Eating Without a Safety Net

According to my MyFitnessPal newsfeed, I have now logged all that I have eaten for 315 days. That’s just over a month-and-half away from a year of meticulously, you might even say obsessively, recording every calorie in (food) and every calorie out (exercise).

As an overeater, calorie counting was an important first step in my journey to lose weight and move toward a healthy life. Prior to starting my DDP Yoga journey, I was mindlessly eating north of 4K calories a day, and weighed somewhere between 192 and 198 lbs. Before I could address any underlying food issues, I needed to rein in the sheer volume of food I was eating, and calorie counting was a great tool in that fight.

Okay, that’s breakfast taken care of!

However, calorie counting is not the only step in dealing with overeating issue. While I have come to accept a more manageable calorie load per day, and I have lost enough weight to be back in the healthy BMI range, I have fallen into some poor habits that to a certain extent have become enabled by the calorie counting.

There’s more to losing weight and getting healthy than simply eating less calories. The quality of food is important too. Over the past year, I have taught myself to eat, and over time even enjoy, more leafy greens and whole foods. In accordance with the DDP Yoga nutrition plan, I have gone gluten- and dairy-free, and I have been working towards full adherence to the Phase III plan. However, I have been terrified of abandoning the calorie counting, because I still have the overeating demon inside me.

All you need is a little concealer, and the right lighting…

I have come to realize that my calorie counting is, on some level, holding me back. Despite the fact that I, as a trained cell biologist, know all too well how important avoiding inflammatory foods such as sugar, dairy and gluten is for long term health issues* such as cancer, chronic pain, and other terrible diseases, I haven’t fully committed to healthy eating. The problem is that when I am looking at Ritz crackers in the cabinet, the bag of Hershey’s Kisses, or some leftover quesadilla on my daughter’s plate, my initial thought is, “Oh, I shouldn’t eat that; it’s not vegan or gluten-free.” But then the overeater demon pipes up, “Well, I have enough calories left today. At least I’m not exceeding my daily allowance.” Guess who wins!

Graaaaaaains!

I realized I have stalled at this impasse. I am unwilling to quit calorie counting, because I am terrified of sliding backwards into some sort of overeating frenzy undoing all the great work I have done in losing weight, but I am also frustrated by my inability to truly commit to clean and healthy eating, and preparing for my long-term health. So, it’s time to take a leap of faith.

That faith comes in the form of Stacey Morris. She too struggled with overeating, but lost the weight, and more importantly, kept it off. She doesn’t religiously document all that she eats in an online journal. She doesn’t weight herself more than once a month. She has followed the DDP Yoga nutrition guide, and she has found long-term, sustainable health and weight loss. She is one of the wisest people I know, so the smartest thing I can think to do is to trust her judgment.

I want to make it to a full year of using MyFitnessPal, because, well, that would be cool! So, I plan to use the next month and a half as a transitional period. I will tote the DDP Yoga Guide around with me wherever I go, follow the DDP plan fully to the letter, and write down what I have eaten on paper, only logging it in the calories consumed and burned at the end of the day, and I will monitor my weight weekly to ensure that I am maintaining my current success. I hope that without the crutch of calorie counting, I will be motivated to eat cleanly and healthily.

Wish me luck!

* Did I mention I’m a crazed hypochondriac too? All the more reason to fully commit to a healthy lifestyle! 

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