There's many paths to health and it's all about personal preference. For some people who appreciate discipline and structure counting calories and following an established program can be a valuable aid in weight loss. I don't count calories because I care more about nutritional content than I do about the calories involved. What you eat most of the time matters way more than what you eat on occasion (my weakness is a tuna melt!). Here's a little story about my journey from sickness to health:
Understanding my relationship to food helped me lose 40 pounds in roughly two years. In that time I didn't have a gym membership (I worked out when I had energy and time) and I didn't really follow a diet plan. At the time my cognition was running on empty and my clothes were too tight. Needless to say I was HIGHLY uncomfortable and I wanted to change. I was seeing a functional medicine doctor and she suggested I journal about my relationship to coffee - my drug of choice 3-5 times a day (ugh!). I was reluctant but I felt so crappy that I decided to listen.
Here's an excerpt of what I wrote:
Coffee...coffee is comfortable. My coffee order is the same, I like sameness - hate change. But I spend money on coffee - I could use that money for something way better. I like holding a warm cup or an ice cold one. It doesn't taste amazing but I somehow feel I need it. That first sip always zaps me awake and I feel like a real person again. I really don't care for the taste most of the time, except I do love coffee with brunch, especially eggs. It's almost compulsive - my coffee drinking. It feels weird when I don't have a cup in my hand.
When I read this back to myself I noticed some addictive patterns. I learned over time that my relationship to food could be summed up in what I wrote about how coffee feels, addicting. I started paying attention to other foods I chose to eat compulsively and wrote down what I was doing, who I was with, where I was, and how I felt emotionally and physically. The pattern was that whenever I had low energy, was in a bad mood, or unresolved stress I would reach for empty calories and I felt the effects. I was reaching for food when I clearly needed something else: REST.
Allowing my body to rest as often and as deep as possible aided immensely in my journey back to health. Running our bodies into the ground can be prevented by allowing our bodies to heal itself 7-8 hours a night. It doesn't stop there. A long time ago I discovered the healing qualities of meditation after battling anxiety. I've been practicing for nearly 10 years and the practice has strengthened my sense of inner peace and has helped me make mindful eating choices. Through meditation I've cultivated a space between a choice and reacting.
Learning mindfulness can help you if you're on a weight loss journey. The practice trains your brain to pause and that waiting time can make all the difference when making dietary and lifestyle shifts. In my weekly classes at ZenSpace, Tuesday @ 12:15pm and Wednesday @ 6pm. Click "class schedule" to sign up, I ask my students each week, "What's new and good in your life?" The overwhelming response I hear is that my clients are making smarter choices, cultivating inner peace and feeling more in charge of their lives. When making dietary changes it's important to feel like you're in the drivers seat, meditation can help with that.
If you're new to meditation try deep breathing for a week before bedtime. Notice any changes in your quality of sleep, energy the next morning and mental clarity. Maybe even ask yourself, "What's new and good in my life?" to help you recall all that you're grateful for.