7 Ways To Stop Thinking About CaloriesFeb 16, 2021
If you’re anything like I was (and millions of other women out there!), counting calories is something you do every single day. Multiple times a day. Maybe you have a daily limit that you always work to abide by. And if you surpass it, you feel crappy. When I used to go over my (ridiculous) 1200 calorie limit, I’d just stop logging calories and go wild. If I didn’t log it, it didn’t happen right?! 😜
But you know counting calories is harming you, it’s controlling you. And you want to let it go, be free. Well, I’ve put together 7 tips to help you let go of this behaviour and start to live life way more freely!
1. STOP CALORIE COUNTING BEHAVIOURS
These small behaviours sometimes become so automatic to us, we forget we’re even doing them. I mean things like clicking into that reminder from a calorie counting app to log your lunch calories, or looking at the back of a food wrapper for the calorie count, or even saying to someone, “Oh God! That cake was like 500 calories, now I’ve got to get to the gym tonight”.
Usually, I recommend solving from the root of the problem - your beliefs. But it never hurts to tackle it from the other side as well - the behaviours. So, cut out those calorie-counting behaviours. They keep you obsessed over calories. Delete the apps, stop wearing the fitness tracker, catch yourself peeking at the calorie count on a food wrapper.
It’s about making that conscious decision to stop doing the behaviours. And it can definitely be scary at first - you’ve relied on these actions to keep you ‘in line’ for so long! This is the time to lean in to that fear and realise that on the other side, is something so freeing.
2. START LISTENING TO YOUR BODY INSTEAD
One reason we start focusing on calories is because we’ve been told by just about every diet out there that it’s the holy grail of weight loss. And yes, you do need a calorie deficit to lose weight. But our body is so much wiser than any app out there! Your body is so much wiser than a 1200 calorie limit.
Somewhere along the way we totally forgot to listen to our body. To trust it. So now is the time to start listening again. It’s time to go freestyle! Your body ultimately knows above all else what it needs to function well and to help you thrive.
Start listening to it by dropping any diet or meal plans you’ve got. Let your body decide the meals. It won’t need planning - it’ll tell you what it needs moment-by-moment. It’s just about you slowing down and actually listening. It could look like you taking 30 seconds to slow down, breathe, and ask yourself “What do I want to eat for lunch?”. This may take practice, but let the body guide the answer.
Bear in mind, if you let your body starve all day and don’t listen to it - and then suddenly do after hours of not eating. Your body will be screaming out for high-fat, high-sugar foods. It’s trying to get a ton of calories in because it actually fears death! So listen to it all day - when you start to feel hungry - ask it what it needs then instead of waiting all day.
3. TRY MINDFUL EATING
This is linked to listening to your body. It’s about being present for the eating experience so your body registers that it’s actually having a meal. If you’re totally somewhere else while eating - maybe watching Netflix or chatting with friends - you might not fully take in the eating experience. You might find that only an hour or two later you’re hungry again. So be mindful. Be present. Savour the food. Take it slow. Let your body send you those signals telling you it’s had enough.
4. SHIFT YOUR FOCUS TO WELLBEING INSTEAD OF CALORIES
When the focus is calories - it brings up a lot of anxiety and pressure. You feel that disappointment and regret when you go over your daily limit. And, of course, you could still eat crappy food and stay within your limit. It’s not really the metric you want to focus on. Shift your focus to looking after yourself, increasing your sense of wellbeing, achieving the balance you want in life.
Most of us say we want to be healthy, but often find it difficult to actually do the things. For a lot of us, doing what’s good for us is actually such a foreign feeling. We’ve grown up doing things that harm us - that’s familiar for us. So doing the opposite is difficult! It’s not in line with our identity of ourself. It’s not who we are.
So while eating fruit and veg seems obvious and easy, doing it is a different story for some of us. It’s about shifting your beliefs deep down. What kind of person do you want to be? Keep reminding yourself of that, and start taking actions bit-by-bit that line up with that new identity. Each time you do it, reaffirm to yourself “Yep, that’s easy. It’s just who I am!”
5. GET THE BALANCE YOU WANT
Another way to bring more wellbeing into your system is achieving balance. Instead of being obsessed with calories, give yourself peace by allowing yourself a variety of foods. Both ‘body’ foods and ‘soul’ foods. Foods that nourish you, and foods that hit the spot! Once you start feeling more satisfied by the variety of foods you’re eating, calories won’t seem as important. You won’t be going ‘overboard’ as often because you’re not holding back. You’re not saying ‘no’ because something has too many calories only to then binge on it later.
6. GIVE YOURSELF GRACE
This process will take time if you’ve been obsessed about calories for a long time. You probably have that mental calculator in your mind that’s always running in the background. And you’ll probably always have a rough estimate of how many calories are in everything - that knowledge won’t go away. But your beliefs behind needing to count calories will. Eventually, you’ll find safety in NOT counting calories. Be kind to yourself - it won’t happen overnight.
7. GO TO THE ROOT OF THE BEHAVIOUR
If you follow me on Instagram, you definitely saw this one coming. We want to dig into WHY you’re so focussed on counting calories. Why do you have this control mechanism in place? The control gives us a sense of safety. Safety that we won’t go overboard and gain more weight. At a time when you don’t trust yourself to make correct decisions, a calorie limit and sticking to it gives you peace. At least sometimes anyway! But what’s underneath that fear of gaining weight? It is that you won’t be worthy if you do? People won’t love you as much, won’t accept you? You’ll feel embarrassed that you’re out of control and have ‘let yourself go’. You fear all that comes with weight stigma - being lazy, not caring about your health, unwarranted comments from people.
That’s all understandable! While there are people who have a problem with people who weigh more, most people don’t! Most people see beyond the way someone looks. Look for evidence of this in your life - do you choose friends just by how they look? Would you stop being friends with your best friend if she gained weight?
Other than looking for counter-evidence, how else can you soothe that scared, little girl inside of you? Maybe it’s inner child work - visualising her and asking her what she needs.
Maybe it’s building new, more empowering beliefs around weight. There are many ways to soothe this fearful part of you - it’s definitely something we go very deep into in 1:1 Coaching.
I hope these tips have given you a new view on calorie counting and how to stop it. I’d love to hear if you implemented any of these! Comment down below or drop me a DM on Instagram!
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