#83 Should I count calories?
Should I be counting calories?
Firstly, what is a calorie?
Are Calories Tiny Creatures That Live In Your Wardrobe And Shrink Your Clothes? 🤣🤣
A calorie actually has nothing to do with food. It is a unit to measure the energy required to heat water by one degree.
However, as an ex- eating disorder girl, I pretty much know the calories as applied to every food ever known to womankind.
In fact, it is my superpower.
Did this knowledge help me with my relationship with food?
Has it helped me to keep my weight off over the years?
Has it helped my mental state?
From the age of 12 until well into my 50's I was either in a pattern of disordered eating or in the clutches of an eating disorder, the line between the two is a very fine one.
I deliberately underate and binged and purged my way through my 20's and early 30's and then again in my early 40's. I obsessively counted calories, weighed myself 8 or 9 times a day, threw up and overexercised.
The thing was I let counting calories completely take over my brain with little room for anything else.
I thought that I was fat, ugly and useless. A total failure. And that the only thing that would fix it was weighing a certain amount. And the only way of weighing that certain amount was to control calories in and calories out.
This tactic didn't work.
What has worked is the work that I have done on my brain. I had to decide to like myself as I am. I had to stop eating to avoid myself, to squash down emotion. I had to relearn what true physical hunger felt like as opposed to an urge to eat.
This work has helped me more than counting calories. Now I eat when I am hungry and I can actually stop before I am full. I have found out how to switch off my inner Labrador. I fuel my body and my exercise with real food, without counting anything.
I plan my food ahead of time on paper (although I admit to occasionally running it through my fitness pal and I do still weigh myself daily and track it overtime on my fitness pal). But these are now just the facts - no emotional chatter involved.
I never obsessively count calories or track macros so I never have to punish myself for not staying within a certain number.
Now obviously as we said last week if you eat 2,000 calories of broccoli you will get a different outcome from eating 2,000 calories of Cookies and Cream Icecream. This is where the macros come in.
When I was bodybuilding I counted macros but when I applied this to clients I would see them getting into the same shitty diet mentality and obsessive eating patterns as me - that are NEVER sustainable. And of course, when you give up you feel like you have failed... again.
So girls lets not count our food- at all.
Let's consume real whole foods and eliminate the processed non-foods from our diets. When we eat in a natural way we can start to trust our brain and our body to tell us how much to eat and when.
Our hormones and the pleasure centre of our brain can readjust and stop reacting to our food as if it was a class A drug!
This is incidentally what many food manufactures rely on.
Eating in this way coupled with doing the mind work you will find your natural state and therefore your natural weight. And it is easy!
Yes, I teach my students how to read food panels and compare foods and make informed choices when they need to. Nutrition panels, as we said last week, ridiculously, only have to be accurate to within 20%!
But most of what I choose to eat doesn't come with packaging.
Is ultra-processed packaged food hard to give up?
Even bloody rice cakes!
My advice is to learn about nutrition. Get an idea of how to fuel your one very precious body (which you also need to learn to love because hell it is just doing its job).
Learn to eat intentionally with love and self-care at the front of your mind (no a doughnut is not self-care it causes an inflammatory response like a poison-sorry). And then tweak your choices and portion sizes to get the results that you are after.
When I was a macro counter I scoffed at eating intuitively and told my students that I could never eat like that, I would be 100kg, because I had no off switch. But now that I have done the mind work and taken out the processed foods... I actually can!
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