Hi! Welcome back to my blog!
Today I’ve got an extra blog post of the week for you since my Instagram poll was so close!
I tracked my calories for one week. I used the LifeSum app (the free version) to do so. There is a paid version of the app that gives you more insights into the macros of the food and such, but since I was only using it for a week and only using it to track how many calories I was eating the free version worked perfectly fine for me! Today I’m going to share with you what I learned throughout the week.
DIET CULTURE HAS RUINED MY MINDSET
Before I started tracking calories I did some research into how many calories I should be consuming based on my age, size, and activity level. WebMD says I should eat 2,000 to 2,200 calories a day. Healthline says I should eat 2,193 calories to maintain my weight and 1,754 calories to lose weight.
When I read those I was so incredibly confused. 2,000 calories a day? I always heard of people aiming to eat around 1,200 when trying to lose weight, so I didn’t understand why it would be so high for me. I didn’t want to be gaining weight, so I was afraid that eating that many calories would be way too much for me.
According to my Activity app (which is synced to my Apple Watch) I burn around 2,300 to 2,600 calories each day. To maintain my weight, eating around the same amount of calories makes perfectly good sense. I’m not trying to lose a ton of weight, so eating such little calories would not be a healthy decision for me.
That’s when I realized: diet culture has seriously messed up my mindset. I was so used to constantly hearing how eating less and burning more was the ideal lifestyle to get the perfect body when in reality that’s simply not healthy or sustainable. It took me a little to really come to terms with the fact that eating “so many” calories was actually the healthiest option for me. This was extremely eye-opening for me, and I really understood how much my mindset about eating and health had been ruined by the diet culture that permeates society.
I WASN’T EATING ENOUGH
Based on my surprise at my daily recommended calories, you can probably guess that I learned I wasn’t eating enough. While it was enough to still be at a healthy level, I wasn’t eating enough to be properly maintaining my weight, which is what my focus is on. I didn’t decide to track my calories because I wanted to lose weight, I honestly was just curious to know how many calories I actually was eating each day because I had no idea.
Counting calories made me eat a healthier amount of food and made me much more conscious of how much food I was eating.
IT MADE ME REALIZE WHAT IM EATING
I noticed that when I was tracking my calories I started looking for more things labeled as “low calorie” or “reduced fat.” Honestly, most of those food products aren’t even actually that good for you. So many low cal options are just super processed. Choosing whole foods is a much better decision, and I feel like counting calories made me focus way more on foods labeled as “healthy” as opposed to actual healthy, whole foods.
I FOCUSED WAY MORE ON HOW MANY CALORIES I WAS BURNING
Another thing I started to do was focus so much on how many calories I burned at the gym. I used to not care that much and would just do what I planned to do and leave when I felt like I had put in enough work, but I felt that while tracking my calories I constantly was checking my Apple Watch at the gym to see how many calories I had burned throughout the workout and not leaving until I hit a certain caloric goal.
Overall, counting my calories was an interesting experience but just definitely not worth it for me. For one, it was hard to remember to put in everything I ate. Another thing that was hard was figuring out how many calories my meal was if I ate something from a dining hall or I cooked something and only are part of it. I think that for some people it works really well, but it definitely is not for me.