Do you count calories?

I used to, when I was an obsessed crazy woman.  I ate exactly 1500 calories every day, no matter what.  Exactly 1500 calories whether I was hungry or not whether I’d done a long workout and been rushing around all day or whether I’d been glued to the sofa all day.  I don’t even know where I got that figure from, but it was my figure from my teens to my early thirties.

When I say I ate 150o calories everyday.  What I mean is that at the beginning of the week I set out a carefully thought out meal plan, allocating my magic number of 1500 calories to each day.  I would follow this religiously, sometimes for a few days, sometimes for a few weeks, once or twice I’ve followed it for a couple of months.  Then the inevitable would happen, I’d come home from work or some social occasion, tired or bothered about something, and I would binge eat like a woman possessed.  When I say binge eat I really mean it, I could easily eat 2 or 3 packets of biscuits, 5 chocolate bars, several packs of crisps, a few bowls of cereal, a few slices of toast, with whatever I had planned for dinner thrown in somewhere.  It really was like I was possessed once it started, there was no way I could stop until I was completely zoned out from the experience and too brain dead to feel whatever was on my mind.


Eventually one day I finally realised that the dieting/calorie counting wasn’t working and that no matter how strong my intentions the binge would always follow, undoing all my good work, making me feel physically sick and deeply ashamed of myself.  So I just stopped, it was hard, because I knew the calorie count of everything I ate, so it was hard not to automatically add them up.  I started purposely eating new foods that I didn’t know the calorie count of and eating out more, so I couldn’t count.  That’s how my love affair with avocados began.

With the end of calorie counting came the weight loss I was searching so hard for.  I have so much more energy and my skin glows.  I’m also a much nicer person to be around, I’m sure you can all relate to the moodiness of a dieter.

I still feel the urge to binge, it comes much less frequently now.  Sometimes I do have a mini binge but it’ll be a couple of biscuits or a extra helping of ice cream that I’m not hungry for.  That allows me to feel the comfort I’m searching for and out off dealing with what’s bugging me.  It’s not great and I’m working on it but it’s so much better than the way I used to be.  More and more often I’m using the urge to binge as signal that’s something’s not right and I need to slow down and figure out what that is and deal with it.  One day I hope that’s how I’ll deal with the urge (I call it the monster, because that’s what it feel like, an attack by an invisible monster), in the meantime I don’t sweat the few extra biscuits or extra scoop of ice cream.

Have you experienced anything similar?


8 responses to this post.

  1. I absolutely used to calorie count and I would be very very rigid with my restrictions. I would feel insanely guilty if I went even 50 calories over! But I definitely had my binges, and I’m not surprised looking back! I was depriving my body of nutrients it wanted as well as the joy of eating! Now I try and listen to my body and I am much happier and healthier because of it 🙂

    Great post!


  2. Posted by foodieboomboom on July 18, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    I really struggle with my weight and have tried counting calories, syns, points, carbs, you name it! I was a really fat kid and a pretty fat grown up for some years until I lost a lot of weight due to illness. It creeps back up now and again, but I find counting again just makes me obsessive and thinking about nothing but food all day is no good when you’re trying to curb your intake. These days I accept that I wasn’t made to be skinny and that I love to cook so yeah, there will be spare pounds but they aren’t so bad as long as I’m getting healthy food and some movement in. It’s easy to say life is too short to worry about your weight but in practicality, most of us do. Life is certainly too short to never eat ice cream though 🙂


    • I start to get obsessive if I even so much as think about counting again. I have to actively avoid women’s mags and talking about other peoples diets.

      I can’t imagine a life without ice cream!


  3. Yes, I counted calories obsessively, too and it made me feel crazy! I no longer do it because I just try to eat healthy and know that sometimes extra bowls of ice cream just happen! It is hard though, really hard and years go I let food and calories control me way more than I should have.


  4. I hear you on how hard it is. After so many years of dieting and controlling food so much, it’s hard to let go, but so worth it. I no longer panic when friends invite me out for dinner!


  5. I no longer count calories, but I do count WW points. I am afraid I have no natural ‘I’m hungry’ switch, and I have always eaten healthy, homecooked food but too much of it. But I don’t deny myself treats every now and then, and have been losing weight slowly by steadily since I started in January. Oddly, I have cooked more and with greater enjoyment since starting, because I feel happier knowing what goes in the food and thence my mouth…


  6. I once calorie counted… yeah that didn’t last long. Then I decided to reverse my thinking to exercise so I could eat the stuff I shouldn’t. I am sure you know what happened next. Now, I just eat on smaller plates and bowls! Portion control works for me much better and I still work out.

    I love the idea of the tiny creatures! I think you may be onto something.


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