Counting Calories

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Every BODY is different and EVERYBODY is different. You have all heard me say this time and time again. This rings so true when we start to talk about calories. Calories in and calories out and what’s the big deal? Our bodies are meant to consume fuel food, and yes, in the regular world these are called calories. Calories are units of energy, so you bet we need them. But do we really need to count them to see if we are getting enough or too much? My answer is maybe, maybe not! You all thought I was going to say NO didn't you? Well deep down in my heart I do feel like no one should HAVE to or WANT to count calories day in and day out because what kind of freedom is that? 365 days a year counting everything that goes into our mouths everywhere we are and then figuring out how much we need to move to burn those calories to maintain where we are or to burn more to lose weight, this sounds like a nightmare to me and let’s be honest, THERE’S NO FREEDOM WHATSOEVER.

Let’s go way back to when the “calorie” was originally conceived. It was in the context of human work. More calories in meant more energy for work. thats it. Now we look at calories and it can become such a mental game for some that we are prisoners in our minds and we are constantly having feelings of guilt, stress and striving towards something that will eventually let us down because we just can’t keep up.

Let me get back to my answer of maybe or maybe not. There are instances in life or goals that people have that would warrant counting calories (macronutrients) to achieve a goal that they have. Maybe they are an athlete doing a competition or running a race and they need to make sure they are getting exactly what they need to achieve their goals, then yes count your macros. BUT for the majority of us, we are just trying to figure out balance in life, striving to feel great and be healthy. Some of us are high school students or college students juggling life in a way to survive. Some of us are mommy’s and daddy’s trying to get sleep at night, juggling work, and a new born baby, or have 3 kids under 5 years old. Some of us are empty-nesters trying to figure out that life without kids in our homes, and some of us are retired and want to stay active. Whatever category you fit into, we all have responsibilities that we have to do day in and day out that can be overwhelming at times.

We all have one thing in common: we have to eat and fuel our body. Every BODY is different and EVERYBODY is different. Some of us deal with body insecurities, some of us deal with pressure of looking a certain way, some of us eat depending on what kind of exercise we have done that day, some of us don’t eat because we think that is the way to weight loss. There are hundreds of mental struggles we all face at one time or another in our lives, whether it has to do with food or not. Add in counting calories to your everyday life………..

Let me give you the top ten reasons why we at Get Fit DON”T believe in counting calories

NO FREEDOM - We don’t want to have to worry about what we are eating based on how many calories it is, if we want it and it’s worth it then darn it we are going to eat it.
MENTAL GAME - There is something about restriction that mentally sends people on a binge tantrum! YES THIS EXISTS! If you are restricting your calories then all you’re doing is thinking about food and what you can’t have. In the long run you just binge everything in sight.
NOT ONE DAY IS THE SAME - Every day is different…. Some days you’re more active than others, so you eat more or less depending on that day. You don’t want one number of calories to live by day in and day out.
GUILT - If you are over your calories for the day you feel guilty, which can create mental struggles such as self-bashing, “I’m not good enough” or “I messed up again”, etc. You truly never enjoy the things you eat because you are always worried about the number
BUSY - We live busy lives and have a lot to think about within our day, counting calories is another added duty to do.
LOW CALORIE DOES NOT = HEALTHY
STRESS - The thought of counting calories can stress you out and can create hormonal imbalance
NUTRIENTS - Calorie counting doesn't account for the nutrients your body truly needs. Meaning you can eat any type of food (calories) but your body can be depleted of the vitamins and minerals your body actually needs
LONG TERM - It doesn't work long term. This is why we call it a “diet” and we don’t believe in dieting at Get Fit, we believe in a lifestyle.
LIFESTYLE - We want “whole health” to be a lifestyle for you and counting calories and restricting them on and off is not fitting in the whole health lifestyle.

Calories cant tell you what your body needs they are simply a number. You can have 2,000 calories of nutrient dense foods and 2,000 calories of soda and crap food and feel totally different. Your body is what will tell you what you need so stop the counting and focus on what you eat and when you eat. We don’t have to count calories in and calories out to be successful, in fact I feel like it is the opposite. The more we listen to our bodies and the needs of it, eat nutrient dense foods, and practice health in order (nutrition,sleep, exercise, rest and recovery) we are on the road to Whole Health!

By Heather Sutton, Director of Nutrition at Get Fit Modesto