How to Manage Your Calorie Intake Without Going Crazy
Do you ever think about, worry about, get frustrated over, or constantly obsess about food and calories?
Are you tracking every morsel you eat, every calorie you burn?
Are you engaged in a full out battle to lose weight?
Does it ever feel overwhelming and make you just want to pull your hair out?
Before you do anything too drastic let me offer you a different option.
Why we track calories in the first place
For many dieters, counting calories is the method of choice. We are taught that it’s all about calories in versus calories out.
That If you eat less than you burn you lose weight. It’s that simple and it works just about every time. The idea of tracking calories to lose weight is an easy one to understand yet it’s difficult to execute.
If you’ve tracked calories before then you know exactly what I mean; it’s easy for the first few days or weeks then it just becomes down right tedious.
So what are you to do? You can’t forget about the whole idea and go back to eating the way you did before. That’s what caused the weight gain in the first place.
The other way
We have to track something but it doesn’t always have to be calories, especially if the process of tracking everything you eat and drink makes you feel a bit obsessive and compulsive.
There are a few situations where tracking calories becomes very helpful but it may not be right for you, right now.
So what should you do instead?
Look at why you eat those extra calories in the first place.
I’m not talking about the cravings and desires to indulge in the double chocolate cake with brown sugar coconut frosting, we all would love a slice of that.
What I’m talking about is what controls HOW we eat the majority of the time, much more than we like to give it credit.
I’m talking about tracking your habits.
What’s really making you eat
Habits are what we do by default. They are the behaviors that we do naturally and automatically, like brushing our teeth and eating breakfast (or skipping it).
Be careful what you repeatedly do because your behaviors good or bad soon become habits.
There’s a lot of power contained in a habit which is why we really can’t ignore them. I’ve always said that our day is a collection of the many habits we’ve accumulated over the years.
Behaviors become habits because it frees up our mind to work and concentrate on higher functioning tasks like closing the big deal or presenting your proposal to a potential client. By creating habits you can do the mundane tasks and dedicate more of your brain power to create or solve bigger problems.
That’s why the way eat so easily becomes a habit. It’s something we repeatedly do and it easier to eat out of convenience or taste. It’s easy to pick up fast food, skip breakfast, stock our shelves with processed foods, drinking soda, eat out at restaurants, etc. The problem is if we do these behaviors long enough they become habits.
So what are you to do?
Are you at the mercy of your habits? Doomed to track calories every day for the rest of your life?
Of course not.
Take control of whats controlling you
I wrote about creating healthy habits a couple of years ago. You can check out the full article here.
Here’s a quick summary of how to change your habits so you can get back the control you want for your weight loss goals.
1. Start with one. Be aware of your habits and pick one that you want to permanently change. Just one.
2. Anchor it to an existing habit. It’s much easier to create a new habit when it has an old one to anchor to.
3. Track it. Track your habit every day. Use an notebook or calendar and write it down. There’s also great apps, like Lift, that will help you adopt a new habit.
4. Get an accountability partner or coach. Publicly announcing your habit and having someone to hold you accountable increases your chances for success.
Make it a habit and keep your sanity
By tracking your habits you don’t have to track your calories and you get to keep your full set of hair.
You also get back the control to eat well and replace bad habits with good ones, which results in managing your calories.
It’s like putting your weight loss efforts on cruise control. Your good eating habits will always be there for you.
But this time they’ll help you reach your goals. You’ll eat healthy when faced with stress, travel and any other obstacle that comes your way.
Just remember it’s a process and it’s going to take time.
Changing one habit at a time is a slower method but you greatly increase your chance of success and you get to keep the results forever.
Move Better, Live Well
Ready to end the frustration by building healthy habits? I am a Certified Nutritional Coach and can help you make the healthy lifestyle changes you need to reach your goals. Contact me at 719-640-014 or email@example.com to schedule a free consultation.
photo credit: Robert Semk via photopin cc