Well today has been a long one and it’s only 3:30pm! I awoke at the irrational hour of 5am and taught a Body Step class, then treated my bf to a cappuccino on the way home (best gf ever? Yes!). I then had brekky (the usual) and headed to the gym for a Fitbox class and some much needed Body Balance. I really enjoyed both classes today and it felt great to relax and rewind in Balance. Which brings me to the topic of today’s post- as I was in relaxation time (at the end of class) my mind stumbled across calorie counting and the memories of being obsessed with calories. Might I add, this is a tut tut on relaxation/meditation rules but hey everyone’s minds go off on a tangent sometimes don’t they?
So let’s go back in time a bit.. (did anyone else think of Pitbull’s song when I said that?)
Calorie counting began as something innocent for monitoring purposes as I lost weight. I probably did it for 18 months or so, but to be honest I can’t even remember the exact time. During that time things took a turn for the worse and I got OBSESSED. Not in a good way…I had to know the calories of everything I ate, I hated only eating a portion of something and not knowing what the calories would be because I didn’t eat the whole thing (this included sharing with others), I hated having a meal out where the calories weren’t provided, I also started to weigh my food and freak out on whether the calorie counts included the skins of bananas/apples etc. It got so bad that it made me feel terrible all the time and mentally drained (I was constantly debating everything I did, everyday, all the time). It also nearly ended the best thing that has happened to me thus far. After realising I can no longer live like this and neither can anyone else around me mind you, I tried to ease up and relax about it a little. This did help but it was not enough- I needed to completely let go. And I did and have.
I don’t count calories or log them into a website anymore. However, I am pretty knowledgeable in calorie counts of food items so I am aware of what I am eating but I try not to tally it up for the day- which most days I succeed at. For a while I completely stopped looking at the back of packages but now I’ve started to look again- BUT I make sure that the calorie counts do not dictate what I want to eat or whether or not I eat it. I look at the back of food packages more for the ingredients list, protein and sugar but as always my eyes do skim the calorie/energy row. It’s definitely not something I freak out about- because if you’ve read any of my posts you know I am the number one fan of natural peanut butter- in other words the most delicious thing that happens to be sky high in calories.
Now picture a slightly older, bigger female..and you have me!
Whilst calorie counting is informative and useful it took over my life and was not a healthy thing for me to do- and is not good for many people to do. I do not regret it at all and it’s just one step closer for me in overcoming those food demons. I strongly advise anyone who is considering it or is battling an ED or has food issues to STOP, GO COLD TURKEY. It will be difficult at the beginning and for me it was a huge struggle as I had religiously logged my food online for so long…but I promise it gets easier!
It has changed my life. I spend less time obsessing about food, more time enjoying the food, and dining out occasions are no longer the end of the world. But don’t get me wrong- calorie counting is not the devil. It’s what we do with it that turns it evil. It can be a great tool in weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight- but it is for some people (particularly perfectionists, people with obsessive/addictive personalities, people with self esteem, confidence, body image, insecurity issues etc) an unhealthy addiction and something that just adds fuel to the fire of eating disorders.
I also want to share something important I’ve learnt and I feel is essential to keep in mind- Food is not evaluated based on calorie counts: The nutritional value of chemical packed, artificially sweetened, processed and low calorie food is not greater than that of a food with higher calories. If anything it is generally worse nutritionally for you (with the exception of low calorie wholegrains, fruits & vegies etc of course!).
If you ever need an ear, help or advice about stopping calorie counting please do not think twice about contacting me. I’d love to be of service.
Are you a calorie counter? Or perhaps you count another nutritional element- protein/sodium/fat etc?