Counting Calories

Disclaimer, I am not an expert on diet or nutrition, these are just my opinions/experiences. This also may be a trigger for readers struggling with an ED. I know what you’re going through so if you think this may do more harm than good, maybe skip this post. 

Hi friends! I hope that your day is going swimmingly so far. I woke up at 4 a.m. for goodness knows why, then went back to sleep about an hour later (on the couch, while watching 30 Rock). Weird. I’ve decided to push my workouts to the evenings this week in hopes of getting a bit more sleep to help fight this cold battle (I might even skip my run today).

(source) At least Liz Lemon approves of my early morning TV choices.

Thanks for all your sweet comments on my post yesterday, I am feeling better already. My game plan for the week is to hit the hay early, and sleep in a bit more than I usually would, workout in the afternoons instead, take it super easy on my runs, then do the 5K however feels good for me that day.

So I’ve been working on this post one way or another pretty much since I started the blog. Sometimes I will just brainstorm it. Other times I will start writing it and change my mind, but today it’s happening.

It’s no secret that I am trying to lose weight. My ultimate goal is 50 lbs and for the past few months I’ve just kind of been hovering. Not trying too hard and not committing to anything. That’s one of the reasons I was so excited for Kim and Kalee’s Hot by Halloween Challenge. I wanted something to help kick start my goals and get back on the right track.

You can read about my roller coaster weight loss journey here, so I don’t want to retell it, but basically after years of crash diets and my weight going up and down and up and down and WAY up… I am done. But here’s the thing. I don’t count calories.

Call it intuitive eating, being calorie aware, or whatever you can come up with, I can’t count calories anymore. I will admit it is totally a mental thing, I had major anxiety about what I was eating and I was thinking about my calories constantly.

This type of living was horrible and just not sustainable. I was a mess. I would melt down sobbing over the stupidest things, I feel so bad for my husband! I wasn’t enjoying food, and I constantly felt anxious and guilty. I would restrict my calories so much, then binge and feel miserable.

Well after refusing to count another calorie, I gained weight. Fast. The thing was, I had completely swung to the other side of the pendulum and not let go of my binge eating habits.

I knew that this wasn’t going to change overnight, and I knew I wanted to take my health back. But (finally) I am losing weight and not counting calories, and it’s amazing. It’s also great to be involved with such an amazing blog community and see women who are living proof that this lifestyle works.

The thing is, I think that a lot of us know how much we should be eating but we’ve lost that connection between what our body needs and what our brain wants. In Bethenny Frankel’s book Naturally Thin she talks about this as your food voice vs. food noise. Basically your food voice is your body telling you what to eat and when, and your food noise is everything else that gets in the way.

I think I’ve finally found a good balance between eating to fuel my body and not driving myself crazy. AND I am losing weight. I’ve read so many books and blogs and articles that really I know what I need to eat, I just need to keep in mind my goals and act accordingly. Portion sizes, lots of veggies, lean protein, and healthy carbs are all high on my priority list.

But most of all it’s important live your life and allow for indulgences and don’t beat yourself up for living life (and eating popcorn).

Do you count calories? Have you? Thoughts?

16 thoughts on “Counting Calories

  1. Beautifully written and I totally agree. Although, you know I do “count” calories, I have basically been doing it for so long, I know when I am in my range or if I’ve gone over. I heard something once and really liked it, of course you have to be reasonable (90/10, right?), “When I die, I doubt I’ll look back and say, “I wish I’d never eaten that popcorn!!”. I think you’re attitude about calories is now very healthy. I wish you felt better. It’s funny you mention sleep. I told Kalee that I want to do a blog and newsletter on the importance of sleep. Get some sleep!! Have a fun run on Saturday!!

    • Thanks Kim! I was actually super nervous about posting it. I totally know what you mean about knowing how much you’re eating based on past experience. I think that that is a huge factor of it too. It makes it really easy to balance out a meal. If I am going to have some desert or wine, I will pick something less indulgent for dinner 🙂

      You are SO right about the importance of sleep, it’s crazy how much it affects your life!

  2. Great advice! Funny, I actually just read a post about the good of counting calories over at Ali’s blog (, and honestly, I guess I can see the pros and cons of both counting or not counting calories… I personally have never done it, so I can’t speak from experience… that doesn’t mean I’ve never worried about weight or food or the things I’m eating, I’m a girl, so of course I have… but I’ve never sat down and counted out the calories I consume from day to day. Probably mostly because I don’t like math.

    I can see how knowing your calories and being realistic about what you’re putting in your mouth could be helpful for some on the weight loss path and how it might stress others out and ultimately do more harm than good.

    I still think this is good advice and that if we are good at listening and respecting our bodies, intuitive eating is probably the best and most healthy route to go.

    Mostly, I’m of the opinion that we’ve only got one life to live, so we should take care of our bodies, but enjoy the journey with some fun splurges too! (Daily spurges for me!!!!! 🙂 )

  3. I can’t count calories. I tried it for a day and my OCD made it immediately unhealthy. I think it’s different for everyone, but for me it was no way, Jose.*

  4. i think you really did sum it up perfectly. counting calories i think is actually less effective than counting portion sizes, and in a way creates a much more negative mentally. i feel like counting calories is a bit of a restrictive mindset, whereas if you’re looking to fulfill certain required portions/servings it feels like you’re adding up your food instead. you’re totally right about allowing indulgences, because otherwise you’ll crave them and it’ll be no bueno from there. counting calories gives me insane anxiety too- but if i’m counting serving sizes i do fine, and in fact feel like i get to eat so much!

  5. When I was trying to lose weight after the Bean was born…I was a calorie counter. It was nuts. I lost weight…but that’s IT. I was not in shape, not strong, not fit. If I had wanted to be…it wouldn’t have been possible with the low amount of fuel I was taking in. Totally ridiculous! I have not counted a calorie in years now….and am fitter, stronger and more in shape than I ever have been. (although I am not “thin”…whatever that means.)

    I am no dietitian, but I absolutely cannot understand counting calories. It is NOT a permanent fix. You have to learn what a portion LOOKS like, and what healthy fuel is..not how many calories are in something.

    • Preach Jamie! I couldn’t agree more. I refuse to eat in a way that isn’t sustainable for the rest of my life. How can that be healthy! I agree it’s not a permanent fix, but I think that for someone who has never had any exposure to portion sizes and whatnot, it might be a good place to start, but that’s it.

  6. that IS funny! I just don’t think I’m “there” yet…so I have to keep track of calories. I am no longer obsessed though, if I want to eat something and it puts me “over” too bad….I’m eating it. But I think you’re right it’s good to do until you become aware 😀 GREAT post

  7. Pingback: Half Marathon Training Starts TODAY! | reads recipes runs

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