If you've followed me on any sort of social media platform, whether it was an old blog (I've been doing this for almost 16 years now), Flickr, Facebook, or Instagram, you probably know I have a long disordered history with food. You likely also know I have tried crash dieting, calorie restricting, calorie and macro counting, and Whole30.
Do you remember when I mentioned giving up food tracking as a practice this last July?
Well, I did.
After eight years of calorie counting, of constantly modifying and restricting, of looking up restaurant menus before ordering and crying when I was hungry but "out" of calories, I stopped.
I stopped. Cold turkey.
It was so hard. So hard.
But, it was also what I needed to do to get back to a healthy mindset and relationship with food.
The thing is . . . this last week I thought I would start tracking again, just to see how I was doing intuitively.
I tracked two days worth of meals, and I am doing alright on my own so long as I'm not stressed or it's not close to my moon time. For the last three months, I simply ate what my body wanted and adjusted as needed.
That said, those two tracking days tossed me right down the rabbit hole.
The next morning, I spent 20 minutes debating what to eat, going over nutritional content in my head, feeling absolutely stuck over what to pick to get the best macros for the day.
By the time I settled on oatmeal with a sprinkling of walnuts, I was ravenous . . . and feeling guilty for not wanting to cook something more protein rich. So, even though I love oatmeal with walnuts, I didn't enjoy my breakfast because I was already in my head, the fog of disordered eating moving in.
That morning, I realized I cannot count calories again. I can't. I cannot follow some 1200 calorie meal plan or weigh each morsel for proper macro data or switch out my three meals and a snack for two shakes and a plate of food at dinner. I just can't.
The slope is just too slippery for me.
Intuitive eating may not make me svelte, but it also isn't making me crazy.
And by crazy I mean obsessive over every gram of carbs in a stick of gum crazy. By crazy I mean crying while choking down another serving of Greek yogurt to hit those macros crazy. Some people can meal plan and macro count and it works. It works. And they are all the better for it. And that is so awesome!
But it's not for me.
And that brings me to the PSA portion of this post: do whatever you need to do to maintain a healthy mindset and relationship with food. If that means counting, count. If that means food prep, prep. If that means doing nothing but just eating, eat. But once it becomes compulsive? Once it becomes something you cannot possibly miss because how can you possibly eat without doing XYZ first? Once it takes over your life and leaves you despondent? Please, find another way.
You are worth so much more that the calories you burn or count or restrict.