I hope you’re all happy and doing well. Something dawned on me the other night, and I thought I’d share it with you. I was making dinner for the family, as I usually do. I was making little lamb and beef meatballs. I knew I had more than enough meatballs to feed the family for dinner. Yet, as I placed each meatball into the pot I realized that, out of habit, I was counting them. I have this habit due to years of calorie counting. You see in the past, to figure out how many calories were in a meatball, I had to know how many meatballs I had.
For many years, I religiously and tediously counted every calorie that went into my mouth. I did it way before there were apps or even smartphones for that matter, and I did it for years after that, too. Back then, I believed the age-old adage of calories in vs. calories out. I accepted it as a fact that if I simply ate fewer calories than my body burned each day, I would lose weight. I believed that if I could figure out the magically right amount of calories to eat each day, I could maintain a normal weight, and avoid developing a chronic disease. At the time, I honestly believed that it didn’t matter what kind of foods those calories came from. I was sure that whether I ate marshmallows or kale, it made no difference. I was, like so many, so misinformed! If I had continued on along this path, I never would have been able to find sustainable weight loss, and I can confidently say that I would probably have more than one health problem by now.
Of course today I understand that a calorie is not just a calorie, and I know that different foods interact within our systems in distinct ways. I understand that food is more than sustenance. The quality of the foods we eat has a huge impact on our bodies and our health because the foods we eat create very specific hormonal and biological responses in our bodies. By focusing more on the quality of my food, and less on the quantity, I am happy to report that at age 53 I am healthy and fit. I have easily maintained my weight for more than five years, and I have absolutely no chronic disease. In fact, I hardly even notice seasonal allergies anymore. In the past, I suffered severely every fall from ragweed allergies. It was so bad, that I couldn’t go anywhere without a wad of tissues. Today, I’m barely affected, if at all.
Yes, being healthy and fit is definitely the best perk of eating well and maintaining a healthy, well-rounded lifestyle. But as I caught myself counting the meatballs the other night, I also realized how freeing the knowledge I now have has been for me. I am active, but I don’t exercise excessively, because I understand that you can’t outrun a bad diet. I don’t count calories, track macros, or any of that other nonsense. I never ever go hungry or eat food that I don’t like either! I also know that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all nutritional plan and that for so many reasons, diets just don’t work.
We’re all different, with different biological makeups and needs. I eat the nourishing, nutrient-dense foods that work best for my body, and as I exclaimed out loud to my family the other night, I’m so glad I don’t count calories anymore!
If you still count calories, or struggle with your weight and/or your health, and would like to find a better solution, pick up a copy of my book, Healthy Body Connection.