Happy weekend everyone!
Today is an extra special day for me, because I don’t have to go to work. Instead on the immediate agenda is blogging (obviously), cleaning my room, reading a book and spending some quality time with my family.
Today’s post is going to hopefully be the first in a series of healthy living debates. I’d like to invite all readers (weather you usually comment on here or not) to give their opinions and thoughts on these topics. If you have an opinion that doesn’t agree with mine, feel free to say so. I want to hear other people’s insight into these things.
So, today’s topic is calorie counting. When people think of calorie counting they generally automatically associate it with diets and weight loss, obsessive behaviours and eating disorders or Barbie doll blonds who go into restaurants and exclaim in large, obnoxious voices “But I can’t eat THAT. It has like what, a million calories”.
Although a lot of these things are stereotypes, a lot of them have an element of truth to them. Yes, most people that start counting calories do so because they are trying to lose weight. However athletes also sometimes count calories – at least for a certain period of time, to ensure that they are getting ENOUGH energy to fuel them through their grueling work outs. The problem with calorie counting is that once you start, it’s easy for it to spiral into an obsession and makes it very difficult to stop. After some time you automatically “know” the calorie content of certain foods, and although this in itself might not be a bad thing – if it makes you overly obsessive and controlling about the foods you do or don’t eat – there’s something wrong with that.
Calorie counting in my opinion is a tool, one that is useful, but that there is a fine balance to using. I know most healthy living bloggers that have lost weight (Kath or Tina) counted calories at some point, but once they reached their “goal weight” they stopped and started focusing on whole, real foods. The thing is, I’m wondering if the same thing can apply if you’re trying to gain weight. Is calorie counting to obsessive, especially if you’re someone with an ED history? Or is it necessary to get you started in the right direction, and once you start eating enough you can focus on making the right food choices instead?
Right now I’ve started counting calories again, and at first it was a real eye opener for me to see how little I’ve been eating for the last while. So these last few months I’ve been tracking my calories (using this program) and simply logging in my meals for the day and seeing how they add up. The problem is a lot of the times plans change and I end up eating less/more then I expect and it gets a little obsessive logging all the foods into this tracker and constantly worrying if I’m “hitting my target”.
At the same time, I don’t know if just following an exchange plan is going to work for me. For one, I have this habit of always choosing the lowest fat/calorie options, for two I don’t have a reliable food exchange plan (all of mine I’ve gotten off the internet and although I loosely follow them, I’m not sure if I’m on the right track.). Seeing an RD is not an option at this point, so I’m having a hard time with reliable information. I wish I could just focus on eating healthy, “real foods” but when you’re trying to gain weight sometimes the “healthiest” option isn’t always the best option – if you get what I’m saying.
So I’m wondering what you all thing about this issue? Have you ever counted calories – did you find it helpful or detrimental? If you’re gaining weight or have had to for medical reasons, how did you do it?
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. Have a great weekend!