Numbers. Our lives revolve around the importance of numbers whether we are conscious of this or not. Our weight, measurements, time, calories consumed or burned, daily nutrition requirements, financial matters, spending money, driving to the speed limit, alarm clocks etc.
Without the concept of numbers in our lives, how functional would we be?
Are numbers merely numbers or do they possess more worth?
Although numbers are intriguing, it is not so much the notion of numbers I am concerned about. It is more so the societal construct of calories and subsequently, body weight.
Calorie. Appears to be a harmless enough word when discovered in the English dictionary: “the energy required to raise the temperature from 1 (gram or kilogram) of water through 1 degree Celsius”.
So why are we as humans incredibly and inexplicably obsessed with the amount of calories that we consume and how many we burn through physical exertion daily?
Often I over hear many individuals express that they are currently on a diet and desperately focusing on limiting their calories so to lose weight to be in a calorific deficit so to observe the physically alterations they desire. Whilst others express that a particular food has too many calories and therefore shan’t be consumed, as it is to be avoided at all costs!
Firstly, if one is looking to lose weight I commend you for embarking on this journey, only if the weight loss is warranted, necessary or advised by a health professional due to ongoing health conditions caused by being overweight and that when losing the weight that one is monitored closely either by a medical professional, Nutritionist or Personal Trainer whom has the knowledge and sagacity to guide you. Of course certain professions and sports require one to have their weight and calories monitored in a healthy sense. As long as this is done so professionally and in a reasonable manner it is not too terrible. However, can this obsession and fixation truly be maintained for a long duration of time?
Yet, if the weight loss and limited calories is associated with the multiple fad diets that have been established throughout the ages of society, I implore you to think again as to why you truly must be so vigilant with your calorie consumption?
Yes, we should not eat or drink food that is poor for our health (salt, refined sugars and saturated fats). Not in large quantities at least! Everything in moderation is acceptable and actually great for our metabolisms every so often, as we should not be limiting our bodies the nutrients it requires to function on a daily basis. If we limit this then aren’t we declining ourselves the gift of food and the pleasure associated with experiencing different flavours? Wouldn’t we be restricting ourselves to social interactions with our loved ones given food is typically provided and consumed in a social environment?
I am an advocate for eating healthily and always have been, even with depriving myself of nutrients with the illness of Anorexia Nervosa. Yet, when I re-feed and am living life in a healthy state and weight suitable for my body to appropriately function, I consume nutritionally dense foods and do not concern myself with the amount of calories each food item is because that would be depriving myself of happiness. Of life. Abundance. Nutrition. Health. Authenticity. Of living.
We also must consider and appreciate that we each have differing metabolisms, occupations (sedentary or active. Plus, our income determines what foods we can afford), interests, activity levels and daily exertion, cultural differences and foods eaten and different body types (height, width, size!!). These differences make us our own individual which means that we each will eat at different times, consume different foods due to preference and lifestyle, have different nutritional needs and eat either large or small meals throughout the day.
There is no correct or incorrect way of eating or drinking. However, there is a way of retaining the joys and pleasures of life when related to food and drink.
No calorie counting. No constant body weight checking. No body checks. Listening to your body. Exercising regularly in a means that suits your body. Eating foods and drinks that are kind to the health and continuation of your body. Quality foods and not worrying overtly about the quantity.
But most of all, remembering what your body does for you as opposed to being continually concerned about how it looks aesthetically. The body is truly an intricate, complicated, detailed and beautiful vessel which keeps us alive even when we are not always kind to it.
Remember to love your body, right down to the hairs on your arms, the nails on your toes, the hair follicles on your head, the eyelashes bordering your gorgeous eyes, the cells within and the heart that is valiantly beating for you every second of every day.
Why define yourself based on the number of calories eaten or the weight on the scales? Why do so (even though we are all and have been guilty of such behaviours) when others do not define us by these attributes? Do you walk around wondering how much each person weighs and what amount of calories they have eaten or is this information irrelevant to you?
Numbers can be great but they can also be highly damaging holistically.
Let us make it our task to nourish our bodies and mind, through maintaining a balanced and nutritionally sound diet through being in tune with our bodies; understanding it’s need and desires just as we live wanting our needs and desires to be attended to.
Enjoy your life. We only live once so why not live each day with a grateful heart and a healthy mind and body?
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. ~ Hippocrates.
Calories and weight – defeated.
Us – Victorious!
Love, hugs and thoughts always,