Our bodies are made for eating not starving. We eat to fuel up our cells so they have energy to keep doing their job of keeping us alive and well. They need carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and water.

You see, fat is an essential nutrient:

Fat provides energy. If you follow a low-fat diet and stuff your face with carbs, your body gets lazy with burning the “easy fuel.” You’ll feel hungry soon after you eat, and you want to eat more carbs because without fat in your diet, your body has lost its ability to burn your fat storage as fuel.

That means if you don’t include fat in your diet, your body won’t be burning off its stored fat – not a good idea if you’re trying to lose weight!

Fat helps the body absorb important fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, E, and K. Without fat, your body won’t be able to utilize these nutrients properly even if they are present in your diet or supplements. If your body doesn’t get enough of these vitamins in the long run, it could result in a slew of health issues.

If you count calories and cut fat, you’re going to get fat!

Fat helps make and regulate hormones needed for bodily processes. Without fat, you could run into health challenges caused by hormonal imbalance. Some of these hormones are related to metabolism, and the imbalance could lead to weight gain.

Fat is essential in the proper functioning of brain and nerve functions.

Here’s the catch: you have to do fat RIGHT…

This is not a free pass to indulge in cookies and cakes!

You have to eat the right (good) fat for it to be beneficial to your body.

Your cells need fats they can recognize; your body wants fats that come from pure animal or plant sources, not ones created in labs and manufactured in factories.

When your cells get the fats they recognize, they are able to process and utilize them properly.

Good sources of fats include olive oil, avocados, butter, ghee, coconut oil, flax oil, sesame oil. You don’t need trans fats, hydrogenated fats or artificial fats found in almost all processed and packaged foods.

Like I mentioned, adding fat back into your diet can be a scary thing for us “dieters” who have been taught to count every single calorie.

I invite you to start with adding just a little bit of fat into your diet. If you see no change in your weight, energy, focus or mood, feel free to get back to those torturous 1,000-calorie diets:

1. Cut up half an avocado and toss it into your salad
2. Sauté your veggies in 1 TBS of grass-fed butter or coconut oil
3. Eat the whole egg—yes, egg yolks and all, not just the egg whites.


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Dana Dinnawi

Dana Dinnawi is an Integrative Nutrition health coach specializing in empowering women to improve their health and family life. She received her training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where she studied more than one hundred dietary theories and a variety of practical lifestyle coaching methods. She can be reached through her website and Facebook page.

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