I lost 35 pounds after I stopped overeating "healthy" foods and started eating what I wanted in moderation

I lost 35 pounds after I stopped overeating “healthy” foods and started eating what I wanted in moderation

  • I used to think foods were “good” or “bad” and tried to cut out gluten, dairy, refined carbs, and sugar.
  • I gained weight while eating a lot of “healthy” foods that are rich in calories. This diet led me to overeat, too.
  • I didn’t lose weight until I realized that overall energy balance is what matters for weight management.

Since I was a teenager, I have been interested in nutrition. I always tried to eat “healthy” food and followed different fad diets, from cabbage soup to 5:2.

In my early twenties, the “clean eating” movement peaked and I got involved. Skinny, white women told me I should cut out gluten, dairy, sugar, refined carbs, and anything “unnatural” from my diet in order to be healthy, valuable, and lose weight. So I did, despite not having any food allergies.

I didn’t stick to this strict regime for more than a few months, but it made me see foods as “good” and “bad,” a common misconception, nutritionists previously told Insider.

When I broke that mindset nearly four years ago, I stopped denigrating foods, and started eating all kinds of foods while I was calorie-deficient, I lost 35 pounds and have kept them since.

I used to glorify expensive ‘healthy foods’

For years, I thought that if I were eating foods I was told were healthy — like “zoodles” (zucchini spirals) instead of spaghetti and Medjool dates stuffed with almond butter — I’d make good, healthy choices.

I paid for the expensive quinoa instead of the cheap rice. I cooked with coconut oil instead of butter, and didn’t know the former was high in saturated fat. I hadn’t eaten granola for years because I thought it was too sugary, and I made my own version with nuts, seeds, and agave syrup – which was more calories and less delicious.

My weight was swinging during my mid-20s, but I thought if I could just stick to “good” foods, I’d lose weight and look like the glowing women on Instagram.

A post shared by Rachel Hosie (@rachel_hosie)

But what I now see as a restrictive diet was impossible to stick to and left me feeling deprived. When I go out, I overeat on energy-dense foods like french fries, pizza, and burgers.

Then the next day, he’s back for avocado and chickpea salad, sugar-free sweet potato fries, and raw vegan energy balls—with a side of guilt.

However, I didn’t realize that these “healthy” foods are often incredibly caloric, which means that, along with my fun social life, I gradually gained weight.

A better approach to calorie counting has improved my relationship with food

At the end of 2018, I got a wake-up call when I was shocked by the number I saw on the scale. It’s time to take action and try something different: count calories.

Calorie counting can be a problem for some. When I first tried it as a teenager, I became obsessed, so I was hesitant to try again. But a decade later, I was wiser and more self-aware.

I have found that it improves my relationship with food. I learned that there is nothing in any food that causes obesity, and this helped me feel more comfortable eating foods I previously avoided, such as bread. Over time, the fat was also lost.

I realized I was regularly overeating, and I knew it was because I still partially saw foods as ‘good’ and ‘bad’.

Unstructured calorie counting (and protein tracking), while incorporating all foods into my diet in moderation, helped me learn that you can eat anything and still lose weight.

A post shared by Rachel Hosie (@rachel_hosie)

Whole foods, protein and fiber in general make you feel fuller than refined, sugary and processed foods and are more nutritious. For example, a 300-calorie serving of chicken, brown rice, and broccoli would be more satisfying than a 300-calorie donut. But we gain fat when we consume more energy than we need.

I now know that the often diabolical carbs are excellent fuel for exercise, dairy is a great source of protein, and most importantly, pasta, pizza, and cheese are just too delicious to enjoy.

My mind didn’t change overnight

Spending six months at home with my parents and sister during the onset of the coronavirus pandemic helped me a lot in changing the way I think. For example, I thought carbs were fattening but my family ate higher carb meals than I cooked for myself, and I’m still losing weight.

In the early years of my career, I remember seeing a health editor eating a biscuit and thinking, “What kind of health expert eats a biscuit?”

I now know that she was indeed the expert, and I had a lot to learn.

I still eat quinoa, dates, and salads occasionally, but not because I think they are “better” than anything else. Because I want to.

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