You already know this. The marketing in our culture bombards us with "Only 100 cal per serving" and "Low-fat", "Zero Trans Fat", "High in Fiber", and so on. But what are we truly to listen to, believe, and adopt? These labels are purely for sales - please don't fall for them. And please don't succumb to the crazy fads/eating plans/whatever-they-call-it that Hollywood (and your neighbor) are "on." Severe and restrictive diets only breed severe metabolism and deficiency issues, which is a bigger problem - and a different post. So back to the topic at hand......
Personal tid-bit: I have never counted a calorie in my life. Nope. I've never weighed my food, tracked my daily fat intake, or measured total calories. Not that I don't think it's valuable, but I've never been one to micro-manage much. And truth? I really like to eat. I don't want to pause before every meal or snack to document what's about to be sucked down in the next three seconds. If I'm out in a restaurant, I am entitled to eat whatever I want, darn it. I'm a hungry girl, burn a gazillion calories a day, a busy wife and mom...I have no time for this! Give me my grub (and another basket of chips and salsa, please) and let's move on.
This is not to say I'm oblivious as to what I eat. I DO pay attention to ingredients and sugar content. I despise artificial anything (I can almost taste the aspartame as I write this - yyyyuuuck!) And I am, overall, a very health-conscious consumer. I stay far way from the obvious no-no's and try to make sound choices for myself and my family. But..........................I stand convicted. I really had no idea "how much" I was eating (or wasn't eating; more on that later.)
So over the summer, I was carrying on in the usual way. And I just felt God saying, "You aren't doing all you can." WHAT?!?! Seriously, Lord, how do you expect me to change anything right now? Kids are home, vacations are coming up, I am nearly over-training, and yet I hear Your voice telling me there's more?? Insert an open mouth and dropped jaw; perfect for the bowl of ice cream I ate just to spite my new bummer revelation.
Then, I stumbled upon the article that I was meant to read. Calories (and what kind of calories they are) C.O.U.N.T. I am no dumb dumb, of course they count. Aren't I suppose to eat, like... 2000 a day? And as long as I'm doing that, all is well? And I eat protein. Yeah, I do. And I watch my sugar and salt and I drink water and, and, and..........And then I realized, I didn't really kmow. Like, for sure know. I was accustomed to generalizing and so far, it worked. But I turned 43 in August and I could feel it wasn't working anymore. No, I was not "fat" - that isn't where I was. But I didn't feel my best and I believe when we feel our best, we are able to live our best and serve God every day. So, I got over myself and my pride and started searching for ways to cinch it up in the kitchen.
I started writing down everything I ate and the nutritional content of it. UH, NO THANKS. Nobody has time for that. But I know that's where it starts because documentation = realization. I'm not an iPhone addict but realized this might be my ticket to efficiency. Since I don't do Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. I gave myself permission to exchange that time to start working with an App that would help me on this road to discovery. This was about my health and I felt good about using the tools technology offered. I knew it wasn't going to be long-term but simply just to help me become better acquainted with my eating habits and food choices.
And so, after a weekend away over Labor day (and some undocumented meals at The Cheesecake Factory) my husband and I downloaded a great app that we have been using for exactly one month. Know what? As much as I hate to admit it, I wasn't doing a great job. Shout out, God, you were right. And here it was - all proofed out on my phone (ahem, personal palm computer) in black and white. For me, some of the information was already known. But some was shocking: 1) I was usually under the necessary calories I needed each day. 2) I was only consuming 30-40% of the needed protein intake for my profile. 3) I sometimes skipped meals (eek!) 4) I was way over on sodium. 5) I didn't really get enough water. There's more, but overall, this raised my eyebrows.
After a month of our dedication to knowing more, we both feel healthier, have more energy, sleep better, work out harder, make better choices, are not as moody, and can now feel it when we don't eat enough!! (This leads to problems, Friends. Your body requires food/fuel, especially if you are trying to lose weight. You will not succeed long-term if your body feels deprived, not to mention the vitamin/mineral pitfalls when you don't get them!) So whatever you might discover, over-eating, trans-fast addiction, sugarholic, protein deficient, under-eating, dehydration, too much saturated fat - IT IS WORTH A MONTH OR SIX WEEKS OF LEARNING ABOUT IT. Eventually, you won't need an App to tell you how you're doing. But much like hiring a Personal Trainer, at first you must be taught and once you understand, you go off on your own. (Trainers often work ourselves out of a job, but that's the irony of good training.) Every now and then, you might need a tune-up with your new best-friend-app, but for now, I strongly suggest you set a date to start and commit for at least one month.
Because in the end - Calories Count.
*If you would like to know what App I am currently using, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org