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Do you want to fully embrace intuitive eating but can’t seem to stop counting calories? Do you feel like you can’t enjoy a meal without meticulously tracking every single thing that goes into your mouth? If so, you’re not alone. Counting calories has become an obsession for many people, and it’s ruining their health in the process. In this blog post, we will discuss tips to stop counting calories obsessively and start enjoying your food!
Do calories even matter?
What is a calorie, anyway? Calories are a measure of energy. They refer to the amount of energy in foods and drinks, or the amount of energy you you use by moving your body.
A common belief is that the more calories you eat, the more weight you’ll gain. However, it’s not as simple as this. Check out this post on why “calories in=calories out” is BS.
Due to diet culture conditioning, for many of us, the act of counting calories has become second nature. We do it almost automatically, without even thinking about it. But what would happen if we stopped counting calories altogether?
Why counting calories is pointless
At some point in their lives, almost everyone has tried counting calories in an attempt to “lose weight”. However, this approach to eating is not only ineffective, it can also be detrimental to your health.
First of all, calorie counting can lead to an obsession with food and a preoccupation with numbers that can take the joy out of eating. Second, it can cause you to miss out on important nutrients if you focus too much on limiting your intake of certain foods.
Finally, it can lead to yo-yo dieting and a harmful relationship with food. In fact, weight cycling, intentional weight loss attempts followed by unintentional weight regain, that results from yo-yo dieting, can negatively impact your health. This paper investigates how weight cycling can affect heart health and insulin sensitivity.
There’s a lot of debate about whether calories matter. Some say that it’s all about portion control, while others argue that the quality of the food you eat is more important than the quantity. But here’s the thing: neither of those approaches is sustainable in the long run.
If you’re constantly worrying about how many calories you’re consuming, you’re never going to be able to relax and enjoy your food. And if you’re only focused on eating “healthy” foods, you’re likely to end up feeling restrictive and deprived. Here is where intuitive eating comes in.
What happens when you stop counting calories?
Intuitive eating encourages just that -learning how to stop counting calories obsessively and instead trusting our bodies to tell us what they need. Once we stop obsessing over numbers, we’re able to focus on enjoying our food and listening to our hunger cues. This can lead to a more positive relationship with food, and ultimately, a healthier relationship with our bodies.
It’s important to note that intuitive eating is not a weight loss strategy – instead, it’s about finding balance and honoring our own individual needs in terms of energy and nutrients.
When you stop counting calories, you might be surprised at how much better you feel. For so long, you’ve been restricting yourself to a certain number of calories per day, but when you stop, you finally allow your body to eat what it needs. It’s all about listening to your body’s inner cues.
When you eat according to your inner signals, you’re more likely to make conscious food choices. You’re also more likely to enjoy your food, which can lead to a more positive relationship with food overall.
Plus, when you stop counting calories, you might find that you have more energy for enjoying your life.
No more feeling guilty for eating that extra slice of cake or skipping the gym because you’ve “overeaten.” Instead, you can focus on listening to your body and giving it what it needs. When you’re not worrying about every little detail, you can relax and enjoy your meals.
Tips to stop calorie counting
Although you may have already said to yourself, “I’m tired of counting calories”, it takes some time and practice to learn how to stop counting calories obsessively. Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Delete any calorie counting apps. Trust me: micromanaging your food is not necessary. Food just can’t be reduced to numbers generated by an app that doesn’t know you. These apps can also give you the false idea that you need an unrealistically low amount of energy from foods.
- Change the connotation of the word “calorie”. Instead, use its actual meaning: energy (which your body needs in order to function properly).
- Explore why calorie counting doesn’t serve you. Answer the following questions:
- Does calorie counting take up too much of my time?
- Is it too tedious?
- Does it disconnect me from my hunger/fullness signals?
- Does it take the pleasure out of eating for me?
- Eat from your inner hunger/fullness and satisfaction signals. Start practicing with a hunger/fullness scale when eating in order to get in tune to your individual inner signals. Here is a downloadable one you can use:
- Be present in your meals. Use mindful eating strategies to focus on physical sensations of your meal, such as taste, texture, smell and mouthfeel. How does eating this particular food make you feel?
- Limit distractions as best you can while eating. Eating without scrolling through your phone, watching TV or working on your computer can help you tune in to your inner signals more accurately. However, don’t stress if you can’t. If you need resources to stay grounded, please use them.
- Give yourself grace, patience and time. It takes time to unlearn eating practices we’ve been conditioned to practice from diet culture. Allowing yourself self-compassion and time to eat normatively will take you far in your intuitive eating journey.
If you’re like many people, the idea of eating intuitively seems impossible. You may be wondering how to stop counting calories obsessively and just eat what your body tells you to. It takes time and practice, but eventually, you will get there. And when you do, the benefits are boundless. You’ll have more energy, better mental clarity, a better relationship with food – the list goes on and on.
If you would like more information about my services or want help quitting calorie counting for good, please don’t hesitate to schedule a free 15-minute discovery call here.
Hi! I’m Melissa, Registered Dietitian and mother of two dragons. When I’m not talking nutrition you can find me rolling around the floor with my kids, sewing, crafting, cooking or missing the 90s (seriously, music just isn’t the same). Read More…