Earlier this year, I decided it was time to get back into shape! My days of working in front of a computer were starting to wear on my body. The combination of work stress and sitting eight hours a day were definitely taking its toll. So I hired a personal trainer to help me build some muscle.
As a health coach, I have always eaten very intuitively. I listen to my body and eat healing foods as often as possible. I enjoy high amounts of veggies and small quantities of animal meat when desired. When I started training, my PT told me I needed to eat more protein to build muscle. He insisted that if I didn't eat enough I wouldn't gain muscle so I figured why not try it. I was to eat six smaller meals a day, each meal consisting of 15-30 grams of protein, and a total of about 1,200-1,500 calories. I took his advice and started counting my calories using MyFitnessPal. If you haven't heard of it, My Fitness Pal is a calorie counting app that logs all the food you eat and exercise you do.
At first using the app was kind of fun and I was seriously impressed by how much food was in there! You can even enter your own recipes and it will calculate the calories per servings. This was huge for me because I don't eat a lot of packaged foods which makes using these apps difficult. I started regularly using it every day. But it soon consumed a lot of my time and I started hiding from doing other things that would move me forward in building my business.
5 Reasons I Chose to Delete MyFitness Pal:
1. I disliked logging in everything I ate and figuring out the portion size of every meal. If you eat one bite of brownie -- how many calories is that? It usually ends up in a guessing game and you don't really know! As a bit of a perfectionist that bugged me. Plus I didn't see the point of doing this work, if I couldn't get it as accurate as possible.
2. I spent a lot of time and energy planning out all my meals and entering it in the app to make sure that I balanced my macros and ate around 1,200 calories. This app was a huge time suck and it started holding me back from doing what I was meant to do. And I didn't feel good about it.
3. I started allowing myself to eat low-calorie "health" foods like rice cakes and lots of pb2. Both are processed, low-calorie, and low nutritional value. I would have never regularly ate these foods before, but somehow now it was okay. I would end up overeating these foods because I was still hungry and anxious from all the stress around food. And my body didn't like these foods either!
4. The app made me feel guilty for eating high fat foods like avocados. It didn't take much to go over the recommended amount of fat. For me, eating lots of high quality fat is good for my body. I didn't like feeling guilty over not eating enough protein and eating too little fat. As a recovering perfectionist the negative numbers bugged me (especially when I knew that eating healthy fat was good)!
5. In the end, All the protein made me feel bloated and I lost no weight. I did gain muscle from lifting weights, but I didn't feel happy in my body. And I was so focused on the food I was eating that I was HIDING from moving forward in my life.
Why Eating Intuitively Is Best for Me:
1. Your body needs different amounts of calories EVERY day. Some days you might only need to eat 500 calories. Other days you will need to eat 3,000. Each day is different. I like eating when I am hungry not forcing myself to eat when "it's time."
2. It is the most natural way to eat. Do animals count calories? No. Do animals eat when they are hungry? Yes. Humans are animals too. We shouldn't need to count calories.
3. Eat whole foods to heal your body. Skin problems? Eat for glowing skin! Stressed? Eat foods that calm you and de-stress you. Hormone problems? Eat to balance your hormones. Listen to your body and use food as your medicine so you can feel your best.
4. When you let go of the need to control your eating. You can stop hiding behind counting your food and making other excuses to hold you back. And then you can finally step into your true purpose and PLAY BIG in life.
5. I have lost 5 pounds and I feel so much more natural and alive in my body. I stop focusing on the food I was eating and went back to eating as many whole foods as I wanted! It is freeing to eat whenever you want and have the energy to focus on achieving your goals!
I deleted that app awhile back and I couldn't be happier. I am glad I went through this experience. I know that counting calories isn't for me and it never will be. It may work for you and that is fine. It is everyone's responsibility to discover and eat the best way for them. For me, I don't want the task of counting of calories to keep me from playing BIG.
I highly suggest you take a look at your own life and ask yourself: Is counting calories taking up a large amount of your energy and time? Does the Myfitness pal app, help you obtain your health goals and feel your best? If you said no, I encourage you to take action and delete it now.
Yep. I said it. Delete it now!
Follow Chelsea on Twitter: www.twitter.com/chelseajolenero