I started counting calories (this time) on 26th July 2015. Since then, I’ve been fairly regular, except for brief times when I had no idea how to count the calories (or even guess).
Here’s a couple of things I’ve learnt:
After a bit, it gets really easy: Okay, maybe if I was counting every bite of food ever (down to the five calories in a bit of carrot) as I used to do, it would still be a tedious, annoying process. In the first couple of weeks, I used to spend a fair amount of time thinking and cataloguing the calories in various food. Planning out what to eat during the day became a chore, and I wasn’t sure if I could stick to it. However, after a bit it became really automatic and really only takes about 15-20 minutes that I can do between classes or just before bed. I can do this. I really hope so, anyway.
The blog helps a lot to stay on track: The thing about calorie counting is that it’s easy to make the excuses. “Oh, x day was a birthday/wedding/celebration/whatever.” It is, however, hard to see that number on that screen. Therefore, the urge is always to “stop” counting on days of binges (and I’ll admit that I feel that way too). However, seeing those gaps when I’m trying to write a weekly recap really reduce the number of days when I don’t track. I track all the bad stuff, like days of extra-drinking and restaurants and everything (to whatever extent possible).
I won’t stick to it everyday: This is something I’ve understood, and accepted. I won’t make it to 1550 everyday, not if I want to keep up with my social life and not be the girl who just eats salads or be perpetually hungry and feel restricted. I also know that if I keep up with my exercise goals (or even go for a swim 3-4 times in that week) then I’m burning an extra couple of hundred calories. (Conservative estimate puts swimming thrice a week at about 500 calories. I usually exercise more than that.) I use those to fuel going out and drinking and living it up – though I try to eat and drinking conservative, low-calorie food and alcohol when doing so. Also, I have learnt that 1-2 a week, depending on what is done, is probably for the best. Better for my wallet, too.
I want pizza: Okay look you guys. I make a big deal of pretending that one can eat out, even at fast food places and make healthy choices. I know exactly what I can order from, say, McDonalds or KFC. But pizza is SO DIFFICULT. The most I can fit into my day would be half a medium pizza, which would be well-over half of my allotted calories and still not enough to keep me full. But I’ve decided that if I can eat well for two weeks (by which I mean not going above 1550 calories on any given day) and I don’t eat back my exercise calories, I can probably order from dominos once. Is it going to be worth it? We’ll see.
Calorie counting doesn’t necessarily make you healthier: I mean, it has meant that I pick smaller portion sizes (I have realized, with a little horror, just HOW badly I was eating in the past). But it doesn’t mean I’ll necessarily shy away from the packet of chips or won’t eat a muffin for breakfast. Also it’s sometimes just easier to count them because they have a calorie count on them. While I don’t consider this an absolute sin, I will look into incorporating more fruits and vegetable into my diet pretty soon, I think. Also, looking at the numbers it has made me start exercising a whole lot more. Not necessarily always more strenuous exercise (somedays I’ll pick walking over zumba or swimming, for example) but any exercise.
Sometimes you have to say no: No to the extra slice of pizza, no to going out, no to one more shot. It’s tough, but so what?