Friday, September 2, 2011

Don’t Count Calories

Lately I’ve been participating in an invigorating diet competition.  My rivals are a load of fun and think they can beat me.  But we all know better, right?

Now that we’re nearing the end of the competition, I’d like to share a few secrets of my success during this competition.  (If I lose the competition, I’m going to be sufficiently humbled, but for now, let’s just assume that I’m going to win!)

My biggest cause for success during this eight-week competition has been not counting any numbers.  I haven’t counted calories, carbs, fiber, fat, or any combination thereof.  What has resulted?  Weightloss and a genuine interest in keeping it up long after the competition is over.

So if I haven’t tracked what I’ve eaten, what have I done? 

I have simplified everything down to a yes or no question.  Is it healthy?  Is it more than I should eat?  Will it make me feel good in two hours?  Is it worth the splurge?

When my focus is on reaching a particular number (of calories, points, etc.), I lose my motivation when I see that I am not going to reach my goal that day.  Let’s say it is noon and I’ve already eaten 1000 calories.  Well it’s nearly impossible to meet my 1500 goal with lunch and dinner still ahead of me!  I may as well give up for the day!

And I usually do.

When my focus is on being healthy instead of reaching a number, my effort goes from all or nothing to a much more moderate way of eating.  I ate more for breakfast, so likely I won’t be as hungry for the rest of the day.  I won’t condemn myself or stress.  I’ll just try to be sensible, and don’t eat when I’m not hungry.

Getting started on a healthy diet is a challenge, and it helps to count calories in order to learn what a sensible diet feels like.  After a while, though, let common sense be the guide.  It will work for a lifetime, and I’m not sure anybody wants to count numbers for the rest of their life.

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