Don’t Count Calories, Make the Calories Count

08.10.15 Eat, Learn Blog SumoSalad

We have heard it all when it comes to diets: the cabbage soup diet, the lemon detox diet, the baby food diet, the apple cider vinegar diet, the list goes on. A lot of us know someone who has tried at least one of these, the truth is it’s pretty hard to turn most of these diets into a lifestyle. Who can live off lemon water with cayenne chilli forever? (No, that’s not a challenge!).

People are increasingly moving towards balanced lifestyle focused diets, but what does that mean exactly? The term balance can be hard to depict sometimes given the extreme ends of the spectrum we are seeing from even the healthiest of people: green juice and yoga for breakfast followed by a triple decker burger and 10 beers for dinner sound familiar?

Here is a little advice from Cleo Editor Lizza Gebillagin, who learned how to keep a healthy balanced diet while training for her first ever MMA fight.

Lizza writes:


Would you start the day with a raw egg smoothie? Yuck. Neither would I. I also hate the idea of eating steak for breakfast, lunch and dinner (my arteries feel like they’re shrinking shut just thinking about it), or using raw meat as a punching bag (watch Rocky, it’ll make sense). But this is what I’d imagined a fighter’s relationship to food to be like.

I was so wrong. Hollywood did not teach me well.

Enter Mike Dolce, MMA nutrition coach extraordinaire who happens to work with the biggest UFC fighter in the world, Ronda Rousey. He also helped me during my training. He’s got this great saying, “Don’t count calories, make calories count.” I love it because in my industry, I’ve seen the opposite: women who unhealthily obsess over what they ate, limiting their portion sizes to the extreme. Or worse, lethargic and irritable as they starved themselves on a ridiculous juice detox.

Dolce is all about eating whole foods, organic meats and vegetables, and slow-releasing carbs. The nutrients from these will not only give you more energy, but will help you tone down more effectively than purely focusing on calorie consumption. Eat every two to three hours, and stop when you’re around 80 per cent full. Eating like this got my body fat percentage down to 15.4 per cent – the level of a professional athlete.

The cool thing is that when you’re eating whole foods most of the time, and training regularly, then you shouldn’t feel guilty at all when you indulge. As Dolce says, “It’s not a cheat meal, because you’ve earned it!”

Lizza Gebilagin is the deputy editor of CLEO magazine. Watch her face her fears in the Fight Like A Girl documentary series.

UFC Athlete Richie Vas is in one of the toughest sports in the world. Individual sports mean you are responsible for your own success. Here Richie tells us about the importance of nutrition in the UFC.

POSTED BY: Lizza Gebilagin

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