Another concept that is often helpful as a guide to improving the quality of your diet is to consider the ratio of thermostat lowering, nutrient dense calories that you consume versus those that come from thermostat raising, processed, calorie dense foods. I refer to this as your “CaloRatio.” I use it as a guide to offer a numerical measurements of the quality of your diet. I’ve release a free smartphone app (called CaloRatio) and website (www.caloratio.com) that I use with my patients to help them measure the quality of the calories they consume.
Long ago, we separated healthy eating from eating for weight loss. This change in perspective single handedly launched the diet industry and jumpstarted the obesity epidemic. If we hope to make any progress in losing weight permanently, it is critical that we reunite the concepts of eating for health and eating for weight loss.
By counting the ratio of good calories to bad calories, rather than focusing on the total number of calories, we de-emphasize portion control and instead, focus on helping the dieter improve the quality of the food they consume. As you work to maximize your CaloRatio for the day, you will find that you respond differently to those inevitable moments that you find yourself powerless to resist the draw of an unhealthy food choice. The typical calorie counter’s response to a “cheat meal” is to skip the next meal in order to ensure that your total calorie count for the day does not rise any further. Unfortunately, this is perhaps the worst reaction since it triggers your body to enter starvation mode and store that chocolate chip cookie rather than burn it. When eating to optimize your CaloRatio, eating chocolate chip cookies or other calorie dense foods can only be countered by consuming a large amount of nutrient dense, thermostat lowering food like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and beans.
As we’ll discuss in more detail later, postoperative weight loss surgery patients thrive on a high CaloRatio diet. Weight Loss Surgery causes an immediate lowering of your set point putting you on the overfed side of the spectrum. When your physiology is working to burn off your excess fat stores to bring your body weight down to your newly lowered set point, you will crave fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, and yogurt. You’ll have no taste for the processed fare that most of us craved before surgery. It’s critical for postoperative patients to harness this redirection of your taste preferences that the surgery causes by creating new habits and new personal philosophies about food. Your ability to do this successfully over the first 1-2 years after surgery is one of the most important factors that will contribute to your long term postoperative success.