When it comes to weight loss, gain and/or maintenance, its important to be ‘mindful’ of calories but not place all emphasis on them, they are not the be all and end all. Hand on heart I can say, the sooner you become comfortable with this and start placing more trust in your body, the sooner you will be free from restrictive thoughts.
Understandably being a slave to a set calorie intake is torment on both the body and mind. For some, its their sole focus, their aim, how they value themselves, how they rate their day, the distraction from reality…the norm. Giving into calorie counting helps your eating disorder (ED) voice remain strong and overbearing, its won.. you’re obeying the rules. But how could you not? You feel comfort in going to bed at night knowing that you were good, you achieved your goal, and you didn’t dip your toe into unfamiliar waters. This false comfort is why I understand letting go of calories is not as easy as being told to ‘just stop,’ you need a bigger reason than simply being told! And I believe that reason to be because you don’t want this anymore, it actually doesn’t have to be this way, deep down you want better and you can see the light, its just taking the first forward step that is holding you back.
Shifting focus from calorie counting to seeing food for what it is and what it provides the body (and mind) can be that first step. Start looking at an avocado for nourishing fats, brown rice for energy, a piece of fish for protein to help energise the body and coffee + cake out with a friend as joy for the soul. This change of thought pattern is when the magic happens and you start freeing yourself from hindering thoughts.
Now, as I mentioned, it’s by far not a simple act to start, but it can be a life-changing act for those ready to take back control over their body and mind.
I understand it takes a while to come around to allowing you to be ok with thinking in this way. Nonetheless, positive reinforcement of the true facts helps to beat down the ED voice. Use facts as your ammunition to bypass the perils of the ED voice telling you you’ve lost your way.
I am here to start giving you those facts to hold onto and use when you’re feeling strong and to help you gain strength over the ED voice. Even if it’s just for one meal or snack, allowing yourself, to be happy and allowing yourself to be cared for, is a great start.
All calories are not created equal – what this essentially means is that 100 calories worth of fat vs 100 calories worth of carbohydrates are going to have entirely difference effects on the body – its this effect over time which will determine whether we lose, gain or maintain weight.
Calorie intake changes based on health status, age, activity level, stress etc – it’s the state of our physical health, which has a bigger bearing on weight than the number of calories consumed.
When the body is in a state of stress (ie from lack of nutrition) it will hold onto all the calories it is provided just to keep the essential processes of the body ticking away.
The calorie equation calories in vs calories out does not factor in any of the following:
Nutritional composition of the calories being eaten eg high protein, high fat, high fibre, refined carbohydrates
- The body uses more energy to process calories from protein then it does carbohydrates, this means you will ‘burn’ more energy when eating a protein based food
- Same for fibre, fibre reduces the release of insulin into the blood stream, insulin when excreted in excess can promote fat storage, therefore eating foods high in fibre decreases the need for insulin
- A certain balance of bacteria in the gut are known to harvest more energy from food eaten, specific foods or not enough of the right foods can encourage the wrong kind of bacteria
- A lot of low-calorie foods are nutrient devoid, the body is nutrient hungry and requires a certain balance of nutrients to work optimally, its not only ‘calorie’ starvation that will cause the body to enter famine mode, it can also be ‘nutrient’ deprivation for eg iron is needed for the thyroid to operate optimally and thyroid helps to control metabolism
- Low calorie/diet foods are often full of artificial sweeteners, preservatives, additives etc and such substances must be cleared by the liver, when the liver is overburden the substances get moved to fat tissues to be stored to keep the body safe, this means our body goes into fat storage mode to shield itself from the toxins, looking after the liver by eating the protein and nutrients it needs to function optimally whilst avoiding poor quality foods will assist with a healthy weight.
Letting go will make you stronger x
Casey Dick | Passionate Dedicated Natural Nutritionist | Brisbane, Australia, Dietary Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder, Orthorexia, Restrictive Eating, Body image, Picky Eating, Mindful Eating, Non-Dieting Approach, Healthy Relationship With Food, Healthy Weight Maintenance, Body Dysmorphic Disorder.