Since I work out so much, I often get asked what I think about counting macros, calories or keeping a food log. First things first, I just want to put out that if you do count macros, calories or keep a food log, I’m not here to condone your lifestyle habits or to say that what you’re doing is wrong or won’t work. I’m simply here to share my experience & my two cents on why those habits don’t work for me.
To answer the question:
I don’t count calories.
I don’t count macros.
I don’t log, measure or weigh my food.
I don’t do any those things. but I once did.
I don’t engage in any of those habits because when I reflect on my past & ask myself how many memories, situations, getaways & events were ruined because I hated my body & obsessed over the food I was eating, it makes me really sad.
To give you an idea: I went so far as bringing my safe foods with me on weekend getaways in a cooler.
Even when I first started recovery, I logged & weighed my food to make sure I was eating enough to meet my meal plan requirements, but I eventually realized that even though my intentions were good, that habit was more harmful than beneficial to me. Logging my food made me TOO AWARE of what was going into my body & inevitably meant counting calories was a part of my everyday life.
This is why it’s one thing to have good intentions, but another to assess & be mindful about the impact the behaviours you intend to engage in are having on your everyday life.
I’d plan out my breakfast, lunch, snack & dinner recipes & then I’d spend an hour logging every single sauce, spice & food item, until it was perfect, down to the cinnamon & spinach leaves.
Sometimes, I’d even have to change my plan & not eat what I was in the mood for because I couldn’t seem to find the food on the database & therefore, I couldn’t log it.
An imperfect food log meant discomfort & anxiety.
The log also meant that I forced myself to eat, even when I wasn’t hungry, just to make sure that I was in control & that I felt like my life was in order. This also meant that I lost my ability to listen to my hunger cues & eat intuitively.
When I finally took the leap of faith, threw out my food scale & stopped logging my food, I can’t even put into words the weight that was lifted off my shoulders.
I felt relieved.
I felt free.
I began to gage how much & what I wanted to eat based on how I felt & what I was really in the mood for (even if it was different than what I had planned).
My body is a vessel that carries me through life. Focusing so much on the numbers & being so preoccupied about the quantities that were going into my body meant I didn’t get to live the life it carried me through or focus on the important things in life.
My body’s job is to make sure that I’m healthy, my heart is beating, my food is digested & that it uses the nutrients I’m giving it to make sure that I can live a comfortable, healthy & happy life.
AND MY JOB IS TO MAKE SURE MY BODY CAN DO THAT.
By counting calories & logging my food, I realized that I was throwing my body off & putting it into danger mode. Everyday, I woke up & logged was another day my body perceived danger, activated its fight or flight response system & threw all of its functions into chaos mode. My hormones were out of whack, my skin reacted, my digestion went haywire & I felt crappy, different, restricted, limited & controlled by the numbers.
When I stopped logging:
- I woke up every morning without second guessing my food choices or experiencing anxiety around spending hours figuring out my weekly meal plan to hit my “goals”.
- I had free time.
- I ate when I wanted to. I ate what I felt like.
- And most importantly, I felt good!
Your life is about more than the grams of fish, cups of spinach & teaspoons of cinnamon going into your body.
Today, I encourage you to stop counting or measuring even just one meal out of your day. See how you feel without the rules that YOU impose on yourself. Take it slow.
After a week, try to stop tracking another meal & wean yourself off this habit.
Before you know it, you’ll be free & you’ll really get to say you’re LIVING!