Better With Sprinkles

The Colourful Side to Healthy Living.

freEDom: Why I Stopped Counting Calories (Again).

28 Comments

(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.

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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:

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Sweet potato fries make everyone happy, right?

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And wine.

Wine was definitely needed writing this.

<— Can anyone else relate to this post?

<— Do you count calories/macros/anything? Why or why not?

 

*All images link to sources*
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28 thoughts on “freEDom: Why I Stopped Counting Calories (Again).

  1. I know exactly how you feel girly, and for that reason, I have to stay away far away from counting calories..as far as I’ve come in my recovery I know that that is still a huge trigger for me and it’s just not worth it to possibly put myself on a dangerous path again. I think it’s AWESOME that you realized that you weren’t helping yourself (in the end) by keeping track of everything and even more AMAZING that you’ve done something about it and stopped! Thank you for being courageous enough to write about it here, too! I hope you have a wonderful #freEDom from perfection day 🙂

  2. Let me first start off by saying, I am so proud of you. It’s so easy to see how strong of a person you’ve become through this eating disorder. You saw the bad in your situation and automatically thought to yourself “hey this will only lead to relapse” you knew what you had to do it and your doing it. I love that, and you truly do deserve the biggest award for it. I cant thank you enough for sharing this will all of us. This post right here will inspire so many others hunnie ❤ Continue smiling xo

  3. Sam!!! I’m so proud of you!!!! This post is AMAZING. Seriously, thank you so much for writing it (and ending it with wine!). I completely know how you feel about starting to count again to make sure you’re getting “enough”. It drives me almost as insane as counting to make sure I don’t get too much! I used to count exchanges too, but I’ve had to stop that as well. My body knows what it wants, I just have to trust that. You are amazing and I’m so happy to have you as a support and inspiration. Thanks for linking up!
    xoxo

  4. Mwee! Even though it makes me sad to think that these kind of thoughts still haunt you, I’m super happy to hear that you’ve given calorie counting the boot again. And I hope you know that you’re definitely not alone with these kind of thoughts and struggles. I counted, logged, and obsessed for years before finally getting to a point where I was just so frustrated that I couldn’t keep on doing it anymore. Not only was it time consuming as heck, but I found that the more aware I was of calories/macros, the more that would influence my food choices as the day went on. I ended up giving it up cold turkey, and although it was hard as heck at first, and there were several times where I was tempted to start counting here and there, I can honestly say that I’ve reached a point where I don’t ever want to know again. Ignorance is bliss… and delicious 😀

  5. good for you, I know it can be a tough habit to break. it is something that while you want to not do it, it is impossible now a days to not know the calories of something. i think i am probably the only one that is bothered by the fact that calories are now the first thing they post everywhere, on products, in restaurants. the thought of enjoying food for FOOD has just gone down the drain. makes me so sad. stay strong, you are way more than a number! and our bodies adapt to different amounts each day.

    • I’m conflicted on that as well! I understand if people want to know the calorie counts in their food for health reasons, but I don’t think it needs to be shoved in everyone’s face like that – it should be available for the people that want it, but set aside for those that don’t.

      Thanks as always for the support, Alex! ❤

    • Alex I completely feel the same way about this!! Once in a while I love to get one of the baked items at Starbucks when I’m getting my morning coffee, and I hate that they started putting the calorie count on the display case next to the name of the delicious food! I get that they need to have the info on the website or something (which I think they used to have), but it bothers me that when I go to order my pumpkin cream cheese muffin that I can’t even order it without attaching a number to it.

  6. Thank you so much for your honesty with this post. I cannot be trusted to calorie count, I just can’t. I tried to convince myself I was “making sure I’m eating enough” and of course it didn’t happen. I was thrilled when that number became lower and lower or upset when it was higher. As much as I tried to kid myself, it is impossible for me to feel happy with a growing number… it made me feel guilty. Apart from that, I depended on the counter to tell me when I was hungry. I asked my boyfriend to delete my profile on a counting website and just do not let myself go there.

  7. This is another incredible story. All of them are, really. It’s inspiring to see that you can just stop counting one day. I’ve been “recovered” for a couple years now but I still have the thoughts. I still feel the guilt. It’s so difficult and it makes it so much easier to see that other people are doing it, and are successful at it. I can only hope that it gets easier with time. It sounds like you’re doing great, girl 🙂

  8. I can totally relate to this. I struggled for years with counting calories because of my perfectionist tendencies and it never let do anything other than unhealthy thoughts (and habits). I am not totally against calorie counting for people who are just starting to learn about how to eat properly and need to use it as a guide, but I think it should only be used temporarily if ever. I was using it as a form of control and would also feel guilty if I ate too many calories. Counting calories came with it anxiety and made food a source of stress, rather than fuel and joy. I am just so grateful I was able to get through that stage and now have such a different relationship with food than I used to. I love what you said about blogging and not wanting to be a blogger who is hiding disordered habits – this is just living a lie and not being truthful with readers which is ultimately what blogging should be about! Love this post.

    • Thanks Hayley! I’ve seen a few bloggers lately who are clearly suffering but are putting a false front on their blog; I can understand want to keep some aspects of their life private but I think it’s dishonest. And I don’t want to do that to anyone!

      I’ve been doing fine the first week – haven’t missed calorie counting at all! I know in the end it’s more harmful than it is helpful, so I don’t want to risk it.

  9. I am so glad that I stumbled upon this post. I am currently in the midst of working towards not counting calories at all. I am doing okay so far, but some days are better than others. Posts like these remind me of how important my health is and how unimportant calorie counting is. Thank you!

  10. Cheers to no more counting! I can relate in a somewhat different way… I never (thank god) suffered from and ED but coming off this competition diet for a few days has messed with me a bit. I’m so used to tracking every gram of protein or sodium or sugar that it’s been a little hard to let it go! It’s freaked me out a bit, to be honest.

    • I would love to do a bikini competition one day but I know I have to be mentally equipped to handle the diet part, it’s intense! I’ve seen how strict and meticulous your diet got, especially the last couple of weeks. It would definitely be a difficult habit to break – but once you do I think you’ll feel a sense of relief that you don’t have to count anymore.

  11. Umm, you are awesome.

    That’s pretty much all I have to say about that:)!
    Xxx

  12. I can relate to this because I was also a calorie counter. Even now that I’m recovered I’ve gone back to counting calories as a byproduct of tracking macro and micro nutrients. Like you, I felt anxious as I neared my calorie goal and relieved when I didn’t meet it. It’s hard to let go of but I’m working on it. It sounds like we’re in similar places.

    Right now I’m not counting anything because it makes me unhealthy. I just need to eat enough to be satisfied and move on.

    I’m glad you came clean about this because it helps me put my own behaviors into perspective.

    Good luck! I know we can both give up this bad habit!

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