Why I Count Calories

This post has been on my mind for a few weeks now. Do I disclose the information or just keep it to myself?

If you’ve been a long time reader (or if you’ve just scrolled through posts), you know that I am a firm believer in living a lifestyle of eating and not living on a diet. I personally believe that diets set many up for failure because I know that when I can’t have something, I want it even more. I think that mentality holds true for most.

When I realized that my habits had become disordered, I started writing all my food down in a food journal. This was somewhat annoying and didn’t really do me any good. While I could see what I was eating, it didn’t really matter because my problem wasn’t that I ate five cookies and a pint of ice cream in one sitting, it was that I wasn’t eating enough.

That’s when I turned to My Fitness Pal to start tracking my food in the app and on the computer. This made it so much easier because I could see how many calories, carbs, fat and proteins I was eating every day and set a goal.

Since then, I’ve done a TON of research on reverse dieting, which is when you gradually increase your food intake in order to get a damaged metabolism back to normal. It’s a process used often for people coming off of physique competition prep periods so they don’t gain a lot of weight right away and it’s also used for people who have had eating disorders.

In the last few months, I’ve increased my “macros” (proteins, carbs and fat which equal up to calories) each week. Let me tell you, and I hate to say this, but I am so thankful that I started tracking my food.

Doing so makes me see how easily I got caught in the long rut of not eating enough. It’s not that I’m not hungry enough to eat, it’s that the food choices I make don’t have enough nutrients to help my body.

I don’t like counting calories. This is not permanent.

Some days I struggle to hit those numbers and other days it’s easy. Sometimes it’s like a game and I plan things out while lying in bed in the morning. Other times it’s incredibly frustrating to stay within those guidelines.

My goal is to keep increasing until I am eating enough to not only gain my metabolism back but build some lean muscle mass. I knew but didn’t want to believe it that your body cannot build muscle unless it’s in a caloric surplus. Your body also does not burn fat when in too much of a caloric deficit.  I repeat my little mantra often: food is fuel.

Whether or not you choose to count calories, macros, etc., doesn’t matter–the point is to find what works for you each and every day. Find a lifestyle you can sustain because what’s most important is being healthy.

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