Imagine there were 2 plates with desserts on them. Yes, desserts. That thing most of you calorie counters fear! (I know I did at one point.)
You knew the first plate contained 200 calories worth of pure, fresh fruit on it. Then, all you knew about the second plate, was that it totaled 100 calories.
Now, calorie counters, which one would you psychologically choose? Would you choose plate one, because you knew of all it's benefits? Or would you choose plate two because it contained less calories?
You'd probably choose plate two. I knew I would have. Why is that? Because you are letting a number consume you. You're not thinking of the benefits of the food. You're thinking about the calories. Not whether or not the calories are "good" or "bad" for you. Not whether or not plate two could contain a miniature sized chocolate bar with 15 grams of unnatural, refined sugar. Nope. You're letting a number control you, all because you "want to lose weight". You think it's healthy, right? I know I did. Emphasis on did. (And, no, that chocolate wouldn't be a "bad" choice if you MEANT to choose it and actually WANTED it. The point I'm trying to make is, why did you choose the chocolate? Not for a treat, for the lower calorie amount. That's the point I'm trying to make.)
Now, I know for a fact not all calorie counters are like this. But, I do know most are. Even girls who are just trying to "watch what they eat" do this! Is it healthy? Not even close. By focusing on a number, you are becoming your own worst enemy. Numbers are not everything.
Calorie counting, for me, had it's pros and it's cons. But, once it comes down to it, the cons override the pros and I actually honestly wish I never in my life ever let myself count calories. Not a single one. It kinda put me in a mental prison, you know? I've looked at food as a number, not as fuel... All because I let myself get obsessed... Just. To. Lose. Weight. which is such an unimportant factor in life. There's so many opportunities I've resisted because of being "afraid" of what I'm gonna eat. Being this way made me drop down to an even lower weight than originally planned, nearly underweight, actually.
Calorie counting made me start to fear foods. No food should be feared. Not even a 1500 calorie, 25 gram of fat meal from IHOP should be feared! Why? Because having it once in a while won't do a thing to you! It won't hurt you, and it won't effect your progress. You won't gain 20 pounds from one meal. It takes countless meals on end. But, with the mindset I developed from counting calories consistently, I thought the opposite. I thought if I had a cookie, I'd gain all 70 pounds I had lost back! I knew it wasn't logical... But there was something in me that told me it was logical. That something told me to resist any and all "unhealthy" food because I'll have to double my workout and burn off all the calories from it, or I would gain. And, honestly, when it comes down to it... Even if I did consume 7000 calories of "bad" food in one day and gained two pounds... Who would notice? No one, that's who.
I put myself on a path to somewhere I never thought I'd be. I used to be able to enjoy and appreciate my food. I used to be excited to have a "cheat" day, or a day where I just ate what I wanted. But, I haven't had one in awhile because I put myself in a routine of eating basically the same things, all considered healthy, every day. Calorie counting ultimately turned me into an orthorexic... I never thought I would have ANY form of disordered eating or thoughts. It's hard to believe, actually. People have told me orthorexia is a "good" thing... Yeah, I could have a worse ED, but it's honestly just as hard as any other one. I can't even begin to explain how wrong someone is when they say orthorexia isn't a "bad thing". It's a struggle, just like any other eating disorder. It's hard, it's tough, and it controls you.
But, this is what I want to end off saying: it's not about deprivation, and it's not about avoiding foods of any kind. It's not about avoiding situations where you may eat unhealthily, and it's not about living life focusing on numbers. What's it really about? Balance. Balance, moderation, and listening to your dang body! I feel too young to be worrying so much, but I'm ready to completely let go of worrying about calories... How about you, fellow calorie-counters? I'm ready to challenge myself with any "fear food" I have... Are you?
Disclaimer: again, I know counting calories isn't ALWAYS unhealthy, but the point I'm trying to make here is, most people think that obsessing over the amount of calories in something is healthy... It's not! Nutrition > calories. Always.It's okay to be aware... It's not okay to be obsessed.
P.S. You know who obsesses over calories and acts like it's healthy? HUNGRY GIRL! GOSH! This morning when I was watching her show, she said granola was "bad for you" because the small serving size and high calorie/fat amount... BUT, YOU DON'T EVEN NEED A LOT OF GRANOLA TO FEEL SATISFIED! There's a reason there's a smaller serving size on most granola packages... DUH! Oh, and then she continued to go on and say plain cereal flakes are better for you because the "big" serving size and lower calorie amount... She's giving people a TOTALLY wrong mindset for food. (I do like some of her recipes, but sometimes... She's crazy, haha.)