Life without Anorexia

My motto is
'Dont let the sadness of your past & the fear of your future ruin the happiness of your present'

My life at the moment is completely different to how it once was. I spent 5 years sick with anorexia nervosia and depression as well as struggling with self harm and overexercising. I spent 2 years in different treatment centres.
And since 2012 i have been declared healthy from my eating disorder.

I have been blogging for 7 years, and my whole journey is written in my posts. I now represent healthy and happiness. I want to show anyone struggling that it is possible to recover, no matter how hard it may seem.

I now blog about recovery, my life, veganism and positivity!

If you have any questions leave them in the comment section as i am much quicker at answering there, otherwise you can always send an email: lifewithoutanorexia@hotmail.com

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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

My opinion on calorie counters and activity monitors

There was a time when both activitiy trackers/monitors and calorie counting apps were a part of my daily life..... now i cant believe that iput so much energy into those numbers, and how i thought that tracking my heart rate or counting the food i ate would bring me control or happiness.

I could never use a calorie counting app or an activity monitor now in my present life, not that it would evoke anxiety but that i see it as a waste of time. I dont care about the calories burned when i go for a walk or when i am at the gym, i dont care about the amount of steps i take in a day (Though i do have a built in pedometer on my phone however i have deactivited so i dont get any notifications however can free wilingly go in and check if i ever feel like it. Though considering how inaccurate it is there isnt much to check or care about.). I also dont care about the amount of calories i eat, the only time i track what i eat is when i need to do it for the hospital or for my university course and then its a burden having to write down and measure everything i eat.... i cant imagine doing that everyday. In the end if weight is being maintained and that is the goal then there is no need to track or know precisely how much you eat.

I understand that for the many people who might have a problem with overweight and inactivity things such as activity monitors and calorie trackers might be useful, however i just see them as problematic and can lead to people becoming obsessed with numbers. Not to mention that the people who dont need to use those trackers are often the ones who spend lots of money on them.

The thing to realise is that your life is not just about numbers. It is so easy to put your value and your self worth in numbers whether it is actual money you have, your test scores in school or to put your happiness in the amount of calories you eat or the amount of calories you burn - but you are so much more than any of those numbers. You are a person with a personality and hobbies and interests and that is YOU, not some number. And calories eaten arent the same everyday, there is no possible way you can eat the same aount everyday they will always vary. For example a ready meal coud say 450kcal but actually contain 420kcal or contain 480kcal, but you have no way of knowing and that little calorie difference really doesnt make much of a difference to your body. Your body is not a calorie counter.... just like your body doesnt know whether you ate a banana or some chocolate. Of course those foods are made up of different components, but in the end it gets broken down to the same mikronutrients and substances.

Your life doesnt need to be tracked compulsively... you are not made of numbers. You are not your wieght or the calories you have eaten or the minutes you have spent working out, and you are not your tests scores either. You are a human being and you need to focus on that. Stop trying to control your life compulsively or think that happiness comes from a certain weight or a certain calorie goal, as that is not the case.

For some people i guess those trackers might be helpful, but as i wrote earlier i think the people who dont need them are the ones who mostly buy them. I think they can lead to controlling behaviour as those trackers can track your sleep, your steps and make noise each time you are "too inactive" and sure for some that might be helpful but for others it might just be destructive.

I personally think that in recovery you should delete any type of trackers and even if counting calories to make sure you eat enough can be a good idea, it can also be destructive to some. In recovery its important to make sure you eat enough so whether you do that with food journaling or counting calories or following a meal plan, but the goal should be to eventually move away from tracking everything you eat to eating more intuitvly and freely without worrying about calories!!

Remember that your body is not a calorie machine that knows every single calorie so it wont know whether you bunr 420 kcal or 410 kcal and whetheryou eat 350kcal or 380kcal makes little difference. So stop panicking about things such as that and instead focus on putting your energy into more positive and better things in your life!! You arenot made of numbers - find who you are and what makes you happy and put energy into that! Putting energy into creating the life you want to live and not tracking your life in numbers!!! You are more than numbers!!

10 comments:

  1. A couple weeks ago I saw an advertisement on the television for CHILDREN'S fitness bands. Fitbit for kids. It made me so upset. Kids should NOT be tracking calories/steps. It's one thing to say 'you should play outside for an hour every day', but saying 'you need to burn 1000 calories every day' is going to create so many disordered thoughts. Kids will start panicking when they don't hit what they've been told is an adequate amount of fitness, they'll start restricting, judging themselves and others, looking in the mirror.... it's awful and I don't understand how a child's fitness band was even allowed to be made. Well, I suppose I do understand. Because companies want profit and there are lots of parents who will buy these for their kids. It's just sad, I think.

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    1. They sell the kids Fitbits in the toy shops here .....how ridiculous is that! We need to have a serious rethink about just what messages we are giving our children. I`m all for kids being active and getting exercise - not sat infront f a screen all day but this can be achieved by good old fashioned PLAY - kids just don`t seem to play out much these days, when I was young I was never indoors, always out in the garden or bikerides, playing hopscotch on the pavements - simple childhood activities that were part of normal life. I think its very sad that oour children today are even thought to be needing Fitbits.

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  2. ^^that is really, really sad. I'm so glad my parents never instilled any of that crap in growing up. I got an ED anyway, but at least my childhood was free of numbers and obsession and comparison.

    I remember in early recovery feeling like I could never live without the numbers game. Even if I wanted to stop counting, I had been doing it for so many years that it was automatic. Every single food was a memorized number, and how do you un-memorize something? I feared it would never stop. But you know, it did stop. It began with no longer writing it all down. Then progressed to adding fear foods (especially stuff that was more difficult to calculate - unmeasured foods, mixed foods, foods prepared by other people or restaurants, spontaneous handful of x, y, or z, etc). I had to consciously ignore the numbers, and it took some time (and anxiety) to push through that. But it happened - eventually when I looked at food, I saw food, not a pile of numbers. Today I don't give it a second thought. I totally trust that when I've had enough calories, my body will let me know. When I need calories, my body will let me know that as well. Even writing those two sentences felt weird just now, because "calories" is no longer a part of my daily vernacular. I'm just either hungry or not hungry. No drama, no anxiety, no panicked math at every turn, no plotting or planning or conniving or compensating. I eat food when I'm hungry, stop when I'm full, and that's the end of it. What freedom!! I would never go back to that nightmare of pseudo-control and obsession. I much prefer having the time and brain space free to do stuff that actually MATTERS - seeing friends, playing my fiddle, reading books, being a good employee, loving my family, cuddling with my dog, enjoying the sunrise, growing spiritually, learning new stuff. I refuse to waste one more second on an obsession that is literally the least important thing in the world, and the biggest waste of time, energy, and spirit. I refuse to waste my life. I refuse to be pathetic. I refuse to check out of life. Anyone struggling right now - it CAN be done, freedom is possible, and it is so WORTH IT. (Also, exactly zero people have ever cared if I weighed 20 pounds less or 20 pounds more. All that work and it impacted exactly nothing except to steal everything I had or cared about).

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  3. im struggling with calories counting the past months. Since I've started to go to the gym and trying to gain muscles and build strength I've started to count macros and calories, just to be sure to eat enough and to have the right amount of nutrients. But this whole thing goes against my idea of healthy relationship with food. I mean, I don't think that food should be seen as a number. I want to see food as fuel ( as I do ), but with more freedom... I don't know if it makes sense, but I don't want to being slave of numbers or stupid food/calories/macros obsession... have you any tips to avoid this circle? Thanks

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    1. Honestly, you might need to reevaluate your goals and priorities. I have found that, for myself, I just can't go there. Any kind of diet focus brings me right back to a life I don't want. ANY kind of diet focus. You can exercise and build strength without tracking your food, trust me. Trying to perfect your intake is just too slippery a slope. If it were me in your position, I would 100% get rid of all my tracking stuff, stop reading up about diet stuff, and quit following ANY social media accounts that preach diet-centric messages. Why re-introduce that kind of obsession when you are also trying to become strong? It's not worth it, and it's not necessary. This sort of pursuit will steal your joy, and your enjoyment of pursuing a goal. People with a history of EDs just should not play with fire like that. If you are already predisposed to getting out of control or obsessed with food, then playing around with food is a dangerous thing to do. Full stop.

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    2. Thank you so much! The truth is that I finally found what I really enjoy. I love exercise to be stronger and faster ( I also run ). But I don't want to obsess with nutrients and all that stuff. I don't want to be a bodybuilder or a bikini competitor... but I do want to build muscles. I will try my best not to worry about macronutrients anymore. I do eat healthy and I like the way I eat, but I also want to see food just as food and not as a number.

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    3. You're welcome :) I run (and do strength work and yoga) as well, and I do all of those things just fine without manipulating my diet. Eating generally healthy is as far as I need to go to have the fitness, performance, and maintain my set point weight that work for me. I am not an elite athlete, or a fitness model, or anything of that sort - so I do not need to eat or train like one. Any miniscule gains I might make by diet manipulation are FAR outstripped by the joy and peace I have just doing my thing, one day at a time. I still achieve fitness goals (cutting my pace time, gain in flexibilty, strengthening my core or whatever the heck it is I feel like working on) with absolutely no diet manipulation beyond making generally healthy food choices (but not always! I have days or even weeks that I eat more treats just because that's what I feel like doing), and honestly none of it really matters in my big picture. If you enjoy strength training, obsessing about macros is only going to steal that joy.

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  4. "Eat when I`m hungry, stop when I`m full" - that's something I want to be able to do one day ....go back to my normal days before my ED when I did indeed do just that. I don`t exactly track calories, but I am mindful of the amount of food and quantities I eat to make sure I`m eating enough for my meal plan. It will be so nice not to have to judge whether the chicken I`m eating is x weight or the potatoes I`ve made weigh x amount.
    But I know that freedom will come one day. I just need to keep ploughing onwards.

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    1. Keep up the fight, you'll get there! Just remember it takes work, determination, and consistency. Recovery doesn't happen in your comfort zone, you gotta stretch beyond.

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  5. I`m with you on the monitor thing. A while back after we had been for a walk my partner pulled out his phone and said we`ve just done x amount of steps and burnt x amount of calories - he`d only gone and downloaded an activity monitoring app to his phone! I couldn't believe it :( Thing is, I enjoyed the walk for what it was and where it was at and now eveytime we go back there I am thinking of how many calories I am burning if we walk the same route - and its spoilt the pleasure of getting out in the fresh air and enjoying the scenery.
    I think such apps are uneccessary and they just put pressure on you. Exercise should be taken because you enjoy it, it shouldn't be a chore, become all about numbers etc.

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