How To Stop Counting Calories
Stop Revolving Your Life Around Numbers
Why Counting Calories Isn't Worth Your Time
It's something that unifies us all in the realm of the health and fitness world, and typically something we all hate. Counting calories is a well known term that revolves much around every diet out there. Instead of understanding human anatomy and nutrition, we've opted for numbers aka calories.
For many of us, myself included, counting calories was like step 1 in the grand scheme of our healthier lifestyles. I've talked generously about my past and my experience with years of counting calories. I can remember looking at the back of Poptart and cereal boxes and not knowing what anything else meant besides the big number on top. And off course at fifteen years old, who should? I revolved my life around numbers on MyFitnessPal, trying to eat under my RDA of calories (of 1,200) because I thought 'change' would happen even sooner.
I've come across a few articles on Wordpress lately about women who are struggling with breaking the habit and chasing that balanced lifestyle that we all want. There is something about each and every one that brings me back to that place, and my heart feels so heavy. Thats exactly where I was when I first started this blog, I was miserable, I was beyond unhappy, and even more confused, so writing was my outlet. I had the same thoughts and feelings that you all feel, "Why wasn't I seeing results? I thought I was doing everything right?? If she can do it, why can't I?"
It has now been almost two years since I have seriously counted calories, I have gained and lost 25 pounds, I am stronger now than ever, and I have never loved myself so much. The biggest difference? I have learned to listen to my body, eat what my body needs, and enjoy the delicious parts of life.
Step 1: Delete The App
If you are anything like myself, I would feel so guilty if I even miscounted a carrot or celery stick that I had for a snack. When I say I dedicated my life to my calorie apps, I mean I've never been so committed to anything in my life! Every restaurant I went to needed to be have a log or else I would order a side salad, and I counted every crouton and every ounce of low fat dressing that I could. #Dedication #Obsession
The first big, and slightly scary step was deleting the app. And in fact, Chad had to do it for me. Whenever I would go back to school during the week, I would redownload it until he deleted it again on the weekend. It took a few weeks to actually eat something without picking up my phone to log. It was crazy when I actually noticed myself reaching for my phone and realizing there was nothing to type. That was when I started to understand how big of a habit, or obsession this had turned into. But after you do it, eat your delicious food, take a deep breath, and move on.
Step 2: Understand Basic Nutrition
It's not the counting that helps you lose weight; it's the food choices that you make. We all know what is healthy and what is not healthy. If you need an app to tell you whether or not you can have a whole chocolate cake, we have another problem here! If you are eating whole, nutritious foods - you don't need to know numbers and stats. When you go to a restaurant or even plan dinners for the week, you have to use some common sense. Obviously if you skip the boneless chicken wings and go for a buffalo grilled chicken salad instead, you've made a great choice that will play into your favor in the long run.
It's important to be aware of calories, but not obsess or rely on them. If you are eating lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and grains - you don't need to worry about calories. I like to think about it like this, it would take a whole lot of lettuce, apples, and chicken to gain a whole pound (3,500 calories). You would probably get sick before that would even happen. However only a few slices of pizza, poptarts, and ice cream everyday can easily do the trick.
Step 3: The Coming To Peace Moment
It might take weeks, months, or even years before you completely feel comfortable with eating normally, but if you follow the steps above I promise it will eventually happen. One thing that will never go away is subconsciously being aware of calories, and understand that is called being aware, not obsessed. You can't erase the knowledge you have gained while experimenting with healthier eating. You understand what a calorie means, what protein can do for the body, and how important minerals are - which is fantastic!
Listening to your body and eating for your lifestyle is the most important key to coming to peace with your diet. Your body, your metabolism, and your goals might be worlds apart from the girl standing next to you, and thats okay! But that also means that what you eat every single day also needs to be different. When you get in a great workout, you better order yourself some dessert every now and again. You can't deprive yourself, you have to find a sustainable and enjoyable way of eating and the rest will fall into place. If you eat nutritious foods, get a sweat on every now and then, and enjoy your life - I promise numbers will not make it any better.
If you want to change your relationship with food, you have to just do it. Believe that you are capable of going back to your old ways of thinking, before you read that article about carbs being the devil. Find that balance between health and treating yourself every now and again, and stop feeling guilty for enjoying your own life.