This post was updated & republished on
I don’t count calories any more.
I used to. I clung to MyFitnessPal like it was a lifeline.
Can I eat that? What am I eating tomorrow? How can I burn it off?
I have enough food restrictions without counting calories too. To be honest, I find calorie counting kind of unhealthy? restrictive? boring? I don’t know.
Counting calories feels like counting the seconds on the clock, watching the timer and waiting for the next thing. Waiting until I’m ‘thin enough’ to run in a crop top, to wear those little glitzy shorts, to not have to think about it any more.
And that’s the crux of the problem. Calorie counting has the same issue as any diet that relies on a temporary change in eating habits (detoxes, shakes and slimming clubs, I’m looking at you) – anything where you can be ‘on plan’.
It means you can be ‘off plan’ too.
Maybe if you’re a sensible sort of person this isn’t a problem, but I’m not a sensible sort of person.
Oh, I try to do everything in moderation – that’s the style of eating I aim for nowadays – minus gluten (which makes my stomach ill) and animal-derived products (which make my heart ill).
But I’m someone who’ll eat the whole box of cookies, I’ll eat every doughnut in the bag if no-one stops me and then I’ll lick the sugar out of the corner with my fingers, I’ll eat pasta in buckets and go back for more.
Why get a side of chips to share when we can have a side of chips each?
I am not someone who can keep a bar of rich, dark chocolate in the fridge and eat just a single square each night.
That’s not to say, though, that I only eat (or want to eat) unhealthy foods.
I love salad. I just like plenty of it, full of interesting bits of flavour and texture.
I’ll happily slurp a green smoothie for breakfast, but I want a pint of it, and a cereal bar or a banana or maybe even a whole bowl of porridge to follow it up.
I love broccoli, I love greens, but I love them sauteed in olive oil and garlic and heaped (heaped) onto my plate.
What I’m trying to say is just that eating healthily shouldn’t feel this tricky.
I think we’ve got this ‘everything in moderation’ lark all wrong. Eat everything, eat what you like.
Learn to listen to your body and eat what makes you feel good, as well as what tastes good.
Eat vegetables. Eat lots of them.
Make them tasty, so you want to eat them.
Dredge cauliflower in flour and spices and deep-fry it. Slowly cook mushrooms in butter and red wine. Pile your plate just as high with the roast potatoes as you do with the braised cabbage. Add a liberal slug of sesame oil to your aubergine and watch as it sizzles under the grill.
Eat fruit, eat nuts, eat seeds, eat grains.
and for goodness’ sake, eat the whole bar of chocolate, if you want it.
What I’m trying to say (I think) is that the kind of ‘everything in moderation’ that can be achieved by counting calories and macros isn’t the kind of ‘everything in moderation’ that makes me feel good.
Which is why I deleted MyFitnessPal from my phone and no longer count calories (or points). I just try to listen to my body and eat what makes me feel good.