Thursday, March 31, 2011

Am I Just Counting Calories?

A few months ago, I created a new page on my blog called "Living the Lifestyle".  It's a page in which I describe - in detail - what it is that I'm doing to help me lose weight.

Losing 84lbs is a big accomplishment - a very noticeable accomplishment.  With the wonderful compliments I receive on my continuous transformation, I get this very common question "What diet plan are you using?"  That question was the main reason I set up the new page.

My first mindset when starting the new page?  Diets don't work.  Then, I realized that making that statement wasn't fair.  Diets don't work, for me.  Been there, tried that, got the t-shirts....none of which ever helped me lose any weight...or keep it off anyway.

I know a lot of people that have had some great success with diet plans.  I know people that have lost tons of weight losing programs such as Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers.  The cold, hard truth of the matter is - I just can't stand the restrictions that comes with all of those things.  I want need freedom to make my own decisions.  Counting calories is hard enough, I can't handle adding another step like calculating points on top of that.  That doesn't mean that others can't and don't have amazing results with doing it - they do.

Yesterday, I had a conversation with my mentor and another teacher - both of which have been using Weight Watchers.  It was mind boggling to me as I watched them discuss how many points were in a food item, using the nutritional value, plugging it in to a calculator, and coming up with the ending points.  I guess my mind boggling came from not understanding or knowing much about Weight Watchers.  The other teacher then asked me "do you just count calories?"

My first response was to say yes - but then I thought about that response all day and night.  Do I just count calories?  She was genuinely interested in what it was I did to lose weight - and the best I could give her was "yes, I just count calories".  Wow, if there was only a rewind button available.

After the conversation I wanted to smack my own forehead and yell "idiot" to myself.  Of course I don't just count calories.  There's a lot more to it than that.  I count calories, yes, but I have a target amount of calories I eat each day.  I look at food labels and check things like fat content, carbs, protein, etc.  I work out 6-7 times a week.  I make a meal plan to help me make the right food decisions.  It's a lot more complicated than just counting calories. 

Then, this morning, I realized something.  It's really not that complicated.  I don't walk around with a calculator and add up my calories.  In fact, most days I don't even add my foods to my food log until the evenings.  I look at food labels, yes, but I never deprive myself of anything.  It's gotten to the point, once again, where I no longer look at foods as "bad" foods or "good" foods.  I have found that I no longer have cravings for "bad" foods - because I enjoy the freedom of eating whatever I like.  HOWEVER, you very rarely see me craving fried foods, candy, cakes, or cookies.  If I want chocolate - I grab a Fiber One Chocolate & Oats bar.  If I'm just looking for sweet - Chobani comes to the rescue with some amazing Greek yogurt.  When the "salties" sneak up on me - I dig in to some hummus and pita chips or cucumber slices drizzled with salt or maybe a handful of almonds or Terra veggie chips. 

It really isn't about what I'm "doing" it's about the mindset that I'm in.  Diets don't work for me because I can't handle the restrictions that come with diets.  If I'm constantly obsessing over counting calories, figuring points, stopping whatever it is I'm doing to write down something I just ate - then I'm bueno!

Knowing that I can go into my kitchen and prepare something to eat - and KNOWING that what I'm eating is good for me....that's my "diet plan".  Keeping my kitchen stocked with healthy snacks, whole grains, veggies, fruits, and lean meats...that's my "diet plan".  Opting to drink coffee in the mornings and water for the rest of the day - because I want to - that's my "diet plan".  Are you getting the picture?  Good.

So, to answer the question "am I just counting calories?"  The answer is NO.  I'm not.  I'm driving the car to weight loss - my calorie counting is my GPS.  It's a guide.  Sometimes I need directions, sometimes I don't.  I'm mindful about what goes in to my body - but that's just a piece of the puzzle.  Making the dedication to go to the gym 3 or 4 times a week, running on the weekends, staying active....those are important pieces, too. 

Losing 84lbs did not just come from the food I eat - or don't eat.  It comes from a commitment to changing my ENTIRE lifestyle.  No more sitting around hoping the pounds will fall off while I'm shoveling in bags of chips.  Losing weight is hard work - but it doesn't have to be all counting and portioning.  Just making some mindful decisions is a good start - followed up with some intense exercise.  Food and exercise go hand in hand - with out one, there can't be a balance.  Sure, you might start to lose weight if you just cut back on some of the junk - but then what?  In order to really get some fat burn and muscle built, there has to be exercise. 

There you go - that's what I do...that's how I roll.

Till next time. ;)
Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter


  1. I don't even know where to start.. so I'll just say this-

    YOU GO GIRL! :)

  2. LOVE this post...for it.


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