Remember when I put the call out for guest posts a week or so ago?? I got SO many responses that I’ll probably be featuring one a week for the next 6 months (THANK YOU!!!!) I thought I’d kick off the, “Best Decisions,” series by writing one myself. I have one to share with you this week and if you’re in a place where I was just 5 years ago, you might NEED to read this.
One of the best decisions I ever made was purposely DITCHING THE MATH.
Let me elaborate…
I’ve talked about my ED numerous times before, but for new readers (HI!), you might not be aware of my history (go here for the full series). Basically, from my Junior year in High School until my Sophomore year in college (so 4 years), I had an eating disorder (anorexia & bulimia). It started out as most ED’s do – with a DIET. I remember wanting to get skinnier for Cross Country season and to do so, for the first time in my (albeit short) life, I started paying attention to food. I turned every package over and read the label. Not only did I read those numbers, but I MEMORIZED the fat grams, calories and sugar content of probably 20 different foods. 20 food items doesn’t sound like a lot – because it isn’t. When you have disordered eating habits, you stick with the same boring foods, over and over and over again. Because they’re safe.
Because you’ve done the math on them.
For four years (and honestly, for four more after that), I did my math. I counted every calorie that I put into my starving/angry/despondent body. Going out to eat or to parties were not in my comfort zone. I hadn’t done the math for those foods. How could I really KNOW?!!? How could I be in control?!?
Looking back, I wouldn’t say those years were lifeless or horrible – I had friendships and love and laughter. Instead, I would say that I was ignorant. And very lost.
When I turned a corner on my ED and started to recover, I had to ditch the math. Counting calories just wasn’t conducive to my recovery. It was hard at first and even now, my tendency is to be intrigued by apps like MyFitnessPal (downloaded it, had to delete it) and other numbers-based programs. If I’m doing my math, I’m easily hyperfocused on those numbers. This is the exact opposite approach that I would give to any weight loss client – we track food, we write everything down. Tracking can be a great and valuable tool in the right hands.
I know enough about myself to KNOW that those aren’t my hands. In my hands, I turn these types of things into IDOLS.
These days, I eat intuitively. My focus is on whole foods, but I’m flexible in my approach. I’ve ditched the math – I go to functions and don’t have to bring my “safe” foods with me. It has taken YEARS to get to this place. I just want to encourage anyone who might be reading – if you’re stuck in a place where DOING THE MATH is controlling your life and your food choices….STOP! Delete the apps, throw out the journal and start TRUSTING your body to know when it’s full and what it craves.
The math might steer you in a completely wrong direction….but I promise you, that your body will not.
QUESTION: Do you count calories? Can you do this safely and without addiction?? <-email me please if you need any further suggestions!