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How to Re-train My Calorie Counting Brain?

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  • How to Re-train My Calorie Counting Brain?

    I'm just wondering if anyone has any tips or tricks to soothe the mind regarding calorie counting? I've done it for so long, and with no real result (I pretty much always go over my intended caloric goal) and I think it's time to put the habit to bed. It just seems to stress me out more than anything and I'd rather develop a more positive relationship with my food (where we can walk hand in hand into the sunset....).

    Since I started eating primally, I know I've been eating better and I feel great because of it. I want to be able to eat when I'm hungry and stop when I'm full, without trying to do some crazy mathematical equation in my head every time I put something into my mouth. Unfortunately, I still get panicky about how many calories are in what I'm eating and I have such trouble detaching myself from the rigidity of tracking.

    The other day I was checking out the Whole30 Challenge and they said something along the lines of not stepping on a scale for 30 days or tracking your calories and I thought "impossible!". But then I REALLY thought about it and it's a really good idea. I wonder what it would be like to have freedom from those numbers.

    Anyway, back to my point: if anyone has successfully weaned themselves from counting calories, I'd love to hear your story and how you completed what seems (to me) like an insurmountable task!

  • #2
    Originally posted by Robynbee View Post

    The other day I was checking out the Whole30 Challenge and they said something along the lines of not stepping on a scale for 30 days or tracking your calories and I thought "impossible!". But then I REALLY thought about it and it's a really good idea. I wonder what it would be like to have freedom from those numbers.
    It's awesome to have freedom from those numbers. First step - hide or throw away the scale. I was weighing daily and it was crazy-making, so I now limit myself to once a month. It helps me to focus on the important stuff like "how do I feel?" and "how is my energy?" and even "how do I look in the mirror?" I am seeing subtle changes in my body - toning, tightness, etc. My clothes aren't falling off, but things feel different. That may or may not reflect in the scale and I'm trying to be okay with that and okay with not knowing exactly.

    As for calories, it's a hard habit to break, but it is critical to get to know your body's own signals and eat intuitively, not based on some (relatively arbitrary) set of numbers that you "should" be eating. Stick to a variety of meats, veggies, and some fruits and eat what you enjoy in an amount that makes you satisfied but not stuffed. When you're hungry again, eat again. It sounds simple because it is but for someone who's been accustomed to counting something their entire life, it takes a while to get used to.
    "Sometimes, you need to make sure the angel on your shoulder has a wingman." -Me

    My primal log

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    • #3
      i used to count calories, and no problems stopping my counting/weighing/etc.
      if you can't just step away, one thing i suggest is to track your food, not your calories. keep a food log (on paper) with just the foods you are eating. you can still track what you're eating, but you're not chasing some number. do you best to only eat when you are hungry, then write down what you ate...don't plan out your food.

      at the end of the week you can log all your food into a calorie counter if you are curious, but take note of how you feel and look before you do that. if you're eating primally, i think a couple weeks of this will help you kick the habit because you'll see you can succeed without counting.
      http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread60178.html

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      • #4
        The scale part is easy. Take the scale outside. Set it on the driveway. Go get a sledgehammer. Smash the scale with the sledgehammer. Throw the bits in the garbage can and sweep up the shattered stuff and toss that, too. Put away the sledgehammer.

        The calorie-counting bit starts with finding all your calorie-counting books (and I know you have them; all counters do) and tossing them either in the garbage, or burning them in a fire if you think you might be tempted to fish them out of the garbage. The barbecue might work, or a backyard fire-pit. The second step is to look at your food on the plate and say "This is food, not math class. I am going to eat food, not numbers." Then eat until you are satisfied (not stuffed). Wait until you're hungry again; do it again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

        I wish you luck.
        Primal eating in a nutshell: If you are hungry, eat Primal food until you are satisfied (not stuffed). Then stop. Wait until you're hungry again. Repeat.

        Looking for my Cholesterol Primer? Here it is: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum...mer-(Attempt-2)


        Ditch the scale!: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread33283.html

        My Success Story: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread30615.html

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        • #5
          It does feel a little like counting calories is just me trying to ignore how my body feels and instead make it fit into some bracket that someone decided was "right" a long time ago. My scale is so going out the window (by that I mean out of my bathroom and into storage).

          I like the idea of food logging, for a little bit anyway. I just want to get to a point where food isn't a constant stress for me.

          Thanks!

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          • #6
            Bah ha, I didn't read your reply, Griff, until it was too late.
            I have both a sledgehammer and a fire-pit. Done and done.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Griff View Post
              Put away the sledgehammer.
              No, no, no, After you've smashed the scale, find yourself a ginormous truck tire and then do an awesome sledgehammer workout.
              "Sometimes, you need to make sure the angel on your shoulder has a wingman." -Me

              My primal log

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ennasirk View Post
                No, no, no, After you've smashed the scale, find yourself a ginormous truck tire and then do an awesome sledgehammer workout.
                Well, yes, but this presumes that one wants to do that kind of workout.
                Primal eating in a nutshell: If you are hungry, eat Primal food until you are satisfied (not stuffed). Then stop. Wait until you're hungry again. Repeat.

                Looking for my Cholesterol Primer? Here it is: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum...mer-(Attempt-2)


                Ditch the scale!: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread33283.html

                My Success Story: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread30615.html

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Robynbee View Post
                  Bah ha, I didn't read your reply, Griff, until it was too late.
                  I have both a sledgehammer and a fire-pit. Done and done.
                  Go you! You'll feel better and less stressed the further away you get from counting, measuring and weighing.
                  Primal eating in a nutshell: If you are hungry, eat Primal food until you are satisfied (not stuffed). Then stop. Wait until you're hungry again. Repeat.

                  Looking for my Cholesterol Primer? Here it is: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum...mer-(Attempt-2)


                  Ditch the scale!: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread33283.html

                  My Success Story: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread30615.html

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    A mind trick that helped me was realizing that I should not be eating food that has calories/nutrition information listed on it, and so if I was eating foods without preset calorie counts, that meant that I didn't need to count calories....I'm all about the mind tricks!
                    My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread51572.html

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                    • #11
                      One thing that has helped me is that I continue to write down everything that i eat. Sometimes I still weigh servings on the kitchen scale (usually only to get the proportions right for multi-ingredient things) and I write that down too.

                      The trick? I write it all down... and then I never look at it again. If something goes horribly wrong I can go back and look it up. But knowing it is all there in that little notebook, means I don't have to carry it around in my head any more. I find it very freeing.

                      Good luck! I hope you find something that works for you.

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                      • #12
                        That's pretty clever Tawny, I like that. I hate reading nutrition labels anyway!

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                        • #13
                          Just stop counting, recording, etc. You can only think about something when you "tell your brain" to do it. If you suddenly find yourself summing up calories, think about pink elephants or something and stop.

                          At least that is what I tell myself

                          I'm on day 3 of a no counting/weighing test. I've been a counter/weigher for YEARS.

                          What I've noticed in my n=3 day test... I'm slightly less stressed about food. I don't care as much about knowing exactly what is in what I'm eating (to a degree - boyfriend/cook extraordinaire cooks to primal "code" so I still care about what goes in to what I'm eating but less about using 1 or 2 tbsp of oil...you know). I tend to stop eating sooner because I have fewer "well I still have 500 calories allowed so I might as well keep going".

                          I hope this works, it sure is nicer than constantly plugging stuff into the stupid app on my phone

                          Just give it a shot - 1 week - if you go crazy, you can always go back to counting!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Griff View Post
                            Well, yes, but this presumes that one wants to do that kind of workout.
                            My trainer seems to think I do. It's his new favorite form of client abuse.
                            "Sometimes, you need to make sure the angel on your shoulder has a wingman." -Me

                            My primal log

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'm a cronic counter/weigher/logger as well. Food weighing that is, because heaven forbid if I don't log the correct amount of grams!

                              This thread is very timely for me as A.) I just joined this forum, and B.) I was JUST lamenting the fact that I need a break from weighing/logging/counting in my journal on another site for EXACTLY THE SAME REASONS as the original poster.

                              I was GOING to start May 1st, but hey, why not today?

                              To take it even more OCD, I also wear a bodybugg.. and have for a YEAR.

                              So listen, woman, if I can do it, you can do it.

                              You, me AND our food will walk hand in hand together into the sunset (my husband won't mind at all).....

                              Julie

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