So here I am on Day 43 (at time of writing, logging days 41 and 42) and I’m in a bit of a quandary. I’m contemplating whether I should start (loosely) counting calories.
If you're just joining me here on Day 42, for a bit of context, after a recent health scare, I'm on a mission to turn my life around and get into the best shape of my life.
I've been down this fitness road before, but this time I'm determined to do it from a place of self love, with no restriction, guilt or crazy diet rules.
You can catch up on journeys 1 through 40 by clicking the 'related posts' at the bottom of this one, and if you'd like to come with me on a fitness journey (and get an amazing FREE bundle of the fitness resources that have helped me lose 12 cm so far), click HERE and get your hands on all the goodness.
Anyhoo, at the onset of my journey, I vowed not to count calories and what I’ve been doing got me great results in the first month (I lost 12 cm).
But now that progress is really starting to slow.
In some ways, I feel like flexible dieting would give me a lot more “options” and results than I feel like I currently have.
Getting to eat things like McDonalds again without stressing too much about it
Being able to get a rough idea of whether or not I’m on track
Being able to “troubleshoot” a plateau
Making sure I’m eating enough food and nutrients to fuel my body
Making sure I’m in enough of a calorie deficit to get results
It’s hard to know whether a “healthier” choice IS actually helping with my goals – an acai bowl can have more calories than a burger
I know first hand that it works - in fact, it works incredibly well!
But then in other ways, it feels like counting calories is a TERRIBLE idea.
I really don’t want to start obsessing over food or calories – it feels like a slippery slope into guilt and an unhealthy relationship with food, and there is NO way I’m going down that road again.
What happens if I just want a damn double Whopper but it uses up all my calories at 12 pm? Like, let me live.
It’s hard to track calories accurately – most of us underestimate how many calories we eat and overestimate how many calories we burn. The calorie counts on packaged food are estimates at best, and even calculators on fitness programs and trackers are inaccurate, because our bodies burn a different amount of calories every day.
I just don’t want my life to revolve around My Fitness Pal. So monotonous and regimented - blurgh.
I’m kind of liking this relaxed approach to eating, and just aiming to eat nutritious, whole foods as much as possible.
Tracking calories long term can have a really negative effect on your mental health – um, pssh, no thanks.
This whole thing is meant to be about health, longevity and sustainability – not being a certain weight. But at the same time ... it might be a helpful exercise for me to be more mindful about how much I’m eating.
Listen, I honestly don’t know on this one, guys. I’m doing my research, especially on the mental effects of calorie counting, and whether it’s a sustainable practice long term, and I’m going to report back to you by Monday.
But I'd love your perspective on this.
What’s your experience with calorie counting (especially if you have anxiety or are prone to being a little obsessive)?
Do you/did you find it helpful, or did you find it led to unhealthy obsession?
Let’s talk about it in the comments below, I’m curious to hear your thoughts.
Okay, let’s dive into the Captain’s Log – which is a twofer, because I gave myself the day off yesterday (I’m such a good boss, aren’t I?)
Breakfast today was a bowl of 2/3 cup Oat Flakes/All Bran with 1/2 cup skim milk (forgot to take a photo so here's one from the archives).
P.S. I have a hack to make your favourite cereal a little healthier - instead of just having one bowl of Kellogg's Crunchy Nut (which I'm sure we'll all agree is the best cereal there is), halve the portion and replace it with All Bran.
All Bran might have a similar number of calories but it's much more nutritious - jam packed with fibre, and it's low GI, so it will help keep your blood sugar stable, which means you won't be hungry and low in energy in an hour.
For lunch I had an unexpectedly yummy sandwich - I spread my sandwich with avocado, light mayo, and pickles, and to that I added leftover slaw from last night and a tin of tuna.
I had to hold the sandwich with both hands because stuffing was going everywhere, but it was absolutely epic.
After lunch, I was still a bit hungry so I topped up my tummy with an apple pie muesli bar.
Tonight’s dinner was another Marley Spoon special – savoury mince on toast on top of potato wedges with crumbled feta on top.
Listen, this is how I’m going to be cooking savoury mince from now on because it was BOMB.
It tasted even better than it looked (sorry about the gritty photo).
Sidenote: This easily served three people. I only had half of my portion and saved the rest of the mince mixture for lunch the next day.
For dessert tonight I treated myself to one of Greg’s choc covered vanilla ice creams. So good!
Today I dug out a pearler from the archives: this one's called Do It Debbie's Way: a workout by Debbie Reynolds of Singin' in the Rain fame.
This workout was perfect for PMS, because Debbie keeps it low impact, but what I loved most about it was how hilarious it was.
Picture this: her friend, Shelley Winters, is only in it because Deb roped her into it, and unlike the other girls in the video, who are done up to the nines in the usual 80s workout fare, she rocks up in black track pants and an oversize tee that says 'I'm doing this for Debbie'.
Then she proceeds to troll the whole workout, muttering things like "This one's boring, I hate it", and the banter between her and Debbie throughout is hilarious, having the whole group in fits of laughter.
It's an absolute scream - the perfect workout to put a smile on your face.
I really didn't feel like working out today, but I'm so glad I showed up for it. After I finished with Debbie Reynolds, I found my second wind and got through the full weights workout program I'd written for myself.
For breakfast this day I kept it very simple: a cup of instant coffee with milk, and 1/2 a cup of All Bran/Oat Flakes with about two tablespoons of sugar free granola and 1/2 cup of skim milk.
I feel like the photo doesn't do it justice - today's lunch tasted kind of like a meat pie sandwich.
I had leftover savoury mince from last night's dinner in a toastie with about 20 g of vintage cheese and a drizzle of tomato sauce.
I can't tell you how satisfying and comforting it was - especially on the first day of my cycle. For some reason I reach for warm, deeply stodgy and comforting foods.
I just want to eat my favourites. I think it's because I get incredibly nauseous that first day, so I don't have an appetite for anything else.
I finished up lunch with another apple pie and custard bar.
Tonight I treated myself to a Thursday night favourite: a teriyaki chicken bowl from Sushi Train.
Mmm ... teriyaki chicken. I need to figure out how to make it the way Sushi Train does.
It just tastes different when you make it at home. Does anyone know how they get it to taste so good?
Anyway, it was so filling that I didn't really have much room for dessert ... but I did (finally) get to watch the Britney Spears documentary, so I opened up a little mini bag of air popped popcorn (about 16 g) and munched on that while I was engrossed in Britney's story.
Have you seen the documentary yet?
I kept today's workout low to the ground with a yoga/light aerobics/core/stretch program I'm designing. I played around with a few elements and spent about 45 minutes on my mat in total.
Normally I can't face an ab workout when it's that time of the month but these workouts are different. Because they stretch the body and work on deep core muscles, it feels quite doable and even gave me a few hours' relief from my cramps.
I can't wait to share it with you! Watch this space!
Well my loves, that's about all I have time for tonight. It's time to get my Friyay night sorted.
I hope you have an amazing weekend. Stay true to yourself and your goals, stay active, eat well, but most importantly, enjoy making memories.
Until tomorrow, keep shining bright.