Calories! Everyone is talking about them and everybody is counting them!
By: Maria Kasdagly IN
Calories! Everyone is talking about them and everybody is counting them! A few years ago I wanted to join the calorie counting fad, so I downloaded one of the trendy apps on my phone and started logging all the foods I ate. I was so incredibly overwhelmed with the amount of work that went into each meal, maybe if I just didn’t eat it would be easier. I rarely eat the same thing day to day and I usually make up some weird “salad “concoction from whatever fruit, vegetable, legume, or even nut I have laying around. However, I am a stubborn and determined girl, so I was going to keep counting! Since logging my calories was so time consuming, I decided to get crafty and only eat the same things for breakfast and lunch and plan out a few rotating dinners just so I can count those darn calories easier. What happened next was devastating…I ended up only eating protein bars and maybe a banana for breakfast, lunch, and sometimes dinner, I became obsessive over everything I ate, I stopped listening to what my body needed, and completely lost the pleasure of eating food! Well, what the heck I thought counting calories was supposed to help me feel better. Totally not the case!
Food is more than just Calories!
For those of you who do count your calories I must ask, are you more concerned with the number of calories or the amount of nutrients consumed? Sadly, when we merely count calories we aren’t thinking about nutrient density. Yes, calories are important as they give us the energy we need to live. However, I can eat 1000 calories/day of nutrient worthless garbage, be as skinny as a rail, and feel like absolute hell everyday. Counting calories only gives you a number not your health. In addition, when we count out every calorie we ignore our bodies needs. For example, what if you just had one hardcore workout at the gym or were feeling a bit lazy and skipped the gym, but allowed yourself the same amount of calories for both circumstances? Your body will ebb & flow each day depending on your output or lack their of, and being mindful to what your body truly needs will help guide you to optimal health.
So calories AREN’T Important?
NO! I am not saying that calories aren’t important, but use them as a general guideline for optimal health. For example knowing the amount of calories in different types of foods and where the calories are coming from (protein, carbohydrates, or fat) will help you make overall healthier food selections. Over time you will learn that foods that are incredibly beneficial to your health are lower in calories naturally and you can eat a lot more of them.
How do I keep track and hold myself accountable?
I encourage all my cleanse participants and clients that their focus should be more on the quality of food than the amount of calories that are in the food. However, foods can be mischievous as they can just pop into our mouths without us even noticing. Those sneaky chocolate covered raisins! Eating can often be a subconscious habit due to stress, boredom, or anxiety. I tell all my clients to keep a food journal and to log foods eaten throughout the day, but don’t be too concerned about counting calories. I also have them write down the time of day the food was consumed, how hungry were they before they ate, how full they felt afterwards, and how that particular food/meal made them feel emotionally and physically. We can learn a lot about our dietary patterns by simply understanding when we are physically hungry or emotionally craving food.