Counting calories is not something I’ve ever experienced.
If you know me, you’ll know I’m a slim woman.
In fact, I’m so slim to the point where my own family, along with people I’ve never met, think it’s okay to skinny shame me and tell me to eat more.
Which is (kind of) funny, because I eat a lot. My partner comments on this all the time.
I know it’s easy to slip into thinking I’m another woman who is lying about eating what she wants, and claiming she’s naturally thin while starving herself behind closed doors.
But this is my reality. It’ll probably change as the years go on and my metabolism slows down. But right now, this is my body.
And I’m slim to the point where even I worry about other girls and women seeing pictures of me, and feeling like they need to bend and break their body to match mine.
I’ll over think posting a photo, out of fear of the effect that image might have on someone else. Because I’m painfully aware of the damage that heavily edited images in magazines and on social media are having.
For women, there’s no escape. We’re shamed on a daily basis for everything.
For being too thin. Being too fat. Having too much sex. Not having enough sex. For being a feminist. Or not speaking up about feminism. For being too loud, and too quiet. Wearing too much make-up, and not enough. For being too confident, and for being insecure.
You can’t win. And it’s a competition that none of us ever knowingly or willingly enter.
My weight was never really an issue for me, aside from occasional moments of worrying about cellulite on my thighs, and a bloated belly after eating too much pasta.
But there were plenty of other things that were. My flat chest, my large nose, and the bags under my eyes to name a few.
And I struggle to believe that any woman makes it through her teens and twenties unscathed.
When it comes to losing weight, counting calories is not the answer
While at university, my completely in proportion and physically healthy housemate joined Slimming World.
While working in a bakery as a graduate, I worked with an obese lady who also joined Slimming World.
Both of them counted calories each day.
Both of them began to refer to high fat, high sugar foods as sins.
Neither of them lost a noticeable amount of weight.
And neither of them addressed their unhealthy relationship with food.
Because counting calories, and choosing to view food as good or bad is bullshit. It’s not helping you to mend your relationship with food – it’s making it worse.
If your body isn’t in the best health it can be in right now, and you actually need to lose weight, or you want to tone up, here’s what won’t help:
- Counting calories
- Keeping a daily diary of everything you eat
- Viewing food as good or bad
- Going on a crazy slimming diet you read in Vogue, where you only drink dandelion tea or eat nothing but cabbage soup
- Buying into any of the other quick fixes you’re being sold
Here’s how to lose weight in a healthy way, and focus on building your strength:
- Avoid processed food as much as possible
- Eat at least 5 portions fruit & veg every day
- Eat a balanced diet. Fuck Atkins.
- Drink 2-3 litres of water every day
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes each day
- Don’t compare your body to images you see on social media
It’s sounds so simple, because it is. There’s no secret. And there’s no magic pill you can take that’s going to create changes in your body overnight.
It requires real hard work and discipline, and learning to love your body the way it is.
But it definitely doesn’t require starving yourself, or being unhappy, or forming a toxic relationship with food.
Food is energy
Food gives us the fuel we need to do all the things we want to do each day.
Like go for a run, play with our kids, go dancing with friends, build a business, write a book, climb a mountain, study for a test, and go surfing in the ocean.
Food gives us the energy and strength we need to live the best lives we possibly can. It is not the enemy. It’s actually one of the most beautiful things life has to offer.
Think about it. Food grows in the earth and on trees and in fields. People then take these raw ingredients and create incredible, delicious meals with them. Meals that excite our taste buds, and nourish our bodies.
So don’t allow anyone to rob you of this joy. Stop counting calories. Allow yourself to fall in love with food again.