I know, you have an app for that.
And you feel it has established some level of control in your eating.
But when I see questions like "which calories do I count if I threw up?" I feel like things are a wee bit out of control. For the record, I used to count them too. But as soon as I became educated on the realities of food and calories I stopped and never looked back. I could probably list 100 reasons to encourage you to do the same, but here are my top 10.
1. It's not a habit you are going to keep.
Let's be honest, at first it was super fun. Seeing all the various graphs of your bite of this and sip of that. Coming in 9 calories under your goal and feeling like you won the lottery even though you are wholly intolerant of every single person in a 100-mile vicinity because of your incessant hunger. While it can provide a quick fix (think starvation), those who quit logging their calories often put the weight back on.
2. It often puts a focus on the wrong foods.
There is nothing learned here. You haven't been given the gift of food knowledge when you focus solely on calories. Wouldn't it be smarter to know which foods make your feel full and which are going to guarantee a cringe-worthy binge session? Low-calorie foods are full of sugar and lacking in nutrients. Sort of counter-intuitive when you consider the reasons behind your initiative is to be healthy.
3.The best foods to eat for weight loss and weight management don't have a label.
And don't have to be counted. Eat all the vegetables. Eat chicken until you are full. Grab a handful of almonds on your way out the door. These foods are filling. They are nutrient dense. They provide sustained energy, make you feel great and improve all the markers of health.
4. The calories listed on a product have a high likelihood of being inaccurate.
The FDA allows a 20 percent margin of error when it comes to calorie counts. Let's do the math: a 230 calorie item could actually have 46 more calories than you just logged. I am willing to bet this is not good news.
5. Calorie restriction leaves you feeling hungry. All the time.
If you are a BodyRocker and limiting your calories with the intensity of the workouts offered, you are likely doing a grave disservice to your body and diminishing your results. Your body needs fuel for energy, but also for muscle repair and healthy systems. Not to mention being hungry all day long is, in my eyes, the worst form of torture.
6. You already have a job.
Do you really want to be logging the 5/8 of a bag of chips or trying to decipher the ingredients of the birthday cake you just consumed OR would you rather sit on the floor with your daughter and giggle over her attempt at down dog? Be a Mom. Or Dad. Or Successful Business Person. Anything other than an obsessive, calorie-counting, angry version of yourself.
7. Calories to one person can mean something completely different to another.
There's more to it than calories. A lot more. How your body uses calories has to do with hormones, activity, your overall health, age and a million other scientific ponderances.
8. It adds stress to your already stressed life.
Stress releases a hormone called cortisol. Too much stress in your life means high levels of cortisol. Sustained levels of cortisol = belly fat. And that's sort of in the opposite of where you want to be headed, right?
9. A calorie is not (and never will be) a calorie.
100 calories of food-like products with their fancy and super savvy branding do not in any way equal 100 calories of real food. Simply stated, real food requires more energy (burns more calories) to digest than processed foods. A half of an avocado (approximately 161 calories) will provide ample fill power and reduce snacking. 161 calories of a cookie will provide cravings and guilt. You choose.
10. It eliminates the joy of eating.
Think about it. We LOVE food. Why create a world where food is the enemy? Where every bite goes against your goal of good health instead of supporting it? Free yourself of the confines and structure of calorie counting. Delight in eating an abundance of fruits, vegetables, proteins and fats. Eat slowly and enjoy every bite. Eat until you are comfortably full.
There's a better way to control food than by assigning it a number. Make the right choices in the foods you eat and the numbers don't matter.
Eat with purpose.