Consistently counting calories can affect your mental health


Suruchi Patwary, June 23, 2021

Counting Calories A By asiandelight |  www.shutterstock.com

Counting Calories A By asiandelight | www.shutterstock.com

Counting calories can seriously damage your relationship with food and can easily obsess you, feel guilty, and want to keep striving for an illusion of perfection. There is nothing wrong with having a full disclosure of the calories you consume. However, there is a difference between understanding complete nutritional information about food intake and blindly practicing calorie counting. Constant macro and calorie counting will not only harm your relationship with food and affect your mental health, but also those who live with you.

And so we talked to Eshanka wahi, a wellness advocate and nutrition advisor to learn more about how counting calories and macros can affect mental health. She began by saying:

While I understand that trying to lose weight without knowing your calories is similar to trying to train for a race without knowing the distance. But it is not something that needs to be calculated repeatedly every day. Knowing a basic framework is necessary to achieve weight loss goals, which should be done through a thorough understanding of nutrition before starting your health journey or with the help of a health coach who is not obsessed with openly telling your calories.

Eshanka wahi

Eshanka wahi

Focusing on counting calories often results in restricting some healthy, nutrient-dense whole foods. Especially good fats that are rich in nutrients and vitamins, as these dietary synergies provide you with complete nutrition and keep you satiated for a longer period of time.

Holistic approach

Classify health into physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Consistent calorie counting is detrimental to mental and emotional health. You must take advantage of all of these areas to create a comprehensive lifestyle improvement. Knowing your calorie intake in detail, in the long run, would affect your relationship with food.

To give a simple example of the internal complexity of this math, the same number of calories from different food families will have a completely different impact on your gene expression, fitness, and health. 1000 calories from green leafy vegetables, broccoli, and 1000 calories from gummy bears, candy, and processed sugar can never be compared to achieving fitness goals.

Also, calorie counts can never be accurate due to the complexity of all the variables involved like,

  1. The quality of food products can never be averaged, depending on factors such as maturity, organic, frozen or fresh products.
  2. Each person’s unique digestive system microbiome is converted into energy in a completely different way.
  3. Inaccurate nutrition labels, data errors due to margin of error, etc.
Calorie Counting By Rawpixel.com |  www.shutterstock.com

Calorie Counting By Rawpixel.com | www.shutterstock.com

In Eshanka’s view, the kind of energy, time, and effort that goes into calculating everything that goes into your mouth; it’s just not worth it!

Not enough emphasis is placed on how profoundly it can affect mental health and can turn into major body image insecurities. You need to have a healthy relationship with food and eat intuitively when hungry rather than obsessively counting calories or measuring food.

Intuitive feeding

It is extremely enriching to know what your body knows best, intuitively! Therefore, I encourage you to listen to yourself, which you validate through ‘gut cues’.

Eating intuitively is something Eshanka highly recommends, and here are some of her tips:

  1. Listen to your instincts. The more you listen to it, the louder it gets.
  2. I need more greed. Eat when you are hungry and not because you are bored, emotional, or simply conditioned to eat at a particular time.
  3. Give your full attention to your food when you eat and observe how you feel during and after eating it.
  4. Make it a priority to eat healthy, nutrient-dense foods that also taste good. There are so many options in this category, you just need to explore smartly.
  5. Be flexible 10% of the time to eat soul foods even if you know they are not “healthy.” Sometimes it’s okay to be flexible with your food.
  6. Never compare your health journey, goals, and results with someone else’s. Everyone is different. Accept this innately.
Calories in Vegetables by Scharfsinn |  www.shutterstock.com

Calories in Vegetables by Scharfsinn | www.shutterstock.com

Eshanka strongly recommends that you create a lifestyle based on intuitive eating that will promote an extremely healthy attitude towards food and always make you love your body. Honor your hunger and feelings, make peace with food, be grateful for what you eat, and respect when you are full.

Your health goals shouldn’t be strict for a month; it must be a healthy and sustainable lifestyle forever. You shouldn’t feel miserable trying, so find what works for you, get the guidance, educate yourself, and move on forever.

Enjoy the Girls Tribe by MissMalini Application to be part of the conversation.




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