Why You Should Stop Counting Calories

Calories Suck!

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WHY I STOPPED COUNTING CALORIES!

Ok my beautiful sistas, it's time for a secret, Sezzy squad, honesty chat! I'm here to open up and let you in on my experiences, research and results with the infamous CALORIE COUNTING!!

Years ago when I began my 'fitness journey' I was consumed by the concept of tracking my macros and calorie counting. I viewed food as numbers and a breakdown of macronutrients. To me, it wasn't a banana... it was a yellow piece of carbs and sugar. At this point in my life I neglected the importance of MICRONUTRIENTS and failed to acknowledge this 'banana' as fibre, potassium, vitamin A or energy for my daily activities. Like I said - in my mind 'banana = sugar = fat = sad".
I lived through my food tracking apps and feared eating out at cafes or restaurants because I couldn't accurately weigh my foods or know what was in my meals. Food was CONSTANTLY on my mind and I felt guilty if I didn't stick to my calorie/macronutrient goals. I was scared of fats due to their high calorie content, and I began snacking on low calorie 'fit foods' I found in the grocery store, AKA... chemicals (btw, SO many of these low cal protein bars and sodas are literally poison for the body and absolutely ruin your adrenals, cortisol levels, skin, hormone balance and nutrient absorption). 

For a while I stuck to my strict calorie limit and trained extremely hard in the gym. I was exhausted every single day and honestly... it was a constant mind game to count my calories. This experience had taken the enjoyment out of food. Like... I couldn't even eat an acai bowl because I saw that as a bowl of pure sugar that was going to make me gain weight (face pal, face palm, face palm!!).
(*side not - I now make a homemade acai bowl that I consider a delicious bowl of anti-aging, antioxidant goodness!*)

Long story short, my life turned... to crap! Yep, just being honest.

After diving into loads of research, not so much about calories, but about the importance of vitamins, minerals, micronutrients, fats, fibre and biodiversity in food, I began reflecting on my own eating habits. What happened to me!? I became so obsessed with the health and fitness industry (and getting abs) that I completely lost sight of what a healthy diet TRULY meant to me. eating whole, fresh, real foods and most importantly, LISTENING TO MY BODY.
Enough was enough! I was sick of fearing food, calculating my meals and just being obsessed with calories and numbers. I gave myself the 'challenge' of not tracking ANY meals or snacks for a week and just trying to listen to my body and eating intuitively. Sure the first week was difficult, and I found myself somewhat bingeing on the foods I previously denied myself of. However, after a few weeks (of getting that out of my system) I finally started to feel BALANCE! One of the most important elelments in this whole journey was research and understanding the role that omega 3, fibre, iron, protein, carbohydrates and active enzymes etc. played in my body. This helped me feel GOOD about fuelling my body with things like avocado, flax seed oil, almonds, walnuts or coconut (foods that I used to see purely as 'high calorie').

Fast forward a few years and I've never felt so balanced, content and proud of the way I eat. I know it takes practise, but the ability to listen to my body, remove the relationship between food and guilt, and truly ENJOY eating real, whole foods is LIFE CHANGING!!

Ok so... back to the 'calorie' theme. The other day I went out to a cafe and ordered my usual plate. "Can I please have the salmon nourish bowl, add half an avocado, slivered almonds and swap the rice for quinoa. Oh and... extra salmon please!". The new waitress looked at me and said "Wow, you're hungry". I laughed, shrugged my shoulders and told her this is just a usual breakfast for me. By the end of our breakfast, the waitress had told me she could only ever dream of ordering that for breakfast, and that meal was too 'high calorie" for her and she would gain fat. My heart sank for her. I had a flash back of my past self, and I just wanted to hug her and say "noooooo".

If you haven't realised by now, I could literally talk about this topic FOREVER. It is something I am SO passionate about! As much as I want to delve into the science behind stress, calories, micronutrients and intuitive eating, I'm going to try my hardest to keep this message as relevant and concise as possible...

Yesterday I thought it would be interesting to track my morning food intake (mostly for the sake of this message). I stuck to my usual routine, fuelling my body with my go-to savoury brekkie of poached eggs, avo, tomato, paleo toast, spinach, lemon water and some almonds and fruit before lunch. Before it had even hit 12pm I was sitting at 1120 cals. For a moment there... my stomach dropped a little. I couldn't understand HOW!? Years ago, that would have been close to my ENTIRE days food intake. But now.. that's half my daily intake! Before I continue, let me also say that I train LESS THAN EVER now! My workouts change every day (depending on my mood etc.) and usually run for around 35-45mins. I sit at my computer editing for majority of the day, so keep in mind that I'm not some crazy elite athlete who just burns through food like Usain Bolt. I'm just a regular girl, trying to be fit and healthy while juggling a busy schedule.

Nowadays, people say to me "you have a healthy glow about you, you look so happy". I often respond with *wink* "healthy fats". If my friends comment on my energy levels, I respond  *wink* "good quality carbohydrates". My workout buddies ask how I can train the next day after a big booty session, and again I'll dive into the importance of amino acids and good quality protein for maximum recovery and cell reproduction. Not to mention fibre (yes this is a topic I'm obsessed with right now) vitamins and minerals. I know we hear this all the time, but try and take a moment to truly absorb this concept and sit with it for a second...

YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT. Our cells are constantly regenerating, regenerating and literally creating our own bodies! Beautiful food = beautiful cells!

Like I said, I could talk about this topic for hours, and if you haven't guessed it already - nutrition is my FAVOURITE topic on the planet!! If you would like me to dive into more of the science and research debunking the concept of 'calories in vs. calories out' then throw me a comment on my IG or YouTube and I can definitely embrace my inner nutrition nerd and reveal some interesting articles!

For now though, I'm the fittest I've ever been while feeling the most balanced and content. I now eat in a way that is maintainable, sustainable and enjoyable. I want to live a life that is flexible and honestly... makes me happy. I'll be the first to tell you that counting calories to be shredded is SO over rated and down right exhausting!

It's time sissys! It's time to nourish, respect and listen to our bodies.
Eat real, wholesome, natural and fresh foods! Don't over complicate it or become over whelmed by numbers. Use your PRIMAL INSTINCTS and trust your human intuition. Eat a rainbow collection of natural, whole foods and mix it up daily to ensure you're getting a range of micronutrients in your diet.

As much as my focus has shifted away from just how I look and how defined my abs are, for the girls who need to hear this right now... I still have abs and a petite frame and I eat more than 2600cals a day. 

Everyone is different and thrives off different amounts of food and that's ok!! Don't force yourself to eat more or less, just try and listen to your body, eat intuitively and ENJOY FOOD!!

I hope this message helped anyone who needed to hear this today!

Love you sis. You're BEAUTIFULLY YOU!!

Food, LifeSarah Stevenson