Weekly challenge #1

My stress management class has made me think a lot about my ideal life and where I would like it to someday be. And its all about the details!

As far as health/nutrition/fitness go, I would like to be in a certain place at some point because sometimes I still feel like I’m searching around, trying out new things all the time and making some habits while breaking others. It’s a constant work in a progress 😉

So, in order to break some not so good habits and begin some new ones, I thought the idea of having Weekly Challenges for myself would be motivating! Plus, if you all like them, you are free to join in as well.

This week’s challenge…DO NOT COUNT CALORIES!

caloriesinpizza

This is something I do pretty much every day at least until I get home for dinner. It can be good and bad. In the good sense, it keeps you on track and you know how much you’ve eaten during the day. In other ways its distracting and even sometimes discouraging. I sometimes find if I’ve eaten 1200 calories before I go home for the day, that seems “too high” or I think “wow, what is wrong with me today?” when in reality there is nothing at all wrong with that.

I also notice on days I eat less, I know I have more calories to work with so I eat them even if I’m not hungry. Um, no! That’s not good either.

So this week, starting today, there will be no counting, no little post it notes on my desk, or keeping track on the computer. I am going to strive to eat 100% intuitively. I tried it out yesterday and it did wonders for my attitude and made me feel good about my choices. I know what’s healthy, I know portions. I just need to listen to my body and honor it with my diet and exercise.

For instance, I got up and made what I wanted for breakfast (pumpkin oats). I ate a mini-Larabar during church when hunger struck. When we got home from church, I was hungry again and it was still 1+ hours away from lunch so I had a half serving of peanuts. The old me would’ve said “why did I need two snacks before lunch?” Why? Because I was really hungry that’s why!

Then at lunch, I ordered what sounded the best to me. It tasted great and left me completely satisfied. I had a snack in my purse for during the movie but I did not eat it because I was not truly hungry. In fact, I wasn’t hungry until nearly 7:00 last night and lunch had been at 1:30!!

I made what sounded good for dinner (salmon burger with hummus, mixed veggies and leftover coucous) and had a nice piece of dark chocolate. Then a couple hours later, my stomach was really growling, so I had a small cup of regular cheerios with 1% milk. The non-intuitive/emotional me would’ve said “why did I need another snack? what did I do wrong?” or make myself think I ate out of boredom or stress. But nope, it was needed!

I also did this somewhat on Saturday. Courtney and I went to Shiraz again, which is quickly becoming one of our favorite places. We both waited until we were good and hungry to go and then we ordered the falafel and hummus again (no rice this time, it was just too much). I truly savored this meal. It was so good and so satisfying, that the only other thing I needed the rest of the night was a piece of dark chocolate (ghirardelli) and a nice hot cup of tea. And this was over a 5 hour period!

I need to eat healthy and enjoy what I eat instead of worrying about calories all the time. If I eat something I really enjoy, I’m less likely to go raiding the pantry late at night. I’m less likely to “need” dessert. I also think it keeps my mind at ease, which we all know how powerful the mind can be.

So let’s see where this takes me. Anyone who obsessively counts calories want to try it with me?

Here are some guidelines I’m going to use for myself:

  • Do not count calories, not even in your head (if you can help it)
  • Don’t eat by the clock on your desk, eat by your body’s clock
  • Don’t eat something you don’t really like just because its there
  • Before I eat something ask “Am I really hungry?”
  • Try to plan meals why allowing some flexibility for that day’s preferences
  • Make eating the main focus, i.e. don’t do other tasks while eating (this one will be tough)
  • Keep a nice variety of food in the house to avoid burnout
  • Stop eating when you are satisfied or full (don’t clean your plate if you don’t have to)
  • Only eat a nighttime snack if truly hungry
  • Be proud that you are honoring your body
  • Get plenty of rest and hydrate well
  • Enjoy this challenge!

I hope to make this a permanent habit, but this challenge will end at midnight, Monday May 11th. Check back for next week’s challenge on Monday morning!

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About Sarah Frankel

I am 29 years old and a resident of Louisville, Kentucky. I've been married to my husband Josh for 6 years and we have a 5 year old beagle named Suzie. Four years ago, I changed my eating and exercise habits, dropping 70 pounds and gaining an entirely new life. I took up running in September 2007 and became vegan in October 2009. I am constantly striving to improve my life so that I can live it to the fullest! I hope you will join me on my life journey.

Posted on May 4, 2009, in calories, challenges and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. I totally love this challenge. I love eating intuitively too. Listening to your body is something that is very important!

  2. Great post!! 🙂 While in my disorder I counted calories way to much and would freak out if I ate more. This is a great challenge that I would to join and seems great. The reason I count calories is to make sure I have eaten enough because I sometimes do not eat enough.

  3. Great challenge! I tend to eat when I’m not hungry just out of habit or from staring the clock. I don’t really count calories but know I need to pay attention to my hunger more.

    • Great comments everybody! Thanks Alex for pointing out that some people count calories because they aren’t eating enough, I certainly wouldn’t want to take away from that! So I should clarify that for me, counting calories is to hold myself accountable to not eating too much because I struggled so long with obesity and am fearful of it coming back. But I want to move on from counting because after more than 2 years, its getting old 😉 It can also get discouraging and be very negative for me, so that is why I want to let it go and yet be able to stay in control of my eating habits all the same. Thanks again guys!

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