(I apologize if this post is a little word vomit-y, just writing as it comes to my head!)
(This talks calories, so if you’re easily triggered PLEASE skip over or read with caution!)
Today is the launch of brand new campaign that’s near and dear to my heart.
Sloane’s FreEDom from Perfection campaign!
Whether or not you’ve ever had an eating disorder, we can all relate to the idea of trying too hard to be perfect, and feeling inadequate when we don’t quite hit that mark. Whether it’s our bodies and our eating habits, our grades, our relationships, friendships…we all strive for this unattainable goal, possibly to the point of driving ourselves crazy, or causing some serious bodily harm.
Although I consider my ED days behind me, I am by no means perfect. Sometimes I eat a salad when I really want onion rings, or I feel guilty about eating what I think is too much dessert. That little voice still lingers in the back of head sometimes, making itself known at the most inappropriate of times.
When I was deep in my ED, I was all about the calories. I kept a notebook with me at all times, meticulously writing down every thing that went into my mouth. Banana? Count. Two almonds? Write it down. Of course, the ultimate goal was to keep the number as low as I possibly could.
During recovery, I stopped counting. I knew it only fueled the eating disorder, and ultimately, if I was counting calories, I was eating less. I would watch the number rise and feel more and more panic, internally wrestling with myself over doing what was best for my body (umm, eating!) and what the eating disorder wanted me to do.
So for years, I tried to stop counting. I still caught myself doing it once in a while (and to this day, can recall the number of calories of the vast majority of foods off the top of my head) but I made a solid effort to stop, until it became habit.
Once in a while, it started happened again. I would count for a few weeks, remind myself that it wasn’t necessary, and then I would stop again. This has been happening for the last…oh, two years? In fact, one of my New Year’s Resolutions last year was to stop counting entirely. But, I have been pushing that to the back of my head, convincing myself that it’s ok.
During the month of October, I decided to start counting again. I wanted to keep track of my protein intake, because obviously I need a high level of protein to really add muscle. I decided to keep track of my calories as well, to make sure I was “eating enough”.
It didn’t work.
After every meal, I would meticulously update the calorie tracker. As the number got higher, I felt the familiar sense of dread and apprehension creeping into head. At the end of the day, when I didn’t hit my calorie goal (which to be honest, happened almost every day) I would tell myself to try again tomorrow, knowing that deep down I felt relieved.
These emotions are all too familiar. I wouldn’t call it a relapse, but if I continued on like this, I knew that was where I was heading.
My breaking point happened last week, because of these babies.
We didn’t quite finish them all the night of my birthday, so I had one left in the fridge. Last Tuesday night, my mind kept wondering back to the cupcakes. I wanted one, but was too close to my calorie goal for the day for me to feel comfortable eating one. I literally could not stop from thinking about the cupcake at the back of the fridge.
So I ate it. And proceeded to feel immense guilt and annoyance at myself for caving.
That was it. I knew what this was (the ED) and it absolutely had to stop. So, that night I deleted the calorie tracker from my bookmarks and have not counted since. I don’t want to be that person – for whom food is an enemy, always calculating what is and what is not acceptable. I consider myself a healthy living blogger, and that is not an example of health to me.
I’m going to continue to eat high protein, but I know enough about it to do it naturally, without bringing numbers into the equation. I’m going to forget about protein grams, calories, sugar…and just eat in a way that makes me happy.
Writing this is definitely not easy – but it needed to be said. I don’t want to be the sunshine-and-rainbows blogger who talks about how great they’re doing, when they’re suffering on the inside and hiding their disordered habits. I didn’t get into blogging to be that person and I don’t want to start now.
So basically, calorie counting is not the way to go. Whenever anyone asks me if they should count calories, I always say no – but really, I’ve been a bit of a hypocrite, haven’t I?
So I’m done. No more counting – just eating to make myself happy. That, is how I achieve freEDom.
To end on a happier note:
Sweet potato fries make everyone happy, right?
Wine was definitely needed writing this.
<— Can anyone else relate to this post?
<— Do you count calories/macros/anything? Why or why not?