01/28/2014

Calories.

Today’s topic is a bit uncomfortable, a touch taboo, and one I typically tend to avoid talking about at all costs.  I think there is a stigma in the healthy living world that if you count calories you are obsessive, but if you don’t then you will gain weight.

It seems as if every article I read in fitness, health and women’s magazines talks about getting that bikini body by losing those last 10 pounds, typically with a prescribed calorie count suggested.  Trust me, I love those women’s health magazines as much as the next girl, and in fact it is my dream to write for a glossy magazine and has been ever since I was a little girl.  However, it is also these magazines that introduced me to calorie counting and might encourage some women into believing that whittling down to a certain size may be the key to feeling happy and free.  For a rational adult, this advice may be taken with a grain of salt, but for impressionable teenagers and young women, these articles can hit right where it hurts.

Fitness

This my friends is how it begins, a pound here and a pound there, seemingly innocent beginnings, but it can turn into something not so pretty.  To some, a piece of cake is simply that, a piece of cake; a delicious dessert served on special occasions typically while celebrating a person or event.  To a calorie counter though, that simple piece of cake may be seen as a 500 calorie monstrosity that can either be eaten and followed by a 5 mile run, or avoided and not eaten at all.

Treats and Sweets

I have fallen into the calorie counting trap in the past, and I am sure the majority of women you know have tried it at least once as well.  We have all been there and whether you take it to an extreme or not, the fact is that everybody is different and although 1,500 calories may be perfect for one, it may not be enough for someone else.  The same way counting calories for some may be a boring old chore; counting calories for someone else can become an unhealthy obsession that can quickly take over one’s life.

Christmas Dinner

Here is the thing; I don’t count calories anymore, plain and simple.  It is not fun for me and it’s not a game, and I find that I am much happier and more carefree when a number on a page or the number on a scale does not make or break my day.  Have I put on weight since I made this choice?  I am honestly not sure since my clothes still fit, even some being looser than when I was calorie counting, but if I did put on weight then it is something that obviously needed to happen.  My body and mind simply required the nutrients and the weight that perhaps came along with it.  When I was calorie counting I was grumpy, on edge, cold, hungry, and oh yes, wasn’t getting the proper nutrients I needed as a woman and my body began fighting back.  It’s funny that if you actually listen closely, your body tells you what it needs to be healthy, but somewhere along the line we let the outside world try to advise us instead.

Now this doesn’t mean I eat anything and everything that is put in front of me.  A while back I made the decision to focus on nutrients and whole foods instead of calories.  So although I may be eating more leafy greens and other lower calorie whole foods, the calorie count is balanced out with the whole grains, lean meats, dairy and plenty of healthy fats I include as well.  Oh, and it turns out there is still room for a slice of chocolate cake or two, and even a few cinnamon rolls in my life as well.

Cinnamon Rolls

Let me tell you right now ladies, if you don’t take anything else from this whole post, just remember that healthy fats are your friends!  No, I am not saying go order a large fry or eat a slice of cheesecake every single day.  Moderation is still the key even when you’re not counting calories.  Greasy, saturated fats are not the best choice, although they absolutely have their place in a healthy diet.  I am talking about healthy fats like coconut oil, olive oils, peanut butter, almonds, avocados, walnuts, and any kind of other monounsaturated fats that can be found at your local grocery.

Oatmeal Bar

When I was calorie counting I avoided these types of foods at all costs because they could easily take up a majority of my calories for the day.  This means that I focused on a low-fat diet and didn’t have a bite of peanut butter for literally years.  Depressing!  Now, I basically go through a jar a week because after years of fat deprivation, my body absolutely craves it and needs it to survive and thrive.  I also cook my eggs in coconut oil, slather real butter on my toast, top everything with avocado, and eat full-fat ice cream when the cravings strike.

This along with learning how-to handle stress, listening to my body when it needs rest, and incorporating strength training with my cardio are all reasons why my body is now working properly and doing what it is supposed to do!  My metabolism is better than it has been in a long time, I look forward to strength training and enjoy HIIT workouts so much more than day-after-day of steady state cardio, and I am no longer simply ignoring my hunger pangs.  I love myself from the inside-out now that I am truly giving my body and mind what it needs to live.  I feel a peace inside my heart that I haven’t felt in a long, long time that has resulted in more confidence and self-love than I could ever imagine.

Jana_Fashion

I am absolutely not slapping your hand if you’re a calorie counter, because remember, what works for one may not work for someone else.  However, I have been feeling a subtle nudge to share my experience with all of you in case I can help even one person release the calorie counting obsession and find what is believed to be true freedom!

If you ever have any questions or need advice, please feel free to email me at newlywifehealthylife@gmail.com , I am happy to chat or to simply listen to you!  Remember though, I am not a Registered Dietician or a nutrition expert, but I am happy to share my own story and experiences!

I noticed a verse while reading Girlfriend in God that really spoke to me…

“We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…”

1 Thessalonians 2:8

That is what I try to do on this blog; live my life with all of you!  Although my topics are typically light-hearted and fun, it is important to dig a little deeper sometimes to remind you all that I am only human and am still learning along the way as well!

Conversation Time.

  • Calorie Counting: Yes or no?  What do you think, is it an obsession or a necessity for losing weight?
  • What is a bit of nutrition advice that you have found works for you?
  • Do you eat a lot of healthy fats as well?  What type of nutrient does your body seem to crave?
  • If you were a calorie counter in the past, how did you manage to ditch the numbers game?

Comments

  1. Kaitlyn says:

    I love this post! I used to calorie count to “check in” and see how much I was eating, but seeing large numbers would scare me and I’d try and restrict to get a more “acceptable” number. I didn’t think it was normal to be eating as much as I was, but as you mentioned, my body fought back! It needed all of that energy.
    I actually recently met with an RD, who said that I need at least 2000-2200 cals a day just to live and to keep my metabolism going strong. Crazy! She said that as long as the foods are nutrient rich (with some treats, of course), my body won’t gain weight, but will use all of those many calories for ENERGY!! 🙂

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment Kaitlyn! When I first told myself I was going to eat more than X calories, seeing a larger number was just too much for me. I began realizing that I didn’t need to track my calories if I ate when I was hungry though because my body knew what it was doing.

      I actually agree with your RD… I think eating much less than the calories you mentioned can set up a lot of women for medical problems they may not even know exists until later, such as when trying to have a baby. You don’t have to be super skinny to not be eating enough!

  2. Amazing post. I can really relate because I was a diehard calorie counter and am only now starting to really rid this “diet mentality.” It’s certainly not easy but life is a journey right? It’s funny, I actually just started writing a post on calorie counting. Thanks for writing this, it was really powerful.
    Amy @ The Little Honey Bee recently posted…Adding {Healthy} Fats to Your Diet {Fit Tip Tuesday}My Profile

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      I think that is the hardest thing about calorie counting is that it is extremely difficult to just turn off that mentality when you don’t want to do it anymore. I agree, life is a journey and sometimes we have to go through things if it only means we get to relate to others and help them! 🙂

  3. LOVE!! I don’t count either… I never really have, but I do know I eat more calories now due to not shying away from those healthy fats. I love your heart and your message! xoxo
    Brittany @ Delights and Delectables recently posted…The Sneak Peak of Baby DelightMy Profile

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      I love you too friend! Brave women like you are the ones who opened my eyes to what true health means. That is why I wanted to share my story today, because if I can help even one other person then it is worth putting myself out there!

  4. Great post Jana! I definitely fell in the calorie counting trap and it’s just that – a trap! I eat what my body tells me to eat now, with the focus on whole quality foods. I feel better and actually weigh less than when I ate crap and counted calories. Live is for living, not analyzing every ounce of food that goes into our bodies.
    Sarah @ Blonde Bostonian recently posted…My Rhabdo Experience: 1 Year LaterMy Profile

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      Thanks Sarah! I agree, calorie counting can easily become a trap and it can be really difficult to turn that mentality off even when you don’t want to do it anymore. And I agree as well that focusing on eating quality whole foods is the much better choice than analyzing every chip or snack calorie that goes into your body!

  5. Calorie counting is a vicious cycle. I used to meticulously do it until the day I realized that healing my gut was not a diet – could not be a diet – in order to heal. Great thoughts!
    Sarah Kay Hoffman recently posted…First Comes Love, Then Comes Cleaning {and a Mighty Nest Giveaway}My Profile

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      Thank you so much Sarah! I agree, calorie counting can become such a terrible cycle and that is why I wanted to share this piece. As hard as it is, it can be possible to shut that mentality off, but it will just take time!

  6. Jana,

    LOVE your post. I too used to calorie count. At first, I thought it worked. I looked slim, I was getting compliments, I lost weight. The thing is…I was not happy. Calories became my demon. I would try to cut as many calories from my meals as I could-Veggie soup with whole wheat pasta? I’d omit the whole wheat pasta just to save myself some measly calories. I actually became underweight and anemic…It was a slow realization that what I was doing to myself wasn’t good for my body or my mental state. Now, I eat similarly to how you described. Mostly whole foods, healthy fats, lots of fruits and veggie, and the occasional hamburger and milkshake. I listen to my body, I eat when I’m hungry. I am so much happier and healthier now.

    Thank you so much for sharing. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone on this 🙂

    Sam

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      Hi Samantha,

      Thank you so much for sharing your comment! So many women can relate to your story, including myself. I think so many times women start counting calories, see results, and then it becomes an unhealthy obsession causing us to want to lose more and more and thinking cutting even more calories will help speed up the process. I think it is a slow realization for so many of us because the symptoms don’t begin to show until after awhile.

      Listening to our bodies definitely aid in the happiness level we experience! You are so welcome, and I am glad I took a chance and shared my experience. You are absolutely not alone in this at all! So many of us have been there, it can just be a hard topic to talk about sometimes!

  7. Counting calories does NOT work for me. It seriously sent me into a downward spiral of obsession- and yes, avoiding the healthy fats. I am much happier and more carefree now that I have stopped counting. Have I gained weight? Yes. Do I know how much? No. Am I okay with it? Yes! My body needed it :).
    Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl recently posted…Roasted French Onion PotatoesMy Profile

  8. I haven’t calorie counted in a long time. I now just eat when I’m hungry and I try to reach for nutrient dense things like veggies and fruits first followed by protein and healthy fat. My big issue is my love of simple carbs, so I’m constantly trying to keep that in check. When I manage that, my weigh stabilizes at a place I’m comfortable with.
    MCM Mama recently posted…#beautifulrun and Treadmill Tell-AllMy Profile

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      I agree that choosing nutrient rich foods allows us to not count calories and lets our bodies adjust accordingly since we are feeding it properly. That is when true hunger cues begin to work. It may be easy to think you’re hungry if a pizza is placed in front of you, but it can be more realistic to really know if you reach for an apple instead since most people don’t eat apples out of pure enjoyment like a pizza!

  9. I’m so glad you addressed this (very taboo!) topic! I love what you have to say here. We’re absolutely on the same page. I used to always be counting calories – it was exhausting! I trust my body WAY more than I used to, which is why I think I’ve realized calorie counting is just not for me. When my body is hungry, I eat, when it’s full, I stop. I’m totally up for satisfying the occasional craving too!
    Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries recently posted…Half Marathon Training with a BabyMy Profile

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      I love you so much Ash and you are one of those amazing, wonderful women who changed my life when it comes to this topic! Because of you, I realized I had a problem that I didn’t even know I had! That is a big reason why I wanted to share my experiences today in case I can help at least one woman the same way you helped me! 🙂 xoxo

  10. NO CALORIE COUNTING FOR ME! I was sucked in in the past, just like you – but I WILL NEVER count them again. Plus, I am NOT a numbers girl, so why why why would I want to confuse myself with all that number garbage! LOL! I just want to eat my food and be merry! 😉 Of course, I stick to very healthy foods!!!
    GiGi Eats Celebrities recently posted…This Recipe is a Touch Down!My Profile

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      I think so many of us have experienced calorie counting at one point or another, and thankfully making it no longer an option. Too funny, I am not a numbers girl either! 😉

  11. Love this! So glad you addressed it 🙂 It’s tough to see healthy living bloggers that constantly post teeny tiny meal proportions and I can’t help but think HOW do they eat so few calories all the time?? I’m so glad you talked about HEALTHY FATS! That’s definitely something everyone needs to know, especially because those healthy fats are some of the best and easiest foods to prepare quickly!
    Sarah @ Sweet Miles recently posted…Chocolate Chip Pecan Skillet CookieMy Profile

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      Thanks so much Sarah! It is definitely a sensitive subject matter, but one I think we need to talk openly about. I used to be one of those people who thought super small portions and calories was normal, but that was before I realized the damage that can be done to one’s body. Yes, yes on the healthy fats! I agree, the fats are my favorite lol! Peanut butter, avocado, nuts, etc., are all delish! 🙂

  12. Kelly V. says:

    Ah, you took the words right out of my mouth, and written better than I could ever try! I have never been one to calorie count, but when I started training with a personal trainer I tracked what I was eating so she could help my diet – we added to what I was eating simply because I was training harder/better. I could have figured it out without tracking because I was hungrier, but it was nice knowing in advance I wasn’t crazy 🙂 I like living life happy and enjoying what I eat when I want it!

    (Oh, and I love that verse – thanks for sharing glimpses of your life!)

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      You are so incredibly sweet Kelly! Thank you for commenting and reading! That is awesome that your trainer was so helpful with your caloric needs! That is the thing that we are told so many times to eat 1200-1500 calories to lose weight, but this is not typically a good plan if we are working out hard, exercising, etc. So many women need 2,000+ calories just to survive! That is why it really is a trial and error for so many, but the important thing is to be open to eating more and having more calories in the case that’s what your body needs! 🙂

      (So glad you love the verse! I literally teared up when I read it, because it basically summarizes what I try to do on this blog!)

  13. Love this post! We think the SAME way! I too counted calories, but it was moreso when I was in my late teens. I remember learning about what a calorie was in chemistry class my sophomore year. I got past that phase, but it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I truly started focusing on whole foods and the importance of getting adequate nutrition to fuel your body each day. I wish more younger girls were aware of the harm of depriving themselves from certain foods, especially those that contain healthy fats, because it can definitely effect their menstrual cycles which is sometimes masked by birth control. Anyways, so glad you posted this! Hope your day is wonderful, girl 🙂
    Kim recently posted…Military Balls on a BudgetMy Profile

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      Thank you so much Kim! I think those late teen years are definitely tough on everyone. There are a lot of changes both personally and physically happening during that time, and I think it is easy to get wrapped up into wanting to have control, and sometimes that means calories.

      I absolutely agree with you about wanting younger girls to know about the risks of calorie deprivation. It is something I didn’t know, which Is why I am open to sharing now! It can definitely put a woman at risk for her health, so if I can even help one person, then being vulnerable is worth it! 🙂

  14. I just had a rude awakening about 2 weeks ago when I found out from my annual physical that my overall cholesterol level is above the healthy range. I never count calories or really watch what I eat because I’m at a normal weight, and even struggle to maintain my weight up. I’m now trying to eat more healthy fats (thankfully I love avocados), and trying to eat less fried foods.
    Nanette recently posted…Easy ways to save and make extra money for travelMy Profile

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      So sorry Nanette! That is why those yearly preventative exams are so important! I think so many times there are a lot of women who ‘look’ healthy, but may need to change a few things in their life, sort of like how I looked like I ate enough food for years, but I technically wasn’t because my health was impaired because of a calorie deprivation. We are all learning 🙂 Keep focusing on those healthy fats! The good thing is that they are delicious!

  15. I’m currently counting calories because I want to lose a few pounds, but it’s not something I plan to keep up forever. After the holidays, I definitely needed to do something to reign things in a bit, and I knew I wouldn’t be as successful without tracking what I eat. Actually, I’m more focused on WHAT I’m eating rather than the calories!
    Erica @ For the Sake of Cake recently posted…MyFitnessPalMy Profile

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      You have to do what works for you girl! 🙂 You come from a good mental place though and you know what foods promote health so you know what to do! I definitely suggest focusing on what you are eating more than how many calories you are eating though if you can. It will make you less stressed and focused on the number of calories. 🙂 You know my thoughts on the subject though, you are absolutely gorgeous and don’t need to lose a single pound!

  16. I have definitely been “addicted” to counting calories and worrying that I am eating enough and not any more than I need to. There were times when I wouldn’t eat the cookie or whatever, but I am so glad I am over that now. It’s not a healthy relationship and life is way too short to be spending all of the time we could be out living counting calories instead!
    Heather @fitncookies recently posted…Why Warm Up? + Workout FinisherMy Profile

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      I am so glad you have been able to move past calorie counting Heather! I think it is a very tough spot for a lot of woman, and it is definitely not as easy as waking up and saying ‘Today I won’t count calories.’ It takes time, but it really can be conquered! I agree, life is too short to worry about calorie counting! 🙂

  17. Such a great topic. As I read through these comments, it’s clear that almost every woman has counted calories in her life or currently is, and it’s caused most people a lot of pain.

    Like a broken record… I too first lost weight by counting calories. That was about 10 years ago and I still do it today. I can’t help it, it’s ingrained in me. I know the calorie counts of most foods by heart. It’s like my brain is on autopilot.

    Luckily though, I never took it to an extreme level. I don’t use it to restrict how much I eat, but more to gauge when I should be full and to help me identify my bodies natural cues. I have really bad acid reflux and a hiatal hernia which I describe as “feeling like you’re always hungry.” Counting calories helps me realize when I’m actually hungry and when I just have a stomach ache or a craving. If it’s only 11 am and I’ve already had around 800 calories without working out, I know that my body doesn’t actually need any food. My calories fluctuate significantly on a daily basis, and I don’t fret about it, but I am aware.

    I’d love to get to a point where I never thought about calories and just trusted my body to do it’s job, but I’m not sure if that’s a switch that will ever really turn off.
    Whitney @ To Live & Diet in L.A. recently posted…Fun, Frugal Fashion: Camo LeggingsMy Profile

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      I loved your thoughtful comment so much Whitney! I think calorie counting can definitely help someone lose weight, but it doesn’t mean that person should even be losing any weight in the first place. Like I mentioned above, calorie counting is not for everyone, but it is great for some. Especially like you mentioned, for special dietary concerns. I love how you noted that you don’t count calories to lose weight, but to gauge your own hunger levels to make sure you keep yourself and your body healthy!

      I think calorie counting in our heads will probably never completely go away, but making a conscious effort to focus on nutrients over calories is so, so important! 🙂

  18. Great post!! I have fallen into the awful counting of calories. And then into an awful 12 year experience with the dreaded ED! I am doing much better now, but still struggle. I actually have to count calories now to make sure I get enough! I still have to gain 5 pounds to get to a healthy BMI. If I just “ate when I wanted” I would continue to lose weight. It’s tough!!
    Kim recently posted…Treasure HuntMy Profile

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      I completely understand Kim! So many women who restrict their calories struggle with not feeling full too soon during recovery. I think eating disorder recovery is a completely different ballgame thn typical calorie counters. You definitely should eat even when you aren’t full to recover and gain weight, and if that means counting calories to make sure you stay on track, then by all means do it! 🙂

  19. This is a wonderful and honest post! Counting calories initially when you’re coming off restrictive/ED eating can be extremely helpful in restoring a damaged metabolism but counting to restrict is very damaging both mentally and physically. You sound like you are in such a healthy place and I can hear and see your joy! 🙂

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      Thanks so much for giving some feedback to this post Robyn! Your opinion and thoughts are highly appreciated always, but especially on this topic! 🙂 I 100% agree with you, those who are recovering from an eating disorder probably should count calories to make sure they are eating enough since their hunger cues will be off. I think those who don’t necessarily have a full-fledged eating disorder, but do play the numbers game to try and lose weight (that they probably shouldn’t lose in the first place!) need to take a break from the calorie counting. It is so exhausting to count, and so freeing to let go and let it be! 🙂

      Love your blog! I encourage anyone who asks me questions about this topic to visit your posts and read!!

  20. I remember not eating peanut butter (or ice cream, or anything else good) for a period of time. I think that knowing appropriate serving sizes and adding in fruits/veggies ANYWHERE you can is way more important than tracking every little calorie. I feel like so many people (especially women) fall into this trap of being defined by numbers! Thanks for an honest post to help women think about disassociating themselves from meaningless numbers!
    Holly @ The Cooper Family recently posted…Twelve Things TuesdayMy Profile

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      I remember that time in my life too Holly, so sad, but I like to think God put me in that position so that I can try and help others now! I think the calorie counting / calorie trap is so prevalent among many many women, but we just don’t talk about it as much as should!

      You summed it up perfectly, we need to disassociate ourselves from meaningless numbers!!

  21. I absolutely identify with almost everything in this post (even if I am a few days behind in my blog reading!). I was (and sometimes still am) a major calorie counter. In fact, it led me down that slippery slope that is an eating disorder. I was restrictive with my eating and way over exercised. Like you, fats took up a lot of calories, so I didn’t eat them. I’m not quite to the point you are yet, but it’s great to see that you are in such a much better and happier place. I hope to get there soon! Thank you so much for sharing your experience. It’s always nice to know we aren’t alone in our struggles.

    And I love the verse you shared. Thank you for sharing and for your confidence in who you are and “whose” you are.
    Sarah @ Sarah Sincerely recently posted…Thursday Thoughs #5My Profile

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      Sarah,

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful and honest comment, and for reading my blog. I absolutely see the want and the will to beat the calorie counting just from your words above. Hang in there, because it definitely doesn’t happen over night. I can still tell you the counts of food just by looking at them, but I make a daily conscious effort to not count them, and over time it has just become more of a second nature. You will get there and if you ever need encouragement or someone to talk to, feel free to send me an email and I will be that girlfriend for you! It is never easy, but it is absolutely worth it! 🙂

  22. I’m a recovering calorie counter! Not counting calories and only weighing myself once a month are the two best choices I’ve ever made along my health and fitness journey! I enjoyed reading your experiences with it as well.
    Kimberly recently posted…Blogger Fitness Challenge with Lorna Jane!My Profile

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      So proud of you girl! It sounds like you have figured out what works best for you, and that is amazing that you chose to ‘recover’ from calorie counting! You will definitely feel so much more free and mentally relaxed by letting go of the numbers game! 🙂

  23. I really appreciate this post. I feel like every magazine and fitness blog article I read is telling me I need flat abs and how to eat to get it. I’m finally realizing that I don’t have to have flat abs to be a beautiful fit woman. I can have a little belly fat and still be o.k. I agree that so long as my clothes fit, I’m good. I am trying to just make nutritious food choices rather than low calorie choices. I’m thankful for posts like that yours to remind me that not counting calories is ok.

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      Hi Katie, thank you so much for commenting! Fitness magazines can definitely be draining to look at as women, and as much as I love them, I also have to admit that some articles can make you feel less than your best self. You absolutely don’t need flat abs to be gorgeous. In fact, some women need a little fat around their midsection for fertility reasons. I am not saying being overweight is healthy, but I am saying that we as women need to relax a bit and stop putting so much pressure on ourselves to look like someone we may not be meant to look like. It sounds like you are on the right path by focusing on nutrition over calories. Keep working at it and you will get there! If you ever need to chat, feel free to email me! xo

  24. Suzanne says:

    Interesting post on this…I began calorie counting under the guidance of an RD about 14 months ago. I was 50 pounds overweight (and therefore obese) and had no idea what foods were healthy or how much to eat. Calorie counting did help me to learn how much to eat…but learning about healthy foods and how to make better choices did also. I’m 33 pounds lighter now and noticing all kinds of health benefits from improved nutrition. Just offering a different perspective! For some of us, counting calories/food logging is an important part of learning how to eat well for our bodies.

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      Hi Suzanne! Thank you so so much for your comment and for providing an alternative side to the debate. Do you want to know something? I agree with you in that I think calorie counting works for people who are a) clinically overweight and looking to lose weight with help from an RD and b) who have the proper mindset. When it comes to counting calories, my goal is to discourage those women who are a healthy weight and who obsess over calorie counting to let go of the numbers game. So many women damage their body by undereating to try and get to a weight that their body may not be made to be at. This can cause low temperatures, loss of fertility, hair loss, brittle nails, exhaustion, agitation and the list goes on and on. I am glad that calorie counting works for you and enabled you to lose so much weight (amazing job!). It also sounds like you have a great mindset and take the calorie counting with a grain of salt without obsessing over it. Unfortunately though, not all women are able to be laid-back with the counting, which can lead to some unhealthy habits.

      Thanks again for commenting and for stopping by my blog! 🙂

      • Suzanne says:

        That totally makes sense and I can see how it has the potential to lead to disorderly eating (and with that, very serious mental and physical health problems). Not to mention, the societal pressures (like those perpetuated in the media) are relentless and certainly contribute to the incredibly high standards set for women and their bodies.

        Thank you for writing the post. I think it was good for me to hear the other side of this, as I’m still at the beginning of my journey to lifelong healthy eating. For now, it’s useful to me for learning proper portion control, but eventually I hope to abandon the food logging/calorie counting once I’ve reached a healthy weight and learned what a day of healthy eating looks like.

        • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

          Absolutely! I think society is really hard on women and so many of us strive to be ‘perfect’ in many areas of life, so trying to be a ‘perfect’ weight is just another area we tend to struggle to find acceptance.

          Keep pushing forward on your weight loss journey! It sounds like you are a very smart woman with a great head on your shoulders! I just know you will get to your body’s happy weight, and you in return will simply be able to cut ties with those pesky calories in time. 😉

  25. I’ve tried losing weight by calorie counting and just “eating healthy” and calorie counting just works better for me. For me though is that it’s important to focus on reducing calories, not restricting calories. If you’re gaining weight, it’s because you’re overeating, and calorie counting can help you see how much food you should be eating versus what you were eating. It can open your eyes. It’s not something I think people should do forever, but I think once you’ve done it for a few weeks, you can go on and say “well, this is what a normal 2000 calorie diet is like” and you have a framework.

    But I also agree that some people have unrealistic expectations in how many calories they can get away with reducing. I think those 1200 to 1500 calorie diets give people an unrealistic goal and are completely unnecessary when it comes to what you can lose weight on.
    Allison @ With Faith and Grace recently posted…Monthly Weigh-In: January UpdateMy Profile

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      Hey Allison! So, so glad you are doing what works best for you! I agree, I think if losing weight is needed for health purposes, then counting calories with help from an RD is a great option! I think especially in the beginning it is hard to gauge how many calories are in what, and what a portion size should look like. Being able to count definitely helps with weight loss!

      However, my fears are for those girls who are at a healthy weight and want to continue losing so they count calories, and usually aim for super low numbers to get to that point. I am all for those who want to lose weight to get healthy, but it is those who find themselves obsessed with the number game and trying to get to a body weight that may not be right for them that I worry about and want to encourage to let go of calorie counting! 🙂

  26. Love this post! I used to calorie count awhile back and I lost a lot of weight, but I couldn’t maintain it. It was too obsessive-compulsive and took over my life to an unhealthy point. Today, I still struggle with eating healthy 100% of the time (and usually even 80% of the time), but I’m trying so hard to avoid going back into that unhealthy counting period and instead focus on fueling my body and feeling good.
    Sophie @ life’s philosophie recently posted…You Don’t Know What You’re Capable OfMy Profile

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      Thank you so much Sophie! I think that is where a lot of us begin, we lose weight, feel great, but then can’t maintain the low weight and that is where the obsessing and number crunching can come in to play. I think the 80/20 or 70/30 rule for eating healthy v. ‘not as healthy’ is a great place to be. I don’t eat healthy 100% of the time either, but I do strive to make smart choices as often as possible while leaving room for the treats too! 😉

  27. I loved reading this! I’ve definitely gone back and forth about calorie counting. Sometimes I feel like doing it (especially when my nutrition seems to have slipped for an extended amount of time), other times I could care less and am just happy to focus on making healthy choices, eating however much I want.

    I do think it’s a great way to learn about nutrition and that maybe everyone should try it out once. It’s really eye-opening to have it all written out and helps with learning about portion sizes and realizing that maybe you’re not eating quite as well as you thought. Either way, I don’t think it’s necessarily a realistic way of living forever.

    P.S. I have those same Nikes! 🙂
    Jaime recently posted…Motivation MondayMy Profile

    • HappyWifeHealthyLife says:

      Hey Jaime, thank you so much for your comment! I agree with you, calorie counting isn’t all bad in the least bit, and I think everyone can learn something from seeing how much they eat and whether they need to increase or decrease the count for health reasons. My fear is always for those healthy women who eat right and exercise and are a healthy weight, but obsess over the calorie counting always wanting to lose more. I think it is definitely a jekyl and hyde scenario, and it really does depend on the person! 🙂

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