Embracing Intuitive Eating: Why I Choose Not to Count Calories

Summary:

In a world that often fixates on numbers and metrics, the concept of not counting calories might seem like a radical departure from the norm. After all, we're bombarded with messages about tracking our food intake, monitoring our energy expenditure, and meticulously calculating the caloric content of every morsel that crosses our lips. But what if there's a more balanced and sustainable approach to nourishing our bodies and minds? This is where the idea of intuitive eating comes into play. In this blog post, we'll explore why I've chosen to embrace intuitive eating, while also acknowledging the potential benefits of counting calories as an informative tool rather than a restrictive measure.

0

The Pitfalls of Calorie Counting

It's boring.  It can be discouraging, and well, overall it just isn't necessary! But, before delving into the reasons behind my decision, let's first address the pitfalls associated with calorie counting. While it's true that monitoring caloric intake can be beneficial for certain goals, such as understanding our eating patterns, it can also lead to an unhealthy obsession with numbers. The act of meticulously tracking every calorie can foster a disordered relationship with food, transforming something as natural as eating into a stress-inducing chore.

Embracing Intuitive Eating
Intuitive eating offers an alternative approach—one that prioritizes listening to your body's signals and cues. It's about relearning how to eat based on internal cues like hunger, fullness, and satisfaction rather than external rules and numbers. Here's why I've chosen to embrace intuitive eating:

CT Carnivore

Counting or Not To Count?

Respecting Body Wisdom

Our bodies have an innate intelligence that guides us towards what we need. By tuning into our hunger and fullness cues, we can honor our body's wisdom and nourish ourselves accordingly. This practice allows us to build a healthier and more trusting relationship with food, one that isn't dictated by external calorie targets.

2. Freedom from Food Anxiety

Calorie counting can lead to constant anxiety about food choices. Intuitive eating frees us from this mental turmoil, letting us enjoy meals without overthinking the numbers. When we stop fixating on calories, we can appreciate the sensory experience of eating—the flavors, textures, and aromas—enhancing our overall enjoyment of food.

3. Focus on Nutritional Quality

Rather than fixating on calories, intuitive eating shifts our focus to the nutritional quality of the food we consume. Instead of categorizing foods solely by their energy content, we consider their vitamins, minerals, and overall contribution to our well-being. This approach encourages a more balanced and nourishing diet.

4. Sustainable and Lifelong Approach

Intuitive eating isn't a short-term diet—it's a lifelong journey. It's a sustainable way to nourish our bodies that doesn't rely on external measurements. Unlike calorie counting for the purpose of a caloric deficit, which can lead to yo-yo dieting and weight fluctuations, intuitive eating promotes steady, sustainable progress towards a healthier lifestyle.

5. Individualized Approach

Each person's nutritional needs are unique. Intuitive eating respects this individuality and allows us to tailor our eating habits to our bodies, preferences, and lifestyle. It empowers us to make choices that are right for us, rather than adhering to a one-size-fits-all calorie count.

CT Carnivore

Counting Calories to gauge how many calories you might be consuming is not only a smart thing to do, you might find it very enlightening

Why You Should Count Calories

While I advocate for embracing intuitive eating, there is also value in using calorie counting as an informative tool, rather than a restrictive measure. You would be surprised by the amount of calories you are actually consuming on any given day.  Don't change your diet for a week and just for haha's, track your calories so you get a sense of how much you are actually consuming.  I advocate for people to download a walking app on their phones not for you to see if you can do 10,000 steps a day, but rather to show you how little steps the average person takes in one day.  Counting calories for a short period, perhaps a week or two, can provide valuable insights into our eating habits. It helps us understand the composition of our meals, recognize potential nutritional gaps, and identify any mindless eating patterns that may have developed.

True Story: Months into my Keto diet, I had leveled off on the weightloss.  I was walking my 10,000+ steps a day and even working out fairly consistently. In my head I was tracking my calories pretty successfully, or so I thought.  I decided one day to track my calories for a week.  Wow, that was an eye opener.  My salads contained 600 calories

Conclusion

In conclusion, the decision to not count calories in favor of embracing intuitive eating is a choice rooted in a desire for a more balanced, mindful, and sustainable relationship with food.  And for those seeking a middle ground, using calorie counting as a tool for understanding rather than restriction can offer valuable insights into our nutritional habits.