So many people buy into the vicious lifestyle of counting calories. Why do we do it?
We are told calories in have to equal calories out or we will gain weight. That is true. However, we never really know how many calories we eat. We never know for sure how many calories are in our food. Plus, each of us digest and synthesize our food differently.
I bought into this whenever I was training for my half marathon. I had to eat so many calories, so much protein, etc. It came to the point that if I didn’t “count” I would get irritable. It started to consume me. Thankfully, I have a very supportive husband who loves me enough to confront me when I need to be confronted. It didn’t take long before I realized that I was in bondage.
It is much more freeing to listen to your body and eat when it tells you to eat. We think that we have eaten our “calorie allotment” for the day, so even though we are hungry, we do not eat. What we are doing is starving our bodies, if we are in fact hungry. This puts our bodies in starvation mode and it begins to store all the nutrients we eat as fat in case you decide to starve it again.
Not exactly what we are going for right??
Another lie we buy into is “health” foods. These low-fat, low-calorie foods. They seem great, a dieters dream! However, they are stripped of their nutrients. So, you might have had that 100 calorie snack pack filled with words you can’t pronounce and high frutose corn syrup, but your body is still hungry and sluggish. Why? You didn’t give it anything to fuel itself. Instead, eat real, whole foods.
Some rules that I live by now:
- Don’t be afraid of healthy fats- your body and brain need them to function. Eat carbs. Your brain uses them for immediate energy. Eat lots of colors.
- Don’t be afraid of nutrient dense foods if they are whole foods. Example: avocados
- Don’t worry with what the nutrition label says. For example, my bread says for 2 slices of bread it is 57 grams and 120 kcal. I did an experiment. I weighed one slice of bread. It was much more than 28.5 grams! That means it is more that 60 kcal. Who cares??
- Listen to your body. Sometimes you need more calories than you think. You might be fighting off an infection, your body might be trying to heal itself, or ladies- during that time of the month, your bodies need more calories. :)
How do I know if I am really hungry or just “have the munchies”? I go through this every night. I ALWAYS want cereal at night, but I’m not always hungry. The way I gauge if I am truly hungry is I ask myself if I want carrots or an apple or something else healthy. If the answer is yes, then I get something. If not, I usually eat the cereal anyway, but I try to listen to my body!
As long as you are honoring your body and eating whole foods, don’t worry about it. If you go on vacation and you gain a few pounds, who cares? You had a great vacation. If you go out to eat with friends and over indulge. So what? You spent quality time with friends.
Relax. Let your body do what it was designed to do. How do you get over counting calories? Remind your self that you are worth more and your time is more valuable than worrying about how many calories are in your food. It’s a mystery anyway. Over time, you will begin to not count. It is difficult at first, but don’t get discouraged.
If you are fueling your body with healthy, whole foods, just think of it as giving your body a present. You are giving your body the fuel and equipment it needs to keep you strong and vibrant.
Do any of you struggle with counting calories or not eating certain foods because they might be too fattening or calorie dense??
Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that I am not a dietician or a medical doctor. Check with your physician before making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.