January 09, 2017

When I deleted my calorie counting app.

I’m not a huge fan of New Year resolutions. I think setting goals are important, but I think goals are more about life. How do you envision your life? Does it really change because the calendar flips from December 31 to January 1? It's one day...a Saturday to a Sunday. Does a 24 hour period really need that much attention as far as making new goals?
However, on December 31, 2016, I DID do something just because the next day was the start of 2017. I deleted my calorie counting application. I have been using MyFitnessPal for a good three years and had been pretty consistent in using it for the past year and a half. However, over the past month or two, I began using the application less and less. The app took up so much of my time. Either I was wasting time planning what food I would eat each day to make sure it fit my macros or inputting calories from meals I had just eaten. Quite frankly, the app was driving me nuts! By the end of December, I was not using the app at all. It felt so good, almost liberating. So, while I actually deleted the app because it was the end of 2016, not using the app had been a conscious decision I had made over the course of a few months.
WARNING...quick rant. As you all very well know, and I will be the first person to tell you, I am NOT a dietitian. I have ZERO credit to my name that gives me the authority whatsoever to give health/food/body advice. If you're concerned about anything diet related, you SHOULD see a dietitian. They have studied and read more text books about the human body than most anyone. I think far too many people listen to advice on the Internet/Instagram/Facebook/whatever just because they saw their friend, or friend of friend, or friend of their cousin's friend, who lost a lot of weight working out for 20 minutes a day and drinking shakes all day long. They are willing to pay hundreds of dollars because they think it will work for them. They may make a New Year resolution to follow a program so by 2018 they’ll have the body of someone else. Really?! I could go on, but I’ll pause here. For the sake of THIS post, here are MY thoughts about calorie counting…
Did you know MyFitnessPal has well over 75 million registered users? Anyone reading this most likely has had the app on their phone at some point or another. While I know counting calories can be beneficial for some people, I personally have decided to stay faaaaaaaarrrr away from all calorie counting/macro counting apps. Instead, I have committed to listening to my body. What am I truly hungry for? Is it 50 chicken breasts a day, seven days a week…just to hit my protein macros?? Or am I hungry for sweet potatoes, black beans, hummus and zucchini! Lately, it’s definitely been the later. One day I might add some plain yogurt on top or a couple slices of turkey breast and the next day, I may pair it with brown rice and an avocado. Sometimes I might just put all those goods in a soft corn tortilla or on toast. Toast? Yes, toast! What’s great about listening to your body is that you can eat whatever you want…in moderation, of course. Want some wine? Enjoy a glass with someone special. Want some ice cream!??? DO IT!
If you eat real food, you most likely won’t over indulge because the foods are natural and don’t have the added artificial sweeteners, enormous amounts of sodium, flavorings, chemicals and whatever else those words mean on the ingredient label. Those are ingredients that make you want to eat more and more...and more. My rule of thumb is that the food is probably good for you if it has around 5-7 ingredients or less…and most importantly, if I can read (and understand) the ingredient. Plus, if you do have a few too many servings of hummus and carrots, your body won’t hate you. You might feel overly full, but how guilty will you really feel? At least you filled your body with wholesome ingredients.
If you need to hold yourself accountable, consider journaling your foods. I don’t do this, but I know people that do and it can be very helpful. In addition to being able to plan some meals for the week, journaling allows you to write down how you feel after you eat certain foods, which can, in turn, help remind you of the foods that make you feel good after eating versus foods that make you feel bloated and uncomfortable.
Common sense tells you to eat when you’re hungry and then stop eating when you’re full. I guarantee that if you eat your meals sitting at the dinner table, your risk of over eating will be significantly reduced. Goodbye mindless eating. Be thoughtful about your food. Think of it as fuel for your mind and body. What kind of food fuel do you want your body to use tomorrow? REAL, FRESH food, right? Not something from a box that's been sitting in your cupboard far too long.
I usually don’t use this blog to talk about personal choices. 3000 Miles North has mostly been a place to share my adventures exploring the wonderful outdoors. However, upon reading a few blogs and seeing a million Instagram posts about calorie counting, I thought I’d share my view on the subject.
Listen to your body. It’s the only one you have and it’s a magical thing...much more magical than an APP!