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DON’T count calories

October 10th, 2011 | no comments

Do you want to feel deprived and left constantly yearning for more food? Then get your calculator ready and start adding up every calorie that passes your lips. The thought of calorie-counting and abiding by a strict calorie level just turns my stomach! This isn’t math class, it’s eating— a life-sustaining activity that’s supposed to be enjoyable.

Something funny happens when you set limits on how much you’re allowed to eat—you go from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde. First comes the food obsession and then the fun part—your “STOP EATING” switch becomes temporarily disabled! Before you know it you’re eating like a caged animal who hasn’t been fed in a week.

We always want what we can’t have, which means if you are prescribed 1700 calories per day, you’re going to want 1750! Solution: STOP FOCUSING ON CONCRETE NUMBERS! And for heaven’s sake…STOP CALORIE COUNTING! As soon as I stopped counting calories and started listening to my body, I settled in comfortably at my current weight. Of course I also never neglect my exercise routine…I owe it to my body! I haven’t counted calories in years and yet I still wear the same size. Coincidence? I don’t think so! Genetically blessed? LOL!

Understand that if you want to “downsize” your body, you must be aware of two things:

  1. The number of calories your body requires to “stay put” at it’s current size (to find out your level, visit: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/calorie-calculator/nu00598)
  2. The caloric value of foods you commonly eat (Check out: www.calorieking.com) Warning: Better get the defibrillator!

In other words: BE calorie-conscious NOT a calorie-counter! There’s a world of difference between the two:

A calorie-counter isn’t focusing on how his/her body is responding to the food it’s just been fed. It’s only concerned with how many stinkin’ calories it has just eaten and how many measly calories it has left for the day. One who’s calorie-conscious knows what it takes to gain a pound (3500 extra calories), the foods and eating behaviors most likely to cause it, and how to cleverly combine certain foods to keep hunger at bay. Here’s a good example:

Calorie-counter“My diet says I can only have 1700 calories per day, that Cinnamon Crunch Bagel I just ate from Panera Bread cost me 430 calories, only 1270 calories left for the day…whoa is me”

Calorie-conscious: “My body requires about 2000 calories each day. I know a Panera Cinnamon Crunch Bagel has about 430 calories and not a whole lot of nutrition. Maybe I’ll opt for a half of a whole grain bagel with some peanut butter instead…that should keep me energized and satisfied a little while longer than the Cinnamon bagel, not to mention I’ll be getting a serving of whole grain too!”

The difference? Calorie-counter focuses not on how the food will make her feel, but rather how many calories she has left. Calorie-conscious is aware of how many calories a Cinnamon Crunch Bagel offers, but opts for the Whole Grain Bagel with peanut butter instead (which has about 250 calories) because it will sustain her for a longer period of time…which she knows will keep her from eating again in an hour. In other words, she knows how to get more bang for her calorie buck! Notice no mention is made of her remaining calorie balance? She’s faintly aware of it but doesn’t let it run her life! Because she is so in tune with her body, if she goes over 2000 calories, she’ll feel it and eat a little lighter tomorrow.

It’s time to STOP counting and START listening to and trusting your body to tell you when it’s had enough. Adding up every piece of food you eat is no way to live! I guess the real question you must ask yourself is:

Would you rather live completely in control, free and untethered or like a ravenous caged beast?

It’s up to you.

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