I Tried Counting Calories Again and I Didn’t Like It

I am currently typing this in a lawn chair in front of my house!

sun

The sun finally came out to play this weekend after a rather gloom and doom week. I’m just trying to keep my laptop from overheating and keep myself from spazzing out every time a bug flies past my ear. I’m also (hopefully) getting a nice tan on the front half of my body. #twoshadesofAlison

What’s been shakin’ since I talked to you last?

On Thursday night I took Pop out to dinner for his birthday! He chose a local Italian restaurant, where we ate copious amounts of {delicious} dairy and salt 🙂

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bread and olive oil to start // to share: burrata salad + field greens salad with gorgonzola, bacon, and walnuts // my entree: grilled swai with sautéed spinach and rice pilaf

Dessert was my favorite, as is often the case.

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warm apple tart a la mode with a side of birthday singing

‘Twas a joyful celebration indeed!

Unfortunately, one thing bothered me while eating this fine dinner. For the first time in a long time, I thought about the number of calories I must have eaten during that meal. I didn’t let the the thoughts affect how much I ate, but they definitely made me quite anxious.

I’ve eaten several big dinners in the past year yet never worried about calories. Why was I anxious all of a sudden? I suspect that it was because of the fact that I’m not exercising nearly as much as I was just a few weeks ago, so I feel guilty eating that much, even though the guilt is completely unwarranted.

I keep reminding myself that need to eat a lot right now, and that’s what I’ve been doing. For the most part, I very happily do so! Like on Friday when I met up with my beautiful friend Fiona at the mall. I had a tasty late lunch at my internship, shared some of Fiona’s fries, devoured a cup of Cold Stone ice cream, and then ate dinner at home, despite being kinda full from ice cream.

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I don’t know what the peanut butter supreme Quest bar tastes like, but it’s not peanut butter

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mint Oreo is my go-to amazingness

Some people like to track their calories when they are recovering from an eating disorder or gaining weight for health reasons (like me!). In all honesty though, I’ve had no interest in counting calories in order to make sure I’m eating enough. I’m trying to eat as much as I can and as densely as I can, but I have no idea how many calories I eat every day.

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overnight oats smoothie: oats, Greek yogurt, milk, cinnamon, chia seeds, peanut butter, frozen banana, greens, topped with lots of trail mix

The reason I don’t want to count calories is pretty simple: I counted calories throughout my eating disorder, which led to restriction.

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night snack: full fat Greek yogurt, berries, cinnamon raisin WB Kitchen cookie, spoonful of pb

Of course, my mindset is in a much healthier place today. This weekend, I figured that I should probably gauge the number of calories I was eating on a given day to make sure I was eating enough. Thus, on Saturday, I counted my calories, keeping in mind that I want anywhere from 2500 to 3000 calories per day.

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Saturday breakfast: big toast with sunflower seed butter, peanut butter, banana + full fat Greek yogurt with berries + almond coconut milk

So I went about my day analyzing the portions and calories I ate after each meal and snack. If I tried to count before eating, I knew I might be tempted to hold back. I didn’t feel anxious throughout the day fortunately. By eating completely freely, I actually ate about 2800 calories— right in the range.

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afternoon snack smoothie: almond coconut milk, half a banana, big spoonful of pb, and Quest strawberries and cream protein powder // and then another spoonful of pb after

It was helpful to know that I’ve been eating enough, and I feel at peace with how much I’m eating, but I still didn’t like counting calories. First of all, it’s time consuming and tedious. Secondly, it reminded me of when I counted calories during my ED, and I feel that if I did it consistently, I might fall into stupid guilt again, just like I did at my dad’s birthday dinner.

My main points: It’s good to have a general idea of how much I’m eating, but I don’t want to overthink it by counting calories. I don’t think I ever want to count calories again if I don’t have to. It works for some people, but I’m not one of those people.

This was Saturday’s dinner, loaded with delicious and {mostly} nutritious calories.

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I used this recipe for slow cooker pulled pork, and it was heavenly. We ate it on top of sweet potatoes with a side salad dressed with homemade honey mustard vinaigrette.

It was also one of the easiest things to make ever! The slow cooker is one of those pieces of technology that deserves all the praise it gets. Also, the satisfaction of the pork falling clean off the bone as soon as I took it out of the slow cooker— everyone must experience that satisfaction.

Alrighty. It’s time to grab a snack and then go for a walk before this sunshine goes away.

Hope you all have a beautiful day! Do what works for you, whatever that is.

P.S. I made a vlog with Daliza this weekend. Coming soon to a post near you.

So tell me:

Calorie counting— like it or leave it?

Do you have a slow cooker? Any favorite recipes you like to make with it? 

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24 thoughts on “I Tried Counting Calories Again and I Didn’t Like It

  1. I think it’s easy to go from casually counting calories to obsessing over it. 😦 Sometimes I count them more out of curiosity for a day or two but I haven’t been doing it consistently because I think it’s easy to go a little crazy with it!

  2. That ice cream! Looks so delicious! I haven’t been to Coldstone in far too long and am feeling quite inspired to make a trip in the near future : ) I usually track my calories and macros during peak weeks for marathon training, for the main purpose to make sure I am getting enough fuel. But it definitely is easy to start obsessing over the numbers.

  3. Burrata is the BEST. Love that shiz. About calorie counting, I have the exact same mentality about it as you do. It was a huge part of my eating disorder, and now I have absolutely no intentions of ever doing it again. For me, it is not healthy and makes eating a math equation which is not enjoyable. When I was trying to put on weight, I actually did count to make sure I got 3000 calories a day but at the same time now I can see part of me did that just to maintain some sense of “control”. Now I am able to be blissfully unaware, thank goodness, but it was super hard to break the habit after years of counting.

  4. Totally leave the calorie counting! I find that if I try to count calories, I obsess about every single one of them before, during, and afterwards. That is not what recovery is about. I love your method of eating as much and as densely as you can. You are doing so well, Alison! Keep it up, lovely lady!

  5. Completely agree with everything you wrote about. Unfortunately calories counting has been engrained in my head from so many years of this awful ED but I find that having at least one meal or snack prepared by someone else or out is helping to loosen the reigns. Our bodies don’t know numbers and some days it wants more someday a less. Plus it sucks the fun out of eating!!!
    This is really encouraging Alison and a huge reminder. I love you girl!

  6. Great post! Its reassuring to know that its possible to be able to eat the ‘right’ amount of calories intuitively.
    I currently calorie count because I am in recovery but I am trying to not calorie count after I reach my minimum calorie intake for the day. It is a very difficult habit to get out of.
    I don’t have a slow cooker sadly…
    Thanks for the post, its fab:)

  7. NAY to calorie counting! I don’t think I could ever go back. It was such a huge part of my eating disorder as well, and ugh. Never again. Giving it up was seriously one of the best things I’ve ever done, and while you can never go back and unlearn the calorie counts for things, you do reach a pint where they don’t even really register anymore… where there might be a tiny little thought in the back of your mind about it, but it need comes to the forefront. I know some people swear by calorie-counting, but I think it’s way too easy to get into a bad place with it. Our bodies know how much we need.

  8. I don’t count calories & wish people wouldn’t worry about it because quite simply, calorie counting doesn’t work & it’s not a sustainable way to live. I probably say this on everyone’s blog when ‘calorie conversations’ come up, but understanding our bodies isn’t as simple as a math equation. We’re complex chemistry labs and more than anything, food quality is so much more important than caloric quantity.

  9. It’s a good idea to count once in a while to get a good idea, but counting every day is not nessesary! Good on you for counting after the meal by the way, its a great tool to rid of pre-meal anxiety that I’ve never heard of before. This is a nice post to visit on those days ive eaten too much!

  10. I love how logically you think about all of this, Alison. Logic is your best friend when it comes to times in your life like this. When I was completely off exercise, I had to constantly remind myself that I was doing this for a purpose. There was a plan for all of this and my main goal was to just eat and nothing more. You are incredibly strong, and I know you are battling with all of your might! You have got a goo head on your shoulders girl.

  11. I think the most important aspect of calorie counting is just your mentality behind doing it! So as long as someone’s doing it for healthy reasons, it’s totally fine by me…but I can definitely see how it’s a slippery slope. Love your honesty!

  12. I feel so much more free now that I don’t count calories – I eat based on what I feel I need and that freedom is wonderful.
    Oh and full fat greek yoghurt is the bomb! I swear I could not eat fat free anymore, it doesn’t taste like anything!

  13. I count calories and think there is definitely some obsessive behavior that can creep in; however, I also like to know where I’m at during the day because I tend to overeat portions. I don’t think counting is for everyone and, I’ll admit, I probably shouldn’t count as closely as I do but it has become habit and doesn’t take much mental energy to track.

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