My Therapist’s View on Calorie Counting

love2eatinpa, 06 February 2010, 20 comments
Categories: Day to Day Stuff
Tags: , , ,

So I went to see my therapist a couple of days ago and as always, the appointment was great. I see him once a month, a far cry from when I had to do a brain dump on him every week. Now it’s just for me to touch base on certain issues or questions I have. I always leave his office with tons of info to process, but it’s always thought provoking and helps me to grow.

So I have certainly been writing about and reading about counting calories lately – why/how some of us do it and why/how some of us don’t, and our reasons why. So it was definitely on my list of things to speak with him about.

My therapist told me that if it makes me feel safe and secure, then I should by all means continue to calorie count. (He also said with my recent steps of not getting on the scale every day (it’s been over three weeks now!) and my shift to trying to tune into my hunger cues, that now would not be the time to try to stop counting calories as well.)

He said the questions I need to ask myself are – Will I own myself back if I stop counting? Will I be able to live more freely if I’m not counting?. He said that stopping something that I have done for a good 25 years or so, will kind of be like a death, but that a death allows for a birth.

So for now I will continue to count, as I don’t want to take on too much change at once, but giving up the counting may be in my future. Only time will tell.


One Day at a Time... Nurture myself... Awareness... Letting Go... Listen to my Body

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Comments

20 Responses, Leave a Reply
  1. Vera
    06 February 2010, 3:56 pm

    Calorie counting drives me UP THE WALL!
    and yet, I seem to do it at every meal. lately i’ve been tryingto make my meals quickly and not stare at the nutrition facts, but I still end up estimating in my head.

    Anywho, great post.

    xox Vera
    balancingfoodandlife.wordpress.com

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    is the calorie counting working for you though? i think even if i stopped “officially” writing it down, it would be very hard to stop estimating in my head. for me, i’m very type-a, so i sort of get off on staying on top of the numbers. still, it’s a control issue. a fine line i’m walking here. thanks for stopping by, vera!

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  2. Holly
    06 February 2010, 5:59 pm

    I guess I am less rigid with counting than you, but I definitely see your therapist’s point! Especially questioning if we’ll be able to live more freely without counting. For me the answer is no (at least right now), and any way we can avoid anxiety, we should – right??

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    i love how my therapist poses things to me in that way. but i agree with you, holly, i think it will bring me too much anxiety to stop (at least right now for me as well).

    [Reply]

  3. Mary Kate
    06 February 2010, 11:05 pm

    i loved seeing my therapist. And usually i already knew the answers to my problems i just needed a confirmation that i was on the right path.

    Does counting everything get in the way of your life? Is it interfering with your day to day activities. If not then why not keep going? Maybe if it does then you will be able to find a way to count in a healthy way mentally and emotionally. I have been wondering how someone like you that has been counting for 25 years would even begin to stop doing it. That is a tough one but one you can conquer i am sure. YOu are a strong individual that wants this peace around food and that desire will bring change. The problem is recovery takes so much time…but i have learned the biggest accomplishments in life are the ones that have the hardest road.

    ok…back to my taxes…ugh.:)

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    yes, my therpist rocks. i’ve been counting so long and it’s just a natural part of my day, that i don’t feel like it’s interfering with my activities. it’s more of a tallying, than counting as i already know how many calories everything is, if that makes any sense. but i guess i would just have to go cold turkey like i did with the scale. but because i just did the scale and now the hunger cue thing, it is not the right time to stop calorie counting as well, as it is most definitely giving me safety and security right now. thanks for your support, mary kate!

    [Reply]

  4. Jodi
    07 February 2010, 12:12 am

    Wow…I can totally relate to your calorie counting obsession! I just discovered this blog (through yumyucky) and am so glad that this is the first post I read.
    I rarely ever even glanced at nutrition labels until about 3 years ago – when I ate under 1,000 calories for a month. Now, I’m generally satisfied with my weight, but I absolutely cannot stop counting. I rarely think about how hungry I am or what food my body is craving; rather, my food choices come from how many calories I can afford to eat at that time. It’s totally unhealthy – physically and mentally. I’ve tried to stop, but at the end of every day, I’ll still find myself counting.
    I’m sooo glad to find someone who can relate! I’m excited to start reading more of your blog now.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    hi jodi, thanks so much for stopping by! i can totally relate to what you are saying as far as not even thinking about how hungry you are or what your body is craving. it wasn’t until about two weeks ago, when i came down with a nasty stomach virus, that i got the gift of awareness of listening to my body’s hunger cues. i have been trying to do “listen” ever since. a far cry from my just eating on autopilot the calories i’ve allotted myself that day! still, calorie counting will continue for me until i’m ready to trust myself to not count. right now, i need that safety net in place for maintaining my weight.

    [Reply]

  5. jackie callahan
    07 February 2010, 11:54 am

    I totally hear you on the calorie counting. It’s a two-sided sword: on one hand, it can be negative: I really think a lot of it is about not trusting myself, fearing that if I don’t keep myself tied up, I will go hog-wild. And I need to learn self-trust, and know that I won’t let myself down.
    The plus side is that it helps me stay accountable. It’s right there in black and white, so I can’t lie to myself, or rationalize, or play any of the mind-games I play in order to get what I want. The biggest plus is that staying in that reasonable-zone keeps me sane. When I am allowing myself to do whatever, sometimes I self-sabotage.
    So my goal is to learn that balance without the inflexibility that calorie counting comes with. Someday, I’d like to really learn to rely on my intuition to tell me when I’ve had enough. That inner gieger counter that other people seem to have, but I sometimes feel I don’t. I think it’s there; I just haven’t learned to trust it yet!

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    you did totally hear me and wrote it very eloquently, jackie. my goal is to learn the balance and rely on my intuition as well, but after counting for decades, it won’t be easy. but i am a work in progress, growing and learning new things each day. however, if i never stop counting calories, well, that certainly won’t make me a bad person. i need to be kind to myself in all of this too.

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  6. Jess
    07 February 2010, 2:34 pm

    I can see both sides of calorie counting–the usefulness of control (I, historically, underestimated portions of what I love to eat and overestimated portions of what I don’t) and the worry it can become a compulsion, too (like daily weighing).

    In the program, they say not to give up other addictions until you get one stable because it will probably cause more problems than help. Right now, I have a few unpleasant compulsions that were uncovered when I let go of the biggest burden, but binge eating was the one that halted my life completely. I hope some day to have “normal” eyes and be able to see food totally normally. But while I’m completely self-decimating if I fail, I am being as gentle as I can on myself while I work toward recovery.

    I think you’re doing fine, personally. Hope that some day you’ll be able to eyeball portions effortlessly, but accept for now it’s okay to count calories to keep your sanity.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    thanks for the support, jess. i have accepted that my calorie counting is ok for now, though one day it would be nice if i didn’t have to and could just trust myself to eat properly and maintain my weight.

    [Reply]

  7. Anonymous Fat Girl
    07 February 2010, 3:57 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. I know it must be really tough to stop something that you are used to doing. I have faith in you that when you are ready, you’ll be able to do it.

    Sounds like you have a great therapist with some great advice. 🙂

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    you are right, it is really tough. the counting is just like brushing my teeth, something i do every day, an ingrained habit for all these years. thanks for your faith, i need to gain that faith and trust in myself if i’m ever going to stop calorie counting. and yes, my therapist rocks. 🙂

    [Reply]

  8. Jill
    07 February 2010, 5:15 pm

    I say keep counting until you feel like you can stop, don’t pressure yourself into stopping. 🙂

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    thanks, jill. i think there is no stock answer for everyone. i think when it feels right, i will know. that could be in two weeks, two months, two years or 22 years. 🙂

    [Reply]

  9. Diana
    07 February 2010, 9:01 pm

    I really don’t know how you’ve suceeded and counted calories. It makes me nutso. But, if it works for you then it works! I’m with most of those above (maybe all..no time to read them all!)…don’t stop until you know or feel you’re ready!

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    sadly, i can barely remember a time in my life when i didn’t count. i hope one day i can stop, but right now it’s kind of my anchor to being binge-free. thanks, diana, for your support. i can see how it would make someone nuts, but not an a-type like me. 🙂

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  10. Sagan
    08 February 2010, 12:08 pm

    I see a nutritionist about once a month, and she does the same thing for me that your therapist does. I kind of think of her as my “food therapist”, to be honest; she helps me with my issues that I’ve had with food.

    I think that your therapist has given excellent advice regarding calorie counting. I’ve counted on and off for the past few years and it’s had an interesting effect: sometimes it helped to keep me healthy, other times it sparked disordered eating… the difference was where I was in my life. Nowadays, I DO count calories, and I find that it is working really well for me and it’s a positive thing.

    And yeah- even when I’m *not counting*, I still count in my head. I can’t help it. So I find it easier to write it down, because that way I don’t have to THINK about it… it’s not in the back of my mind trying to calculate how much I should eat for the rest of the day.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    sounds like you have a great “therapist” there! you bring up a great point, i think that even if i didn’t write it down, i wouldn’t be able to help but keep count in my head and that would be stressful. much easier to just write it down!

    [Reply]

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