Stop Counting Calories—Practice These 5 Nutritionist-Approved Habits Instead

Alicia Rountree

We pick the brains of models day in and day out, constantly prying into their medicine cabinets and kitchen cupboards in an attempt to uncover their elusive model secrets. In these endeavours, we hear a lot about eating clean and avoiding sugar, but rarely do we hear diet tips from a model who also happens to have her degree in nutritional science. That’s exactly what we found in Alicia Rountree. The Mauritian model (she’s got the island hair and bronzed glow to prove it) is also a certified nutritionist and restaurateur (she has to be able to put her knowledge into practice, right?), and today she’s sharing her secrets with us.

Counting calories is not only one of the toughest, most restrictive ways to diet—it's also the least accurate when it comes to nutrition. The problem with counting calories is that often times products saying "only 100 calories" on the package are overly processed and unhealthy. Meanwhile, natural foods like avocado have a high calorie count, but are rich in necessary nutrients. All calories are not created equal. Counting calories is also stressful and stress creates cortisol which in turn makes you hold onto belly fat. Ready for a better way to eat healthy? Keep reading for tips to keep you on track, without having to crunch numbers.

Eat When You're Hungry

One of the most important things to do is to listen to your body. Try to stay aware of when you're reaching for food out of boredom, rather than hunger. But beware, don't mistake being hungry for dehydration—sometimes all you need is a big glass of water to quench those mid-morning hunger pangs. 

Choose Nutrient-Dense Foods

Stay clear of any processed, packaged foods, refined carbs, and sugar, which are filled with empty calories. For example, a bag of chips—you will eat them, not feel full, and want to reach for more. Instead opt for whole foods that make you feel grounded, like root vegetables and whole grains that will keep you full for longer.

Be Mindful While Eating

Enjoy your food—don't rush through it. That means sitting down and eating at a table. Don't eat while on the go, whether it's while running from one appointment to the other or sitting in a car. It also means chewing your food properly before having another bite, savouring the flavours, and being in tune with how the food is making you feel.

Move Your Body

Having a regular exercise routine will make you more aware of the kind of foods you are putting on your plate. Feeling fitter will automatically help you reach for healthier options. It's much more tempting to reach for that burger and fries because you have been sitting at a desk all week. That doesn't mean having to spend hours at the gym—even regular, brisk walks can make for a vast improvement in how you feel.

Go With Natural Options

Eat foods that taste good to you and are as close to their original state as possible. Eating healthy doesn't mean it has to taste bad—quite the opposite! Once you get your body used to eating nutrient-dense and satisfying foods, that's all your body will crave! Trust me—I am living proof. I would much rather eat a delicious quinoa salad full of veggies and topped with avocado than a greasy pizza any day.

Need some recommendations to start? Keep reading for the ingredients Rountree always keeps stocked in her pantry.

Explore: Health

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