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Are you Addicted to Counting Calories?

 

You’re not alone. Trust us! There are sooooooo many women out there who are addicted to counting calories and it’s prompted us to write this blog post.

For decades, the so-called ‘health’ industry has driven the message into consumers that ‘calories are the only things that make you fat’ – it’s doesn’t matter what you eat, so long as you stick to a certain amount calories.

This has led to so many women sitting down to a meal and doing some maths prior to eating – or these days, pulling out a calorie counting app and inputting their daily intake.

Is this a healthy relationship with food? Is this how we are going to teach our children to eat? Does this lead to true health and wellness? Or does it lead to an unhealthy relationship with your mind, body and soul? Is it just a form of ‘control and anxiety’ that feels like it can never be broken?

Almost, an addiction? The later scenario rings true to us. Food for thought, for some of you.

Rather than focus on the negative associations that calorie counting has in the land of StayStrongMummy, we thought we would share with you some tips to break the calorie counting cycle and regain your “self” back.

A quick note from Kimberley;

I used to be addicted to calorie counting. I would calculate every food, snack, and drink and write down a summary of the numbers in my diary every day. If I went a few calories over, it would bring about huge disappointment. I didn’t like to eat ‘fats’ – because they seemed like ‘wasted’ calories. Why eat an avocado when I can have a diet coke without using up the calories? Why would I have a bowl of muesli when I could have a serving of crunchy nut cornflakes with skim milk for only a minute amount of calories? Why would I have full-fat milk in my coffee when I could have skim milk with a low-fat vanilla sweetener? I would TRACK every single thing I put in my body. I did this while training and running a full marathon of 42km. In hindsight, I honestly don’t know how my body held up. I was infatuated with counting calories and always ensuring my body was in deficit numbers with my training.

 

Did it work? No. I lost some weight initially, but I couldn’t keep it off unless I kept up the ever-consuming, mentally draining “mathematics”. And even if i did keep it off, i wasn’t happy. I was tired. I was anxious. I was moody. Even though I was eating a low-calorie diet and going on two hours runs – my body wasn’t changing. I thought to myself – maybe I need to push harder and cut even more calories? Maybe I’ll have to start telling people I can’t come out for dinner on the weekends or have a glass of wine with my then, fiancé. I was just one of those people that had to “work really hard” to keep a decent figure. I look back on this attitude now and honestly can’t believe i had this mentality! I haven’t counted a single calorie in over five years now and i’m healthier, fitter, leaner and stronger than ever before. I also love the skin i’m in. It may have taken a while, but i’m there.

 

Does this ring true to any of you out there counting calories? If so – listen up sista, it’s time to put an end to this unhealthy way of eating and regain your mind, body and soul back – once and for all. Your energy is too precious to be consumed by doing math’s at every meal.

How did I stop? Well, it actually took pregnancy, birth and becoming a mother to make me stop. I suddenly realised I couldn’t always be ‘counting’ – it wasn’t just about ‘me’ anymore. I had three little people looking up to me for guidance in this big, wide world and I didn’t want them to think ‘tracking and counting’ food was a normal way of life. Because, it’s not. Most people start a calorie-counting plan to lose some initial weight and it’s just something to track in the ‘short term’ until you’ve lost the weight and then you just go back to normal. I don’t think I know a single person who has done that? They never seem to “switch off” from counting, once they start.

 

Here are a few tips to try out when quitting the calorie counting.

  • Set yourself a goal of 21 days of NO COUNTING. It will be tough, as you’re trying to break a habit more than anything else. Every time you catch yourself “calculating” – pull yourself up, take a breath and reset.

 

 

  • When transition from calorie counting to whole-foods (real foods) – focus on 3 main meals a day and two snacks.  Remember its just one good, nourishing meal after another.

 

  • Meditate. This is a must. Either download an app (Oprah, Deepak etc) or visit a local Yoga or Meditation School to LEARN how to meditate. It’s one of the hardest things known to mankind – to calm and still that monkey mind, so don’t get disheartened and say it’s just not ‘for you’ within the first five minutes. Give it time, have patience and within a few weeks – you’ll be hooked on the feeling of ‘freeing yourself from all that clutter and draining thoughts!”

 

  • Stay gentle on yourself and focus on a couple of workouts a week and a longer walk. On this walk, download your meditation app and listen to it. Keep the workouts more about “just moving” and keep them “gentle” to begin. You want to push yourself, but not punish.

What do I eat? I focus on real foods.

  • Quality proteins like free-range chicken and eggs, grass fed, lamb, pork and fish.
  • Nature’s carbohydrates like in season fruit, an abundance of cruciferous vegetables with the addition of starchy vegetables a few times a week.
  • Wholegrain and gluten free carbohydrates like oats, whole meal wraps and quinoa. (If they sit well with you and don’t agitate your tummy)
  • Quality fats like avocado, nuts, seeds and oils.. YOU NEED GOOD FATS. Your body needs them to burn fat. They also help with mental clarity, moods, relaxation and inflammation in the body which is probably something that you’ve been missing all along (*hello fuzzy mind that constantly gets overwhelmed!)

 

  • Steer clear of refined sugar  for the 21 days. Give your body a real chance to refuel, reset and refocus. The ‘clean sweets’ are fine now and again (1-2 per week). Try and just focus on good proteins, carbs and fats.

 

  • Drink 2-3L water per day. Cut all alcohol. Or, if you need to… opt for a vodka with plain soda water.

 

  • Ditch the scales for the 21 days. If you feel the need to justify your transition. Get a tape measure out instead and measure your waist and thighs on day 1 and day 21.

 

  • Surround yourself with those who support, uplift and inspire you. Have a buddy to call on when things get tough.

 

The StayStrongMummy Fitness Plan includes a 4-week whole-foods meal plan and 4-week fitness plan to help guide you and hold your hand on this journey to health and wellness.

Leave a comment and let us know if you have or had a calorie counting addiction!

 

In Strength

Kimberley and Vicky xx

 

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