Thanks for popping by Glow Nutritional Consulting!
I’m Nathalie, a Holistic Nutritionist and I help women lose weight, get energized and feel fab so they can start doing the things in their hearts. I came from total exhaustion, depletion and not loving the bod I was in, to taking my health into my own hands and getting myself naturally energized with food, supplements, superfoods and mindset looooove. Now I help women do the same so they can feel amazing, have passion for their days and have a lot more fun in their lives.
I wanted to write this blog post for you because I see a LOTTA women calorie-counting in an effort to restrict food to lose weight; women who use MyFitnessPal to track their food, and I wanted to address how I’d set up MyFitnessPal as a Holistic Nutritionist and what I’d track and pay attention to instead of calories, to lose weight.
Is calorie-counting bad if you’re trying to lose weight?
Yes, I do think so. And here’s why.
When you calorie-count, you’re not focusing on food QUALITY. You’re looking at strictly at a number connected to the food.
Which means, and I see it all too often, some women get SO wrapped up in the calorie number, they’ll choose crappy, boxed, refined foods (that mess with hormones and create weight gain) over really nutrient-dense foods that support your body to lose weight easily.
Now, that said, some women intuitively or naturally lose weight through calorie-counting because they focus on fruits and veggies, and notice their calories are low, and load up on them as foods.
BUT, this is unfortunately:
- Not the norm that I see on a daily basis, and
- More about the eating fruits and veggies than the actual calorie-counting to lose weight
So, how will setting up MyFitnessPal properly help you lose weight?
What I’m about to give you is DIFFERENT numbers to focus on.
I know, mindset-wise it’s hard to drop calorie-counting forever, especially if you’ve been doing it for a long time in an effort to lose weight.
But, if you swap your focus from one area of counting to a healthier gauge (but still keep the counting you’re used to), you’ll be able to lose weight naturally, more effectively, and even better than that, you’ll be able to gain health.
What should I change in MyFitnessPal to lose weight?
Jump into the app on your computer. Hit ‘Settings’ and jump into ‘Diary Settings’.
At the top of this screen, you’ve got the option to set up your quick shot; the nutrients you’ll see in the snapshot of your day. Change these from their defaults into the nutrients I mention below, and you’ll be eating in a way that will help you lose weight.
Here’s how to set up MyFitnessPal to lose weight.
Click on the drop-down boxes to select the nutrients below, and learn WHY they’re so important to lose weight, so that you’re inspired to keep focused on them.
1. Select Fiber to Lose Weight:
Spot number one HAS to be fiber if you’re looking to lose weight. It gives you SUCH a fabulous number to focus on each and every day, and getting enough fiber in during your day can definitely help you lose weight.
So, from today forward, without the help of fiber supplements or fiber bars, aim to hit between 25 grams and 35 grams of fiber.
Not only will this help your blood sugar levels (and imbalanced blood sugar levels are connected to extra weight in that muffin top area), but it will help you feel satiated at more realistic times (have you ever eaten and eaten and eaten and not felt full? Chances are you weren’t eating anything very fiber-rich).
Raspberries, ground flax or chia seeds (great in smoothies or chia puddings), dates and leafy greens (like kale, spinach, arugula and collards) are all amazing sources of fiber to help you reach your new daily fiber goal. Just watch out with homemade recipes on myfitnesspal – occasionally the fiber counts are WAY off. If it seems too good to be true (ie: if you’ve hit WAY over your goal and you haven’t changed how you normally eat), it probably is.
2. Lose Weight with Polyunsaturated Fats:
For the second nutrient inside MyFitnessPal (Settings > Diary Settings), choose ‘Polyunsaturated Fats’ to lose weight.
It’s important to note that where you get these fats is just as important as getting them in.
Some polyunsaturated fats will help you GAIN weight, while others will help you LOSE weight, naturally. This is another reason why I think calorie-counting can get super frustrating, because the claims for it mislead you into thinking, “all I have to do is restrict myself and then I’ll lose weight”.
But if you’re restricting yourself with the wrong foods, you won’t lose weight, and you’ll get really depleted thinking your body just hates you.
(I promise, your body DOESN’T hate you!)
When you’re trying to boost your metabolism, aiming to hit 12-18 grams of polyunsaturated fats from flax seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds and their oils (cold-pressed, organic!) will help you lose weight naturally.
But hitting the same numbers from deep fryer fats, poor quality cooking oils (anything bright yellow is a give-away – don’t consume it!) and other fried foods will, even if you hit great numbers of polyunsaturated fats, not help you lose weight.
So get in the good ones!
3. Get Enough Iron in to Lose Weight!
Chances are that if you’re trying to lose weight, you’re working your butt off at the gym, or at least TRYING to motivate yourself to workout.
Now, if you’re not getting in enough iron, you’re going to be exhausted, feel totally unmotivated, get out of breath REALLY quickly while you’re working out, and you’ll probably feel pretty darn moody, too.
And none of those help you lose weight.
So while this tip and number to watch in MyFitnessPal is more about energy-boosting, I know it still has a big place in your ability to lose weight naturally, because if you’re too exhausted to grocery shop, cook healthy meals, and workout, you won’t lose weight.
And what I find is that when women boost up their energy levels naturally, they suddenly stop coming straight home and hopping on the couch first thing. They start enjoying their days. And they feel like they have more time to cook nutritious meals for themselves and their families.
And you just can’t have low iron levels and high energy (no matter how much you try to force, push, restrict, or motivate yourself).
So aim to get in between 18-25 mg of food-based iron each and every day. Chickpeas, steamed spinach and lentils are FABULOUS sources, and squeezing a little lemon juice (FRESH!) on them will add to your ability to absorb that iron – bonus!
4. Don’t Forget Protein to Lose Weight:
The fourth nutrient I want you to select and monitor is protein.
Now, as an adult woman, you want to hit around 50 grams per day of protein, which isn’t hard to do. If you’re nursing or pregnant, you want to get 71 grams in on the daily, and if you’re working out hard, building muscle or marathon training (anything super-intensive), you’re going to want to hit higher amounts.
If you’re eating meat, eggs or dairy, chances are you’re already hitting these numbers without thinking.
But what I see in a lot of women’s diets is that they’ll go all morning on a fruit smoothie that isn’t loaded enough to fill anyone up, then have a super-restricted salad for lunch, and eat very little to no protein until dinner, when there’s a high-protein gorge-fest.
This style of eating isn’t supportive of your body, especially when you’re expecting it to keep up with all of the things you’ve got to do!
So what I love seeing is that women are having some kind of plant-based protein powder in their smoothies (plus a great fat from above!), then having some kind of granola bar with quinoa crisps or puffs, then a lentil salad for lunch, and so on, eating consistent, snackable portions of nutrient-dense (but low weight gain) protein sources, to fuel their bodies to lose weight in a supported, energizing way.
5. Focus on Potassium to Lose Weight:
I love this one, because it’s so darn weird. BUT! There is logic here:
If you’re getting in enough potassium on the daily, looking at 4700 mg for adult women, and 5100 for nursing or pregnant women, you’re eating enough fruits and veggies.
And when you’re eating a great amount of fruits and veggies – my GOSH are you going to lose weight!
So start loading in potassium-rich snacks into your day, and a few extra veggies onto each of your plates (or to-go containers, as it may well be) and you’ll be all set up to lose weight naturally.
Beet greens, lima beans and swiss chard are some amazing foods packed full of potassium to help you lose weight.
To make this work on mobile, hit ‘goals’ in the main menu, and input the numbers above as goals (iron ~ 120%). Then add your food in as normal, and hit ‘nutrition’ at the bottom of your diary to creep how you’re doing. On the top of that page, click ‘nutrition’ instead of ‘calories’ and scroll through to see how you’re doing for your goals.
When you load in these nutrients, focus on their numbers instead of calories, and keep accountable through tracking what you eat on the daily, you’ll find yourself starting to lose weight.
But more than just your ability to lose weight, you’ll gain energy, start to feel balanced, and you’ll learn that your body actually has adored you all this time. You just needed to fuel it for your goals.
What number are you going to start focusing on? Let me know in the comments below, or in my private Facebook Group, The Glow Doers (join us now!).
Need help putting all this together?
Here’s a video from Periscope to help you lose weight. I’ll walk you through my step-by-step process for setting up MyFitnessPal for weight loss. It’s was filmed live, so it’s a little on the casual side, but helpful none-the-less. 🙂 Press play now:
Happy health, happy eating, happy naturally losing weight.
And you DESERVE the health you want.
Xo, Nathalie from Glow