Calorie Tracking & Food Guilt
I think it started in my early 20s. Post-delicious high-fat, high-carb snack guilt. Dividing foods into “good” and “bad”. Feeling like I needed to work off food I had consumed earlier. Eating when hungry but also when feeling anxious or sad. All these issues with food stemmed from the fact that I wanted to lose about 20 pounds. I began tracking my food intake in notebooks. A number written at the top of the page signified the number of calories I should have in a day based on an online calorie calculator. When I strayed from the plan or when I went over my daily calories, I felt like I lost. Sometimes in the evening, I would abandon all self-control. "Screw it!", I thought.
Food tracking can work well for many people but it can also be a source of guilt, stress, and disordered eating. It did not work well for me at the time! The one positive thing to come out of my tracking was that reviewing food labels became a habit. Serving size and ingredient lists are eye-opening!
Why I Don't Do It Anymore
Just when you are hitting your stride.
You step wrong off a curb. Your knee does something funny when crawling into bed. A muscle strain. A broken toe. Any number of injuries and accidents can take us away from regular exercise. And for some reason, when that happens, the balanced eating also tends to fall away. I’ve been there. It’s rough.
One - LISTEN to your doctor or medical professional. Doing too much too soon will delay or alter your healing. Take it from me, the woman who continued to teach Jazzercise with a broken toe. In hindsight, I delayed the healing process by weeks.
Two - Move when/as much as you can without doing further damage. Lower body injured? Work your upper body and core. Do floor work if you are able. Find ways to keep moving but listen to your body and do NOT work through pain in the injured area.
Three - Feed your body well. I know it’s easy to reach for those comfort foods when you are physically hurting and upset. Eat some cake or fries or whatever it is that you crave but find balance. Your body deserves nutritious foods. Adjust your caloric intake to match reduced activity levels, if necessary.
Four - Talk to someone if you start to feel down or stressed. For many of us, regular workouts or daily walks are not only for physical health but for mental health.
Five - Practice gratitude. Studies have shown that being grateful has emotional, social, career and health benefits. Focus on what you CAN do. You are awesome! Even if you do break your toe on a table leg. (I don't recommend it!)
After you have healed, it can be hard to get back into the good habits you previously established. Make a plan, write it down, and start. You may not be where you left off and have to regress a bit in your fitness program and that’s okay. Re-assess your goals. Be aware of your self-talk; be kind to yourself. Keep moving. If you need some help getting back on track, I'm here!
I don’t know about you but I don’t want vanilla all of the time. Sometimes I need a different flavor, some variety, some sprinkles! The same goes for my workout! One of my favorite ways to incorporate a variety of movements into one exercise session is circuit training. Circuits involve performing 5 to 10 exercises working different parts of the body with minimal rest in between. Circuits can include body weight exercises, weights, resistance bands, weight machines, cardio equipment and many other fitness implements. The combinations are almost endless! The number of circuits completed depends on the amount of time you have. Limited time for exercise? Circuit training may be your answer.