I can still remember going to dinner with my girlfriends and spending 30 minutes before dinner looking online trying to find the calorie amounts of each menu item. I would carefully plug in what I planned to order into a calorie counting app to see what would be “safe” to eat and ensure that I didn’t go over my allotted amount. I knew before even going into the restaurant what I would order. It made me feel in control and safe. However, this specific time, when it was time to tell the waiter our orders, the entree I had pre-selected was no longer available. I felt so much panic and anxiety – I hadn’t prepared a back up. I quickly ordered a plain house salad (no dressing – yum!). For the rest of the dinner, I wasn’t present with my friends but was distracted by my meal. It was hard to enjoy being with my girlfriends. The salad was gross, I didn’t enjoy it, and I wished I was “able to” eat what my girlfriends were eating the entire time. Why did they get to have that freedom, but I couldn’t seem to give it to myself? Would I ever be able to change?
I look back on this version of myself now and feel bad for her. The amount of anxiety I put on myself to input every single meal into my calorie counting app, to plan my meals out for the day ahead, the guilt if I went over my “allowed” amount, or even worse when I went over and said “screw it!” and binged on all the food I deprived myself of each day. I would feel like a failure and vow to be perfect the next day. Every time. I vowed to be perfect and “do better” later.
It. Was. So. Exhausting.
I can truly say that ditching calorie counting and switching to eating intuitively has freed me from this anxiety and guilt and has brought me the greatest gift of all: joy.
Nowadays, if someone invites us out to dinner last minute, I can happily say yes. Before, if someone invited me last minute, I would’ve said no because it wasn’t “planned” into my day for meals.
When I do go out to eat now, I leave my phone in my car and am truly present with my friends or with Marco. I look at the menu and ask myself, “what sounds delicious?” and “what would leave me feeling good?”. I don’t look for the low calorie options. Instead, I look for delicious options that align with my values: enjoying GREAT food and feeling good in my body.
When my meal arrives, I savor every single bite because I know it’s what my body wants. Once I’m full, I ask for a to-go box, knowing that I can have this again at any time I want. Even if it’s an awkward amount – I find that an awkward amount of leftovers makes for a great snack the next day! If I am hungry again later that day, I eat my leftovers. If I am full, I have it the next day.
Beforehand, I would have eaten the entire meal, regardless of how full I felt, because to eat something tasty and unplanned would likely be breaking my diet. It was my “cheat meal”.
Intuitive Eating has freed my life in so many ways. The time that it takes to calorie count and plan is now time I spend being present with my husband, with Abby, with my friends. I am so much more present and intentional in my days. Food is no longer a thought for me unless I am hungry, then I get to ask myself, “what sounds good to eat?”. Not, “what did I plan out the day before?” or “what is the lowest calorie option?”
I’d love to help you shift from calorie counting (or macro counting) to Intuitive Eating if you’re in the same boat and are craving these same freedoms. If you’re ready to explore this, schedule a free Discovery Session where we’ll do just that.
If it seems like coaching is the next best step for you, you’ll be invited to a powerful experience to put all that you discover on this call into powerful action. (You won’t give an answer on the phone – there is no pressure.) Either way, you will experience a transformative hour of seeing just how much is actually available to you, in your unique life. Book here.