I can still recall the first time I started thinking about calories. I was at the book shop with mum and found a book on how to be healthy! now from someone who was always trying to "be healthy" this book was music to my ears. The book provided meal plans; listed all the "good" foods and provided a list of the calories in hundreds of different foods. This led me to start weighing my food; examining every product in the supermarket to make sure it was "good" oh and I started writing down everything I would eat and drink each day. I was obsessed, but for the first time in a long time I felt in control. This was mine; no-one could take it away from me. Two years on and I was still madly tracking how many calories I had each day- except the only difference was, I was no longer writing it down as i had successfully memorised the calorie content of every food imaginable!
Although I felt in control, I also felt like I had lost my love of food- I was practically eating the same thing every day- occasionally I might vary my snack and even eat what my mum had cooked for dinner- but overall nothing changed- but it had, I had changed- I had become regimented and boring - I never ate out anymore, I would very rarely share a piece of cake at a birthday or Christmas celebration and I was moody. I had lost control and I wasn't happy anymore. So, I decided to STOP! Like anything that we try and quit, it was very hard- I started slowly, firstly by including something different in my diet each day, I also set a goal of eating out x1 per week- that way I wouldn't know how many calories I was eating. I can honestly say it was one of the hardest things I ever did- but it was also empowering.
Over time I could see the real me come back- I started enjoying food again, I experimented with recipes, I ate the food that I had baked, and I happily sat down at dinner and ate what mum had cooked. Like anything worth doing, it was hard, but I felt free.
“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness".
My top tips to help you to stop counting calories
1) Vary one thing each day that you're eating- that way you won't know exactly what the calories are
2) Go out to eat and order something new!
3) Start respecting and accepting yourself for you!
4) Notice how you feel now, are you happier? have you reconnected with friends and are you eating intuitively!
5) Lastly- Remember, you're more than a number!