Why I Don’t Count Calories

Happy Wednesday, friends! How about a little rant to start the day? Here’s the deal…

Why I Don't Count Calories

I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed the other day when a photo of myself unexpectedly appeared. I stopped mid scroll and looked as Facebook was showing me a photo from that date exactly three years ago. I was in college, I was unsuspectingly unhappy, and visibly underweight.
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The photos were of a tailgate party before a football game. No one knew the struggle that was occurring in my head. I “let” myself eat that barbecue because that was all that was available, but inside I was silently freaking out that I didn’t know the nutritional content of what I was eating. I felt out of control because I couldn’t log my food.

Needless to say, I used to count calories. I used MyFitnessPal to track every single morsel that my body digested. At first it was a way for me to control my portions when I began my lifestyle transformation, but it evolved into something that would haunt me everyday. I would eat the same foods almost daily because they were familiar foods that I deemed healthy and “low calorie”. I felt secure eating them because the calorie count was predetermined and easily trackable in MyFitnessPal. I never wanted to eat at a restaurant that didn’t have nutritional information on their website. If I got Chipotle, I calculated exactly how many calories were in the bowl I ate. I recall a night where a friend had a birthday dinner at Chili’s, and I ordered the tortilla soup, not because it was what I wanted, but because it had the lowest calorie count on the menu.

What started as an innocent desire to live healthfully and change my diet, turned into a monster.

This is why I don’t track my calories.

Because after overcoming such an internal battle, I see things so much differently. I think about people starving in third world countries who would do anything for a plate of food. I think about the important things in life, how short life is, and how it should be enjoyed. I think about how blessed I am with this life of mine, and how there are bigger, better things to focus on. A healthy lifestyle is not about the numbers you are consuming. It is about quality over quantity. I would rather experiment with recipes, try new foods, eat foods I love, have fun nights with friends, than constantly worry about what I’m eating and if it will fit into my daily intake.

I have formed a genuine, positive, healthy relationship with food. It is my passion. Along with exercise, cooking is my outlet. The two combined make for a blissfully balanced life, if used responsibly.

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No questions today, but I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Comments

  1. says

    Amen! I have a long way to go on my journey, but I feel like I’ve tried it all, and just eating well works for me. I eat until I’m full now, but not injured. I don’t count calories or carbs, anymore, because I became obsessed…balance is key! Great post :)
    Nichole recently posted…Eat Good Food.My Profile

    • The Blissful Balance says

      Thanks, Nichole. Takes a lot for me to put this all out there so I appreciate the love! And journey is certainly the right word. It’s a continuous journey, not a one stop destination!

  2. says

    I love your candidness. I think so many people (men and women) share that internal struggle, especially in the fitness world. Some people are way too thin and become obsessive about every calorie, every gram of fat, every carb, etc. They’ll burn 600-800 calories and then only eat 1000. It’s insane! The madness needs to stop and fit people need to focus on proper fueling.

    Good for you for remembering why we eat and for giving yourself permission to enjoy food again. xox
    Run DMT recently posted…RANdom Tuesday Thoughts About Training Again #RockNBlogMy Profile

  3. says

    I had the same experience my first year of college. I was OBSESSED with MFP. I did hours of cardio, and it was just a baaad situation. I stopped using MFP when I realized it was becoming a problem. 4 years later..I don’t ever step on a cardio machine (hi weights!), I eat ALOT and I recently started (loosely) tracking my macros on MFP.. not because I’m trying to lose weight, but because I now respect my body, have some kick-ass fitness goals to reach, and I want to make sure I’m giving myself ENOUGH food rather than restricting myself :)
    Liz recently posted…3 New Back-to-School Snack FindsMy Profile

    • The Blissful Balance says

      Yep. And this happened to me starting a little after my first year of college, too. I had no idea what I was doing. Good for you for reaching for your fitness goals – enjoy and good luck!!

  4. says

    Great post! I completely agree and don’t count calories myself. Mainly I thought it was exhausting. I did it for a couple months before my wedding and I was so underweight I would get dizzy! I would sit in class at USF and hope that my stomach wouldn’t growl too loud. It was a mess! Today I know it’s all about eating real,clean food (most of the time)and getting in my excercise. I haven’t been on a scale in over 6 months either! I go on how my clothes feel.
    Alexandria recently posted…New Home/Family PhotosMy Profile

    • The Blissful Balance says

      Yes exhausting is a good word. I can understand the reasons some people do it, but for the reasons I was, it was exhausting. I had that dizzy feeling a lot, as well. My weight got very, very low!

  5. says

    I think that many of us can relate to this post. I am a calorie tracker, but to make sure that I get enough (as a marathoner, sometimes I don’t do so well with that!). But I stay off the scale, and I have slowly been increasing my weight (which is my goal). I eat first, count later, and on vacation, I throw it to the wind! But I respect that it is off limits for you, and often I wish I could give it up as well, but for now, I need to do it for my health.
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…Healthy “Peach Salsa” Egg White Omelet RecipeMy Profile

    • The Blissful Balance says

      I can 100% understand that! I have never trained for a marathon and I can’t imagine how tough it is to work that hard and to know if you are eating enough!

  6. says

    I couldn’t relate to this more! I also was addicted to My Fitness Pal and it triggered my relapse back in October. I think it can be a good tool for some who have the right mindset to use it. I however, am not one of those people. As someone with an addictive personality and in recovery from anorexia, me plus counting calories equals big no no!
    sarah recently posted…Updates on a WednesdayMy Profile

  7. says

    I am not a calorie counter either because I have seen just how much it can take over your life and how miserable it can be to have to track and monitor everything you eat. Like you wrote, life is short & it has to be enjoyed. Having a balance of foods is so important, and focusing on the quality of the ingredients over the calories is, to me, what really makes a difference.
    Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie recently posted…Gear Up For CollegeMy Profile

  8. says

    Love this post, girl! While it sometimes can be helpful to track your calories (if you’re capable of not going overboard with it), it’s definitely not the only or even the best way to a healthy lifestyle. It always frustrates me when people obsess over choosing the low-cal option verses the HEALTHY, good-for-you option that probably tastes even better anyways! Thanks for this xx

Trackbacks

  1. […] Why I Don’t Count Calories – The Blissful Balance Calorie counting can be a slippery slope for some people, and it’s not something I recommend you do for extended periods of time unless you have specific goals in mind. Food is meant to be enjoyed as well as consumed to nourish your body, and focusing on the numbers can distort that relationship. […]

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