5 reasons to get over your obsession with calories

Over the last 48 hours I’ve had 2 different conversations about calories, a topic that brings up a force of feelings and energy from me. 

Feelings of anger, confusion and sadness. 

I was a little shocked by the conversations, I’ve almost forgotten how consuming these thoughts around calories can be. Because I’ve come so far with my mindset in regards to food and calories I forget that others have not… surely everyone else in the world is the same?!

Ooops, excuse my lack of empathy and awareness for a moment (it’s all about me right hah!).

For me, from ages 13 –  23 these were the kind of thoughts that consumed my mind…

  • I’ve exercised today so this means I can eat the cookies.
  • I’ll only eat half of my sandwich today.
  • I’ve had an apple, half my sandwich, a juice so that’s XX calories. 
  • I’ll go to the gym every day this week.
  • We’re getting pizza tonight so I will just have a small salad for lunch. 
  • I’ve eaten way too much now… argh why did I do this. 
  • I’ve eaten way too much now… I may as well keep eating. I will double my gym session tomorrow. 
  • I’ve eaten way too much now… why are you so disgusting. I am so fat, now I will put more weight on. 

And it’s easy to see how my obsession with calories, weight loss and exercise led to bulimia.

By the time I was about 17 years old my Monday to Thursday was filled with a low-calorie diet, I lived on diet coke and I spent hours at the gym. Come Friday I’d binge on lollies, cheese and crackers, chocolate, pizza (or something similar) for dinner… then I’d make sure I could get home before everyone else so I could vomit in private.  

No one knew I was going through this. 

This is why I hate detox tea products, this is why I hate fat-blasting products, this is why it makes me mad to see celebrities and social media influencers promote these products. This is why I hate when exercise/fitness/yoga teachers talk about burning calories and getting rid of the freaking ‘muffin top’.

These advertisements and this language is dangerous, especially for young people. Especially for young people who are already struggling with body image stuff and eating disorders. 

 

5 reasons to get over your obsession with calories.

Your calorie obsession keeps you thinking small. 

If you add up every thought about weight loss, calories, diets and exercise how much time would this add up to?

Hours? Days? Maybe even years of your one precious life dedicated to thoughts of weight loss and calories.

These thoughts occupy space so you have less room for other thoughts. You have less space for creativity, less thoughts for love, fewer thoughts for strategising and planning your goals, less space for magic. AND no presence! 

You get it… this way of living and thinking keeps your ideas small!  

Next time you have a thought about weight loss, think about something you wish to welcome into your life. What do you want to create, who can you send some love to (yourself included), what action step can you take towards your career goals, what magic can you welcome in? Then feel proud and grateful for yourself.

Your calorie obsession impacts other people negatively.

Sometimes it’s easier to make a big change for someone else instead of yourself.

When you’re obsessing about calories and weight do you talk about this with anyone?

Maybe you open up to your friends, partner, your sister, your brother or maybe your kids? Have you ever stopped to think HOW this is impacting them?

You see, most likely these people think you’re amazing and beautiful just as you are. If they continually hear you putting yourself down this could lead to them thinking they themselves need to change also. That they themselves are not good enough.

I’m not saying you’re a bad person for opening up, I’m asking you to think about it for a moment. 

Your calorie obsession is most probably based on false information.

I grew up in an era where calories were EVERYTHING. In my mind the health factor of any food item literally had nothing to with vitamins/minerals or nourishment. First, it was all about being 99% fat-free and then it was about calories. The lower the calories the better. 

Do you still believe this to be true? If so, I’d recommend start researching a little more. Knowledge is power and it will set you free from the calorie obsession.

My mind was completely blown when I started learning about Paleo and real food. 

Just think… 1000 calories from a glass of soft drink, takeaway burger and fries is not the same as 1000 calories from a plate of baked salmon, pumpkin and broccoli.

One option will support your health. One option will support the health of your organs, help you feel energised, give you essential fats, vitamins and mineral. The other is like eating a plate of inflammation which can lead to a world of health problems. 

What you eat is more important than how many calories you eat.

Dr Mark Hyman has a lot of great information on this topic. Check this article out: Why Calories Don’t Matter. 

crispy-salmon-sweet-potato-and-broccoli-salad-featured

‘Calories in vs out’ isn’t even a good way to lose weight! 

Ahhh NOW this makes so much sense but I understand why many people might still believe this to be true. Because yes for many people it does work. And yes if you eat a heap of calories you will put on weight. BUT if there are any other underlying issues with your hormones, the gut (if the good and bad bacteria is out of balance), if you’re deficient in something, if you’re stressed, if you’re not sleeping… ALL this and more will impact your ability or inability to lose weight. 

If you haven’t booked a doctors appointment in a while… call up and book in now! Get all your tests done. 

When I went on a ’12 week shredding diet’ (urgh I cringe thinking about it!) YES I lost a lot of weight and YES I caused a bunch of other health issues.

I was at my lowest weight of just 51 kg, I looked amazing! BUT I also lived at the gym, lived off protein shakes, diet coke and chicken breast with broccoli. I was so tired I’d be in bed by 8pm every night. 

And I still wanted to lose more weight. I might have looked amazing but felt like crap. 

I underate and over-exercised so much that I lost my period for 2 years. Read more about how I got my period back here.

Now I focus on eating nutrient-filled food. real food, fresh produce. I only very rarely overeat now (this was huge for me, if you struggle with binge eating listen to our Binge Eating podcast episode here).

Losing weight will not make you a better human, it will not make you happy. 

“Weight loss is not a cure for happiness, boredom, lack of confidence, or a spark for ambition. The obsession to get there can actually make you unhappier, stressed, isolated, and let’s be honest, super moody.” Karen Diaz.

In our culture, there is so much focus on weight. It’s easy to see how we correlate happiness and success to being thin. But it is simply not true. 

One of the best feelings in the world is to feel a deep acceptance for self. Right here and right now.

This is why our mantra inside the MerryBody Studio is: Always remember: you are amazing, just as you are. Right here. Right now. Take a breath. Take a step.

Through my journey with Yoga, Pilates and Meditation I finally realised the only thing that truly mattered was how I felt about myself right NOW. And not when I lost XX kgs or fitted into that dress! 

It’s time to accept all the magic (and mess) you are right now and then if you desire to make a healthy change, take a step. Not only does it make any journey more enjoyable, but you’ll also feel contentment and fulfilment instead of forever chasing a goal you never quite reach.

If you’re after more… join MerryBody.

MerryBody Online Studio will make you strong, flexible and toned. But the real magic? It’s movement driven by acceptance, respect and above all… JOY. 

Always merrymaking,

Emma

Ps. here’s what Jodi said about MerryBody…

“After the first few free classes, I WAS HOOKED. I knew this was the kind of energy I needed to bring into my life to look forward to moving my body joyfully. Before MerryBody I would sporadically do a yoga DVD. I bought every weight loss/workout program but wouldn’t stay consistent (or wouldn’t start). I exercised punitively, if at all. I had a BAD attitude all through the workout.

Now? I am so grateful for all the joy and healing MerryBody has brought into my life. I look forward to “seeing” you both every day. I am doing a practice 3+ times per week. Sometimes I laugh while working out. I’ve dropped the punishment mentality and I’m just grateful to move my body every day.

I feel like I’m practising with a couple of friends instead of like I’m being beaten up by a screeching bully in an air mic.”

Feature image by i yunmai on Unsplash.