It seems like almost every day I hear about a new diet or a new way of eating. People swear by shakes, pills, wraps and what have you. Heck, I’ve even fallen into some of those weird ways of eating. However, one of the things I’ve stopped doing and I’ll never go back to is counting calories.
My obsession with food started back in college. Growing up, I knew I wasn’t the thinnest girl in class and I hit puberty rather early so I knew I was different. I really didn’t care though that’s how I looked and that was that. College was a different story.
I first realized I was different was when I went to a social that the sororities on campus were hosting. All these girls were so tall and beautiful! They looked like models compared to me. I was five foot, mocha skin, and curvier than them. I just accepted that I was different and moved on.
When I joined the ROTC program, my height was my enemy. According to the height weight standards I needed to be very thin for my height. Even though I was active and could still pass the physical fitness test, I faced expulsion from the program due to my weight. This brought on stress and starving myself before height weight to make the cut. This continued for multiple check ins until my time in the program was over. I don’t think I ever lost much weight but simply dehydrated myself so I can meet the measurements.
I began obsessing and cutting out high calorie foods. I tracked EVERYTHING I ate and I would do multiple workouts a day to burn enough calories. If I wanted to have some sweets, I would go on runs to be able to have one BITE of chocolate. However, not one pound went away. I began eating less and doing more. I would mix protein powders with water and count that as a meal because it was only 200 calories and I could use the rest on real food.
When I finally graduated from college, my body hated me. I weighed more than what I did before I started school and my stress was through the roof. My obsession was somewhat tamed during my first year out. I had just gotten married and started a new job. However, it came back with a vengeance soon after.
I broke down when I finally admitted to myself that I purposely would ignore my hunger and skip meals at work because I was worried about calories. I would suck on mints all day so I could eat a good dinner. That’s when I declared enough was enough.
The process of learning how to eat healthy without obsession took some time but I’m here now. Once I fed my body with nourishing whole foods, I began to lose weight. My running reached a whole new level and I was finally able to achieve goals that I hadn’t been able to when I was counting calories.
Feeding my body when I’m hungry regardless of the calories has allowed me to develop muscles and become stronger than ever. Running a marathon was not something my body could do in its deprived state. These past two years, I’ve learned how to nourish and help my body. I’ve reached my healthy weight and medically all my numbers are where they are supposed to be.
I vow to never go back to counting calories again. I know that days when I run 10 miles will require more food than those when I run 3 but I don’t fret about it. I pack my diet with wonderful fruits and veggies and try to stay from processed foods. That being said, pizza is my absolute favorite food and we have it multiple times a month at our house!
Have you ever had a calorie counting issue?