Counting Calories

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Counting Calories

So………..  What changed after reading Fat Is A Feminist Issue and having the ‘Eureka’ moment?  Well, change happened very slowly, but once I was aware of what I was doing I couldn’t go back to starving myself, to feeling unwell and to feeling tired all the time.   I was now aware that I was eating to suppress feelings and to stop my body developing into a woman. (When I look at that sentence it makes me feel so sad. Why wouldn’t I want to be a woman with all the wonderful things that being a woman can bring!)

It wasn’t an easy road.  It’s not easy to change something that you’ve been doing for a long long time, believing that what you’re doing is right.  But I made small changes which over time became part of my daily living, until eventually food was no longer an ‘issue’ – it became simply something to savour and enjoy.  I stopped obsessively counting calories. Such an easy thing to say but oh so difficult to do!  Even now, so many years later, I still sometimes reckon up calories mentally, and now that calories are included on packaging I occasionally take a look and sometimes think, “Heavens – are there that many calories in that little pot of pasta salad?

So, firstly, I decided to throw away my daily calorie-counting notebook that I meticulously  completed each day.  What a book that was!  It either sent me to bed very happy (because I had eaten between 600 – 900 calories that day) or I went to bed absolutely loathing and berating myself (because I had eaten just over 1000 calories), thinking angrily that I had to do better tomorrow.  If ever I ate over 1000 calories I would very often make it worse and pop downstairs to eat up the contents of the fridge and the goodies cupboard – thus making it worse by going to bed feeling bloated, sick and even more loathsome about myself.

What an awful cycle it had become. Every day food was like a drug for me. But, of course, I had to have my drug of choice in order to live. Others coming off a drug sometimes go ‘cold turkey’. Not me. I had to keep eating the turkey but in a much more realistic way!

Throwing away the calorie-counting book was easy, but working out calories in my head was not so easy. So instead I took to thinking positive thoughts about my food. So for example if I was eating a sandwich, I would have to say to myself, “This is a lovely sandwich. I’ve made it with delicious granary bread, tasty cheese and fresh tomatoes out of the garden.”  Thus, the sandwich became a joy to eat and not something to calorie count and loathe. I would also stop whatever I was doing and simply enjoy eating the food that was in front of me. I didn’t realise at the time that this was following a sort of Zen path, i.e., concentrating on what you are doing (such as eating) and give it your full attention.

Those two simple changes – throwing away the calorie-counting book and changing the thoughts in my head about the food I was eating really did help. Little by little I got better.

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