Calculating a Meal Like A Mad Scientist

There’s something that’s been irking me lately. I must get it off my chest!



My habit of counting calories.



For over 3 years I have logged (mentally or on paper) my daily calorie intake. 


That french fry I stole from my boyfriend’s plate…yup, I logged that. The single Hershey’s Kiss I savored for a good minute, yes…that too.  The handful of grapes, the 3 tortilla chips, the WHOLE bag of pretzels…YES YES YES!


Don’t get me wrong…Counting calories can be very beneficial if used as a tool, not as a coping mechanism.  It taught me portion sizes and helped me lose weight in the past. But that’s where the benefits end and the trouble begins…(for me, at least)……


The biggest problem I have is not truly listening to my body.  I give it more food than it wants/needs, just because I haven’t reached my calorie limit for the day.  I don’t give it enough food when it’s truly hungry for it just because I don’t want to go above my calorie limit.  

I let calories command my body when it should be the other way around.


On a positive note, I used to be alot more restrictive. I would ONLY eat meals which I knew the exact calorie count of.  I wouldn’t allow myself any of my favorite treats.  It was a rigid, miserable life.  My mind was overwhelmed with calories, calories, calories.  I couldn’t enjoy eating out with family and friends because my anxiety levels would skyrocket. 


My mind raced with thoughts like, “Are they going to forget to put the dressing on the side?” or…  “I hope they don’t use too much oil in my meal.”  I’d even think, “Although the nutrition information is posted, is it true? Will they serve me a bigger portion… meaning more calories than I can’t have?”


The days I’d go over my calorie budget, I’d freak out.  I’d try to eat less the next day to make up for it.  Sometimes, I felt so deprived and defeated that I would anxiously overeat on that following day as well.  My racing, illogical thoughts were getting the best of me.  This led to a horrible cycle of binge, restrict, repeat.


I didn’t eat what I was craving (still don’t sometimes), I would overeat to compensate not getting what I really wanted.  I’d chew sugar free gum (still do this), snack on 100 calorie packs (not anymore),  and even weigh apples on a food scale (not anymore) .  It’s really is a lose-lose situation.


I always say I’d like to stop counting.  It seems like such a daunting task because the times that I have tried it, I go on a free-for-all.  I know I can do it and that it’s all in MY MIND.  My mind tells me that my body is not to be trusted. I haven’t really put forth the effort to really tune in to what my body is telling me. Sometimes it just needs a nap or a hug and I replace that with cereal and milk.


There are so many successful bloggers who have overcome their calorie counting habits, which is inspirational.  At this point, the counting has become almost subconscious that sometimes I don’t even realize I’m calculating a meal in my head like a mad scientist. 


It is my in my nature to be meticulous.  I have perfectionist tendencies all the way.  


For me, things are black or white.  I have trouble seeing the gray.


 I know I can’t go through life this way…


November 10, 2009. Uncategorized.


  1. thebalancebroad replied:

    I have to admit…this is something I struggle with every day. I’ve been counting calories for 12 years. And I am terrified of going through the day without that knowledge. I’m really scared that if I let go of it and eat intuitively, I’ll gain weight and spin out of control.

    One day I WILL beat this. And you will, too! I think we just have to have the confidence that our bodies know what’s best for us. It’s a scary, tricky thing…but I have a feeling (like anything), the more you get used to it, the easier it becomes. 🙂

    • findingthejewels replied:

      I totally understand and relate to your fear of letting go of counting. It’s so ingrained and habitual for me, too. It gives me this false sense of control over my body, but I know I cannot truly maximize my health and well-being unless I just stop and truly listen to my body.

      We can definitely do this!!!!!!!!

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