What Are You Counting?

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I like to think that I eat healthy because there are vegetables on my plate at dinner and I had a protein shake after my workout. I like to think that I got close to the right number of calories for my activity level because I ate and I got a workout in. I’m pretty sure I am managing my portion sizes and I have good habits of choosing protein at every meal, but most of that runs in the back of my consciousness. 

I don’t like counting calories, macros or portions. So most days I don’t know for sure, and I think that is healthy and good. I don’t want to be managed by counting calories. 


I like counting dinners with my family. I like counting reps and rounds and weight on the bar. I like recounting friendly interactions. I log journal entries of experiences I want to remember. 


Most days I don’t care about the number on the scale. 


And then some days I get caught by a moment. A pair of pants feels tighter than I expect them to be. Or after dinner as we’re sitting watching TV, the delicious memory of the cinnamon roll I shared with my daughter that morning interrupts my cookie eating to remind me that I already had dessert today. These experiences invite me to decide if I want to count something else for a bit. 


I can decide to count calories, macros or portions and see if my actions match up with what I think is happening. Or I can decide that the shared cinnamon roll and conversation are what I want to count and move on. I can’t ever change the past, so I don’t need to give energy to regret over food choices. I can decide to make different choices at my next meal. 


About twice a year I take a month and count calories, or macros or portions. Because I can’t know if I am not counting. The results are always surprising. 


I work to have conversations with my stomach which complains like a spoiled child. “We will have dessert this weekend. I’m sorry I let you believe that it was appropriate to have as much as you wanted.” It takes about a week and then we get back in sync with each other and then I wonder why I ever got confused. I feel good and more energized when I am eating what I need. 


There are great reasons to count. The first reason is to get alignment in your own body. And there are many others: Meredith needs to gain muscle mass to compete, those muscles won’t grow without specific counting. I bet there are meals she doesn’t feel like eating. Wonder where those extra pounds came from? Wonder why they don’t disappear even when you’re working out? Have a special event you want to perform or look a specific way for? Competitions. Marathons. Childbirth. Weddings. Chasing a very fast three year old?


Do you know how many calories are in a handful of almonds? Does it really matter today?


A serving size is 23 almonds – 162 calories, 14 grams of heart-healthy unsaturated fat, and 6 grams of protein. 


Do you know what it feels like to eat 23 almonds? It usually feels like not enough. 

Do you know what it feels like to eat grams of protein that equal your ideal body weight? (150lbs = 150g protein) It usually feels like too much. 


I am going to be counting in May. Want to join me? We’re going to do a gym counting challenge in May. It’s easier to count with friends. Maybe you want to count calories with me? Or maybe you need to count cinnamon rolls over conversation. More on that coming next week. 

Do you need help evaluating your plan? Or figuring out small next steps? Schedule a FREE Intro Call and create a plan with one of our expert nutrition coaches.

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