In recent years calories have made their way to the forefront of discussions in the world of nutrition. 'Calorie deficits', 'surplus' and 'maintenance calories' are terms banded around a lot. Now before we go any further it's important to say that regardless of your beliefs, even if you don't count your calories, calories still count and do matter. Having a good understanding of how much energy is in the foods we eat is a really important starting point for getting to grips with your nutrition.

MyFitnessPal, the app of choice for most tracking their calories.

But longer term counting calories and living out of a Tuppa-ware isn't necessarily for everyone (and not always the nicest for your housemates/partner to deal with your stinky, unwashed lunch box!). And that's where the idea of the inclusive diet came from. I love my sweet treats, my pastries, my ice creams, my bagels smothered in peanut butter… I digress! But I also love fresh produce, delicious seasonal fruits and vegetables, sustainable meat and all the other healthy foods in between. So many people focus on excluding the sweet treats, channeling their will-power into every last effort not to consume that chocolate bar, that in the end it drives them insane and they end up on a 4 day Jammie dodger binge, waking up in an East London park not quite sure where they've been or what they've been doing.

Mid 4 day eating binge

Instead with inclusive eating you focus on including as much of the good, healthy stuff (think all the colours of the rainbow of fruits and veg, nuts and seeds, good quality meats, loads of herbs and spices) that naturally you'll be eating healthier foods which tend to be less calorie dense. You'll also most likely be fuller from increasing your protein and fibre intake and therefore naturally eat less of the processed, calorie rich foods that are easy to over-consume. This is one way of potentially creating a calorie deficit without having to count a single calorie. That's not to say the sweet stuff is off the menu, enjoy them for what they are, but it's just shifting your mindset to a more positive one of "What can I include that is healthy at every single meal" rather than a negative one of "What do I need to cut out in order to stay healthy". This is a nice way to be more mindful of what you are eating & and a natural way to do so.

We just bloody love peppers and avocados.

I should add though that this is just my opinion and also a concept that probably suits someone who already has quite a good grip on nutrition, has perhaps counted calories in the past so has an idea of the rough amount of food they need on a daily basis and is also just eating for general health and to stay in shape. If you are new to trying to lose weight, or haven't had much success in the past, then counting calories is still king in my eyes. Inclusive eating is a nice alternative for those a bit more experienced that want to just live a little healthier, in a 'focus on the good, rather than the bad' kind of way.

Author MobFit

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