What Not Tracking My Calories Has Taught Me So Far
Monday, January 07, 2019
I think the thing I fought the hardest was giving up tracking my calories. My nutritionist and I got in a dragout fight about it. She told me it was my extreme tracking everything all these little miniscule details that was causing my binging. I would hear the same stuff when I'd listen to body positive podcasts, but I didn't want to believe it. I really thought that tracking my calories and my macros was the thing that was keeping me on track and without it I was sure to weigh 600 pounds. Even though when I was actually skinny for all those years, I never tracked anything, I ate whatever I wanted and didn't think twice about food. But what I have come to find is that they were right after all. Tracking your calories, tracking your macros, that's really just a diet isn't it? It's the same as doing keto or Atkins or South Beach or Weight Watchers it's just a different way of doing it. And it doesn't work! None of those fad diets work and tracking your calories doesn't work either. All it does is turn food into an obsession, how many calories can I eat today, I didn't make my carb goal today so I'm bad, etc. And the biggest problem I had with tracking is that it told me when I could and couldn't eat as opposed to me eating when I was hungry and stopping when I was full. When I tracked, I was allowed to have exactly X amount of meals and snacks at exactly these certain times and when I ate my allotted amount of food then I couldn't have any more food. Even if I was still hungry! And if I did, then I felt guilty and inevitably ended up binging. Now that I'm not tracking, if I want to eat 8 times a day, I can. And sometimes I do! Now I don't feel bad for eating when I'm hungry. I used to feel confused because I would binge....and it was like the criteria for binge eating disorder was that people with BED ate when they weren't hungry. Well, I was always starving when I would binge. If I wasn't hungry I didn't binge. One therapist I had actually said to me, "Are you sure you're binging or are you just hungry?" Cos that's the thing, isn't it? When we're trying to lose weight we think we have to cut our calories so low and that never ever works. It just ends up backfiring in the long run. What I have learned is that if you want to lose weight and keep it off you have to make sure that you are eating enough. I know that sounds backwards but it's so true. I found out I didn't binge eat because I had some kind of self control problem or because I loved food too much or I was a glutton or anything. It was because I was hungry and I was withholding food from myself and then I would be so desperate for food I would eat anything that wasn't nailed down!! So now that I am not tracking my calories anymore, I am rebuilding trust with my body and it is starting to learn that I am going to give it food when it is hungry and so it doesn't need to binge or overeat anymore. Another thing I've learned is not to compare myself to other people. I used to think I had to eat the way other people ate or I wasn't normal. Now I realize that everyone is different and everyone needs different amounts of food for their bodies and that if I need to eat 6-8 meals and my aunt only eats 1-2 meals a day that I don't need to feel bad for eating more than her. I have self confidence now where before I doubted myself so much and would panic if I couldn't plan out every little thing I was going to eat for the day. Now I'm working on getting rid of that old rigid meal structure I used to have where I had to eat certain foods at certain times and starting to instead eat when I'm hungry and eat what I'm hungry for. So I'm making progress bit by bit, just like I'm making progress bit by bit with my fitness.