Hello, hello blogging buddies!
Wow was that ever a corny intro. Sorry guys… I’m going to go ahead and blame it on hunger and a lack of food in my belly, so give me a sec to remedy that situation before I embarrass myself even further…
Coconut Greek yogurt – banana – blueberries – Kashi Cinnamon Harvest – Puffins – roasted almond butter.
Much better; I just hope it lasts for a while. I think I might be making up for the weekend because my appetite has seriously been off the charts. I was more-or-less a bottomless pit yesterday, and today looks like it’s going to be more of the same. But here’s the crazy part: it doesn’t bother me. Hungry? Eat. Hungry again 1.5 hours later? Eat some more. It wasn’t even that long ago that I admitted to getting a little anxious whenever I’d get hit with an insatiable appetite day, but somewhere between then and now the anxiety started to taper off to eventually disappear.
I’m not entirely sure how it happened, but I have a feeling that a lot of it came down to [repeatedly] taking a chance (ie: eating more to honor my increased hunger) and realizing that nothing bad happened as a result. I realize that makes it sound ridiculously easy in theory when it’s not in practice, but that’s what it basically comes down to. At the end of the day, you just have to do it.
If you find yourself stuck in that kind of situation, one piece of advice that I can give to make the whole process a little more effective, if not easier, is to ditch the numbers. Stop feeding the obsession and let them go. Don’t weigh yourself on a daily basis and don’t compulsively count calories – it’s not helping you. Yes, not knowing is terrifying at first, but you can’t expect to move forward if you’re clinging to what’s holding you back.
Remember when I asked you guys what you thought about me including nutrition labels on my recipes? After giving it a little bit of thought, I’ve decided that I’m not going to do it, and here’s why:
I don’t like numbers – they only complicate things.
After letting numbers control and make decisions for me for years, I’ve done my best to eliminate them from my life as much as I possibly can. I don’t count calories. I don’t weigh myself. I don’t use a heart rate monitor. I don’t tally up how long I spend working out every day. I don’t track how many miles I walk per week. Why? Because I don’t need to.
I’m not training for anything; I’m just trying to live my life and be healthy. And honestly? Numbers aren’t going to help me do that. If anything, they’re just going to get in the way by taking my focus off of what really matters and leading to an obsessive mindset that I’d rather avoid.
Think about it – how much control do you hand over to numbers? How many times has your day been ruined by the number you saw on the scale? How many times have you denied yourself something because of the number you saw on the label? How many times have you worked yourself into the ground because you just had to meet some number? My guess is probably more times than you’d like to admit. I hear ya – I’ve been there too; but I’ve fought tooth and nail to leave that place behind and I don’t want to go back.
This is a muffin…
It has blueberries and bananas. Oatmeal. There’s some Greek yogurt in there too. Healthy stuff. Sure it has a certain number of calories and a certain amount of carbs/fats/proteins, but what does that honestly tell you? Why does eating have to be an equation and cooking a calculation? Why can’t we just enjoy good food for what it is instead of fussing about the numbers behind it?
Because we’ve stopped listening to our bodies and started listening too much to our heads. Because we bought in to the idea that there’s a perfect or right way to eat. Because we shifted our focus from feeling good to being good, as if eating “right” somehow makes us a better person. Nonsense. If anything, I’d argue that an obsession with perfect eating does quite the opposite – it takes up so much time and energy and often makes us irritable and unpleasant to be around.
Of course there are instances where numbers can be beneficial, but I really believe that they only make things worse in the majority of situations. I can’t even tell you how much happier and more relaxed I’ve become since transitioning over to a number-free life, and I highly encourage you to give it a try for yourself 🙂
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As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
How big of a role do numbers play in your life?
How would you feel without scales, heart rate monitors, measuring cups, clothing sizes, etc. Would not knowing be uncomfortable or blissful?
Normally I don’t read post on blogs, however I would like to say that this write-up very forced me to take a look at and do so!
Numbers definitely consumed my life and the way I eat. Today marks day one of intuitively eating and no more counting calories. I already feel more free! I am still quite anxious about the whole thing since I am trying to loose a few pounds I gained while counting, funny since I lost 30 pounds not counting calories of any kind, no weighing and no measuring cups. How and Why I decided to start is a confusing jumble of things. Counting calories has become quite the habit..surprising how much of my life it has taken up. Hoping I can truly start living a healthy lifestyle starting today. Thank you for sharing your thoughts! It is very comforting and helpful to know others have been where I am and have changed and been better for it 🙂
So I love lists, order, structure and even some numbers. It’s my self-diagnosed OCD, and I don’t mind feeding it at times (i.e. my spices are in alphabetical order). When it comes to food and exercise though, I track the number of days I workout, but literally nothing else, and the results of it are purely for curiosity sake. It dooesn’t make or break my mood. I don’t count calories, not in or out. I don’t track or weigh my food and unless it’s baking, I don’t measure my ingredients either. All I want is for my food to be real food that is nourishing and sustaining for my physical and mental health (chocolate is great for my mental health). Kudos to you for being so open about this; it seems like a hot topic in the bloosphere lately, and I love your take on it.
[email protected], pleasure, and health
like most the readers here, I agree with each and every word of this post. Numbers does nothing rather than causing stress and complications. I have not really calculated numbers in details but I had habit of looking at food labels alot but now I am relying more whole foods and clean eating so I really dont care as long as its healthy, unprocessed stuff 🙂 thanks so much Amanda for such inspiring post
Yay! I was hoping that’s what you would decide! I am finally ready to stop measuring, counting, tracking, obsessing and just eat… Listen to my body… And live life! I am going to have so much more time now 🙂 when you stopped, did you start with just a meal? I feel like I need o just stop it all from the get go. I mean my whole point in counting and measuring is to hit a certain number over the course of a day. If I count all but one meal, it feels pointless to count the others. Sorry if that’s really confusing.
Amanda @ .running with spoons.
When I first dabbled in the idea of letting go of calorie counting, I started small and only did it for one meal/snack a day, but you’re right – I did find that kind of pointless in the end so eventually I just went cold turkey, and THAT’S when I found it to be the most effective.
Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli
Seriously girl, I want a copy of your first book! I could not help but shake my head in agreement after each line I read! You are so right…we DO let numbers (in all varieties of ways) control us or keep us from actually “living” and that’s just no way to live. I’m only now beginning to see just how much I’ve let “numbers” rule my life…the scale, the time, the distance…and I’m ready to finally break away from it! Praying that I find the words to describe everything that’s been going through my head lately for tomorrow’s post! 🙂
Brittany @ Delights and Delectables
I love this! You are such an inspiration.
I wish we could just rid ourselves of numbers! I think sometimes we “know” how many calories our bodies need, but in reality we can’t measure calories. Plus, every body is different and each day is different. It is so freeing to just honor your body and eat when you are hungry.
Laura Agar Wilson (@keephealthstyle)
I think when we use numbers we are making an assumption that our bodies are some kind of machine or equation that can be solved. The amount of calories and number on the scale can only ever be a guide that is useful for some people and not for others. I’m glad that I’m feeling pretty detached from numbers at the moment. I was calorie counting to make sure I eat enough, but I don’t worry about that any more and I’m letting go and just trusting my body. I eat when I know I have true physical hunger, and sometimes even when I just want to eat because it tastes so darn good!
kaity @ kaityscooking
I agree with this so much.. I let go alot of the numbers that I struggled with in the past, the scale being a huge one. Because you are right, wtf does it matter how much I weigh that day!? I don’t count calories anymore but from time to time, usually only when I am out to eat I will try and think of the calories in my head. Also I use it to make sure I am eating enough because I can easily fall into that trap not purposely so I got to keep myself in check. But once I am fully comfortable I know those few times of calorie counting will be out for good because the numbers really do suck!
You’re my hero! Just saying.
My darling Amanda, good for you on listening to what YOU want and not what others may want. I think your reasoning behind not posting the nutritional information is great! What I also think is great is your cereal and yogurt mess you had for breakfast. Coconut yogurt? Um can you please send some this way!!
Ksenija @ Health Ninja
I am so happy about your decision. It is great that there are other blogs out there which do not bother adding nutritional labels to their recipes. Somehow it would have been strange, that on the one hand you represent an intuitive “eat when you are hungry” approach on health eating, but on the other hand give calorie amounts for your recipes. I am a fan of your blog because of it’s sincerity – so thanks for that!
Kristy @ Southern In Law
I’m with you – I don’t include nutrition labels on my recipes because they’re just too complicated and I’m not into them. I am way more concerned with providing recipes which can be adapted to suit anyones dietary needs – and how am I going to calculate something when I don’t know which ingredients someone would use when making my recipe (there is a huge difference between wheat/gluten free flours or almond/cows milk, for example).
All of my recipes are healthy, low fat and often allergy friendly recipes – but it’s definitely a number free zone from me (though many readers do comment/pin with their calculations).
I have never ever had a heartrate monitor and I’m quite glad – sometimes I like to walk fast and other times I like to stroll along and enjoy my surroundings – there is so much more freedom when you’re not controlled by numbers/times/rates etc. As for clothing sizes – they drive me crazy! Only because they differ so much from store to store and vanity sizing often makes it impossible for me to find clothes that fit. I might be one size in one store and two sizes bigger in another – heck, my wedding dress is apparently 6x the size of my clothes (seriously off there – but so many brides get depressed over that!)
Ashley @ AlmostVegGirlie
The first step towards eliminating numbers in my life was really hard, but it’s been incredibly freeing to escape most of those numbers in my daily routine. I finally stopped tracking calories/macros about 2 months ago and I can honestly say I have no desire to track them again. I do still have a rough calorie estimate of what I’m eating now, but it’s not all-consuming like it once was.
One thing I’m still having issues with is feeling okay with hunger/lack of hunger. I still kinda freak out when I get hungry earlier than usual and while I try to honor that hunger sometimes, I admit that sometimes I just drink a lot of water or eat fruit to shut my stomach up. I’ve been noticing that I’ve been getting pretty hungry between breakfast and lunch some days and I’m really scared about adding a midmorning snack because I’m not used to eating at that time but going 5-6 hours without eating obviously isn’t cutting it for me, so I need to either bulk up my breakfasts or add in a snack! I guess it just goes to show that our bodies really do know best and if we actually listen to them, we’ll be healthy and happy!
Amanda @ .running with spoons.
That’s so great to hear that you gave rigid tracking the boot, Ashley! And don’t be scared to add an extra snack in there. I couldn’t imagine going 5 or 6 hours without food, and the majority of people grab a snack mid-morning to tide them over until lunch. Like anything else, it might be scary at first, but it’ll get a lot easier once you realize how much better it makes you feel.
Court Star @ StarSystemz
Numbers really have played a HUGE part in my life until this year. The only time I care is when I am lifting as I like to set goals, how many times I lifted a particular weight, how much weight I added at each workout etc. this is FUN numbers though and sets up challenges for me which I enjoy! My whole thing, EAT all natural organic foods + numbers won’t really matter. Great/inspiring post! Love + Shine CourtStar
Gina @ Health, Love, and Chocolate
I completely agree with you on this. When I first started posting recipes I included nutritional info, but I actually went back and took it off soon after and haven’t included it since. While I do understand that the information is helpful for some people depending on their goals/needs/etc (and I do calculate and give the nutrition facts to friends/family that I bake for if they specifically request it), for me baking and cooking is something that is relaxing and therapeutic, and adding numbers into the mix just takes away from the experience. I mean, who wants to think about grams of sugar while licking the spoon, am I right? (Ironically I spent today both baking and licking the spoon ;-)).
but you can’t expect to move forward if you’re clinging to what’s holding you back
<3 <3 <3
Sara @ Nourish and Flourish
YES. Amen to every word, Amanda. I was a slave to numbers for 12+ years of my life, beginning at age 13. It pains me to think about how much time I spent worrying, obsessing, and crying over the silly man-created figures I slapped on food and exercise. I firmly believe that there’s NOTHING good about counting calories–even for those who seek to lose 100 pounds. A balanced and moderate approach to eating–one that’s defined by few rules and basic logic–is the only approach that leads to a healthy weight AND a happy soul. I know others might disagree, but this is what I’ve found to be true.
I’d be lying if I said that numbers don’t still affect how I eat and workout, though. However they no longer grip me the way they used to. Sure, I read nutrition labels, and may chose not to eat something because the numbers are a bit higher than I’d like them to be. Likewise, I shoot to do a certain number of minutes of cardio each week, but it’s not what defines me. I don’t HAVE to meet that number. And for me, that small difference is the biggest difference in the world. 🙂
Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin
I totally agree! I don’t weigh myself, count calories, track my workouts, etc because I just don’t care enough and I don’t think it’s important to living a healthy lifestyle. Plus counting calories and tracking macros seems like a big time suck – I’d much rather spend my time doing something else!
I hate numbers. But sometimes it’s critical. For example, I wish I could stop obsessing about my grades in university .. I wish I could just enjoy the experience! But it’s impossible to just try to enjoy what you’re learning when you know that you have to meet a certain grade. And this set number is more or less required in my situation, since I’m trying to get into post grad schools .. sigh. Sometime we can’t escape some numbers.
Amanda @ .running with spoons.
Very true. But that’s all the more reason to let go of the numbers that we CAN escape.
Andrea @Pencils and Pancakes
It’s hard to let go of those numbers……I think I pay attention to calories but mainly make sure I put good food in my body. You CAN overeat healthy food, however, so I pay attention to serving sizes to makes sure I don’t overdo it.
Matt @ The Athlete's Plate
I am actually a HUGE numbers person. Sometimes a bit OCD!
As frustrating as the advice of “just do it (just stop counting calories, just eat, etc.)” can be for someone who’s just beginning recovery or not even at that stage yet, there really is something to it! I know that the more I “just did it,” whether I just stopped tallying up my calories, or just ate when I was hungry, or if I just relaxed for an entire day…. it got easier each time. And for the reasons you mentioned! I didn’t see terrible negative consequences from these things, and in fact felt so much better — I didn’t feel boxed in, and I felt more energized, and my mood improved.
So while the advice may sound really simple and like it’s not taking into account what people are going through, it really *is* good advice and something that just needs to be done. The less you think about it and just do it, the easier it gets. 🙂
Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health
Hi Amanda, I just found your blog and think it is great! I completely agree with you that listening to out bodies should be top priority and not counting calories. I got up in calorie counting with the MyFitnessPal App for a few weeks but it was so time consuming and not really necessary. I will say that it opened my eyes to how much sugar and protein I was getting and helped me to eliminate and add certain foods to help with that. But long term, it isn’t a healthy habit, in my opinion. Great post!
Amanda @ .running with spoons.
Thanks Sarah! It’s definitely a bad habit to get into, and the scary thing is that it’s so easily to fall victim to it! What starts out as innocent curiosity can quickly spiral into an unhealthy obsession… That’s what I ended up happening to me 😕
Cori @ olivetorun
I would LOVE to live in a world without numbers… especially time. I wonder what we would do if we had no real concept of time.
Yes yes yes yes yes…
I was hoping that this would be the decision you made.
Letting numbers control us is such a waste of time and energy. I understand that people who are training for something specific or in the process of losing weight need to be aware of them but, for most of us, they shouldn’t matter! Food is fuel. Children don’t think about macros or calories. Cats and dogs don’t obsess over what time of day they’re eating. It seems silly that we should be doing those things. Eat what you’re craving, when you’re hungry and the rest will take care of itself.
Whew- I did NOT intend to rant for that long. Apologies. (:
Anyways, I’ve been through years of calorie counting and I’m definitely never willing to go back there! Thanks for another amazing post, girly!
Liz @ I Heart Vegetables
I actually just stopped calorie counting a couple of months ago. I’m not sure what happened, but all the sudden I was just SICK of it. And wouldn’t you know it… I haven’t gained a pound! Turns out my body knows what it needs!
Thank you for this post. I have been struggling with this exact issue for some time now. It is encouraging to know it is possible to leave the numbers behind.
Thank you so much for posting about this….I unfortunately let numbers run my life. I count calories, I wear a heart rate monitor, I eat by the clock, I weight myself….all of that awful stuff. It just consumes my life. I get upset about numbers easily. If I do not know the calorie count of something I get scared. If I am hungry and I just ate I will try and ignore it. Although I know I am no where close to being able to let go I feel like I have gotten better within the past few weeks. I have started to eat when I am hungry instead of by the clock on a few occasions. I am glad you have let go and I hope that I soon can to.
Amanda @ .running with spoons.
You’ll be able to, as long as you want it bad enough 🙂 You’ve already started making small steps, and that’s huge! Just keep making small changes and they’ll get you to where you want to be.
I try to keep the role of numbers in my life to a minimum. I haven’t weighed myself in over two years, I prefer to use ingredients freely instead of carefully measuring each one (which is why I’m not the best baker), and I don’t even know what my clothing size is! It depends on the store I’m at, the country I’m in, etc. … I feel happy in my ignorance. That way I can dedicate my time to more important things than silly numbers which are, for the most part, nothing but upsetting and restricting.
THANK YOU FOR THIS!!!! I have struggled with the whole “numbers” game and frankly it was starting to become annoying as it would interfere with my life. Why couldn’t I simply allow myself to just enjoy things simply by some small numbers printed along the side. I was also one who was crazy with weighing myself and many times I would be disappointed if I saw a number on the scale that I didn’t like. I made a huge decision to stop constantly weighing myself 5 months ago and I’ve never been happier. I never realized how much those numbers played such a role in my life. Now that I’ve stopped letting the numbers rule me, I’ve never felt happier or healthier than I am now. I’ve stopped obsessing and started enjoying things and allowed my body tell me what I want whether it may be the healthy salad or a big bowl of ice cream (topped with lots and lots of sprinkles!).
Rachel @ Undercover Diva: A Sitcom
While I don’t necessarily log my food every day, I keep a pretty good tally in my head of what I’m eating/how long I ran/worked out that day. I’m also trying to listen to my body and feed it when I’m hungry, but that’s scary because I feel like I’m hungry like every 2 hours. I guess you could say that I’m not totally free of numbers…and I’m not sure I ever will be. There are some areas of my life that I just can’t let go of.