Awesome post on calorie counting by Kath at Gather.com, called “Crunching Numbers.”
As someone who genuinely enjoys journaling and counting, keeping a spreadsheet of my finances and tracking my spending (though I’m much better about the former than the latter!) I definitely fall into the category of benefiting from it.
But I also know it can become obsessive for some — even myself, at times. Still, I agree with all of Kath’s points here. For me, counting keeps me …well, accountable! When I’m not journaling accurately, I gain weight or maintain.
The key is using it as a tool, but not abusing it. That’s when counting becomes disordered and compulsive. And I don’t want to go back down that path.
How about you? Where do you stand? Is calorie counting a positive tool for you, or does it lead to obsessive behaviors?
4 thoughts on “Crunching Numbers”
For me, calorie counting is tricky. I’m in recovery from anorexia and need to gain weight. I find that if I don’t count calories, I don’t eat enough. Counting keeps me in the ballpark I need to be in. However, I can get extremely obsessive about it, to the point that I’m ignoring body signals and eating according to a number. I’ve decided that once I reach my goal weight, I’d like to stop counting and be more intuitive with what I eat. My hunger signals vary from day to day, so it makes sense that my intake may vary a bit day to day. Right now, with gaining weight, I can’t afford to have it vary too much. I eat whether I’m hungry or not. But, I think my ideal would be to trust my body and not need to track my eating so diligently.
calorie counting is a very positive tool for me, especially when in weight loss mode. I find I am less obsessive about food when I count calories. I view it simply as data, no emotions tied to it. I do practice intuitive eating along with it and don’t eat just because I have calories “left” adn conversely if I am extra hungry some days then I will eat more. I just use my range as a guide.
its a love-hate relationship i guess with me. journaling started as a helpful tool, turned into a massive part of ED, and now i continue to journal food to make sure i get enough. my body signals are so damaged from anorexia that i wouldnt be able to “listen to my body” to tell me to eat enough.
i just read kims post above, guess we are in the same boat. variation can be dangerous too. one “low” day can lead to more and more. a small amount of calories dropped can have a strong physical and mental affect.
so right now, writing it down is saving.
I loved this article. I agree with Lara–counting actually brings me closer to moderation than not.