Thursday, August 5, 2010

Over-The-Humpday Challenge: Oh, Calories

Today's OTHd Challenge is a little different: I decided to try to NOT count calories at all.

There is a method to my madness.

I'll be honest, I'm good at counting. Back when I did Weight Watchers, I was a Points-counting machine. And even when I went off it - for the better - I still couldn't help but count something. It gives me a feeling of control, a feeling damn near irresistible when it comes to my own eating habits. Combine that with my obsessive perfectionism and, well, it's a recipe for totally irrational, anti-intuitive habits. 

Recently, my appetite has been out of control. I'm 99% sure it has to do with the fact that it is a very particular time of the month for me, a time during which I have the inexplicable desire to eat until I feel like a balloon. I'm also very mean and some days in a LOT of pain. God bless the pill.

This insatiable appetite has given me cause to ponder the calorie-counting phenomena. Yes, it does give me the comfort of control that I crave, but at the same time, I think it actually screws me over. When I count, I know how much more I "should" eat, which translates in my brain into "you must eat that much and NO more." Which consequently leads to over-eating, because I "bargain" in my head: "oh, I can have another hundred."

I have a lot of problems with this mentality of mine. First and foremost, it doesn't make me think about what I really need. Am I actually hungry? Would that make me feel better or worse? These questions are not factors. Second, it takes away the pleasure of eating. I'm too busy figuring out how many kcal I've consumed to even taste what's in my mouth, and that just pisses me off - I like food WAY to much to ignore it!

I've tried not counting before, and I know I feel lightyears better when I focus on listening to my body rather than a stupid number. In fact, in Italy I barely counted at all, and even if I did, I never let it dictate what I ate. If I wanted that trofie al pesto, then damn it, I would have it. And it would taste amazing, because I savored every.single.bite. And to top it off, I lost weight in Italy, and maintained it pretty easily. Hmm......

Since I have come home, my weight has been fluctuating like whoa. I refuse to let myself on a scale - it just screws with my head and it infuriates me that something as simple as a number can throw me into a depression.

Don't get me wrong, I've learned a lot since coming out of my battle with anorexia 3 years ago, and if I'm hungry, I KNOW to eat. And I don't deprive myself - chocolate, for one, is a pretty much daily consumption. It keeps me sane. And happy.

With all the awesome Operation Beautiful buzz this week (love!), it seemed like the perfect time for this particular challenge. So onward I charged, not to be undone by silly little numbers!

The result? It was hard. I found myself counting without even realizing what I was doing. It was actually really interesting to see how completely ingrained in me it's become. I found when I was hungry, I actually started counting to see if I "really should be hungry" or what kind of snack to make. Tell me that is not ridiculous. It was a huge and welcome slap in the face, and it made it clearer than ever that I need to get back in touch with my body. Because I love my body, and I would really like the feeling to be mutual.

I'm going to make this a week-long challenge. And then a month-long challenge. And, you get the picture. I'm pretty sure I just heard every cell in my body say "it's ABOUT TIME!"

I read somewhere to make every day count - there will never be another one like it. It resonated really strongly with me. And that is the only counting I will be doing for a while.

Another challenge met. See y'all tomorrow - with pictures!


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