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
Links to Nutrition Info
Macronutrients, or macros, are carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. We hear a lot more about tracking macros than tracking calories these days. Information about macronutrients from the USDA and academic sources can be found here:
Several diets change the daily percentages of macros away from the Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range (AMDR): 45-65% carbohydrates, 20-35% fat, and 10-35% protein. A current trend, known as Keto, is to dramatically reduce the percentage of carbohydrates consumed and increase fat, shifting what the body uses for energy. Can't seem to get away from this one on social media!
Intermittent fasting is another dietary trend becoming increasingly common:
Science based information on the top nutrition myths this year:
I hope you found some helpful information by reading the linked articles. Eating well is relatively simple but not necessarily easy. I still occasionally catch myself falling back into old habits. If I feel food guilt creeping up, I remind myself to look at the bigger picture. An ice cream sundae from Andy's Frozen Custard is not going to make much difference if my overall diet is well-balanced and healthy. Sometimes a gal just wants a frozen treat!