It is so easy to get sucked into the mindset that our daily food intake must fall within a certain calorie range. We should eat 1,200 calories per day, we definitely don’t want to eat too much fruit, and bananas and corn are horrific carbs in disguise.
When I began my health quest, about 5 years ago, I started out counting calories. I would diligently log my food intake and try to find ways to cut out calories. Substituting in diet this, and sugar-free that… there were so many different ways to cheat the system and be able to eat “free” foods. You know the old saying though, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”… well you see where I’m going with this. There are many people who have been successful on diets like this, but at the end of the day it wasn’t healthy for me. Even if I miraculously made it through the day feeling full and clear minded, it was only a matter of time until I crashed.
So you might be thinking, “there are ways to track your calories without consuming diet, chemical filled foods”. And you are absolutely correct. So that’s where I headed next in my journey. But yet again, I found myself obsessing over calories and feeling guilty for splurging or beating myself up if I did the unthinkable and went a day without hitting the gym.
It’s a slippery slope when you start going down that path. You save up your calorie bank for weekend plans, you panic when someone asks you to go out to lunch mid-week, and you become completely consumed. Somewhere along the way though a lightbulb went off. I had to break the cycle of extreme diet and exercise followed by a crash and a rut. I needed balance. But realizing it and achieving it are totally different things.
Sometimes it’s very difficult to listen to your body and understand what it needs. Especially if you are an emotional eater or if you are living in a dynamic environment where you can’t always pin down how it is you’re feeling. I’ve seen a lot of bloggers talk about Intuitive eating, and to be completely honest I didn’t think it was something I could relate to. But when I just recently read the 10 principles I realized that they nailed it. The 10 principles of Intuitive Eating express so well exactly what is important to find peace with food and be able to balance eating when you need to eat and doing so consciously. I know it sounds super cheesy, but lifestyles and diets are not one size fits all. And the only way for me to really know what my body needed was to quiet all of the outside noise and just listen. Sure, I splurge on weekends, or feel like I need a detox day or 2 to get things back on track. But I have yet to hit that rut that results in crashing and obsessing, and that my friends, is why I quit counting calories.