Stop Counting Calories Already: They Are Actually Good For You!

18 Dec

The other day while devouring my large Chicken Schwarma dish with rice and salad from my new favorite Mediterranean restaurant, I got to thinking about calories.

The reason being is that two years ago, I wouldn’t be able to consume a large (but, healthy) dish like that without feeling immense guilt, while simultaneously counting how many calories I was consuming. “Ugh, this has 300 calories in it. Now I’ll have to work these off immediately!” I used to think to myself. 
Instead, these days I now think as food as something delicious, something I need for energy, considering I am a very active, healthy young woman. 
Too many women these days think as calories as something that will in turn make them fat. We count calories, analyze calories, and curse calories, wrongly believing that they are evil and will pack on the pounds. 
I myself used to go as far as writing down every piece of food I put in my mouth, psychotically counting up the calories, in fear I would gain weight. At one point, during my unhealthy eating phase as a freshman in college, I wouldn’t allow myself anything over 1,100 calories. . . 1,000 was pushing it.  Keep in mind: this was also a time I was going to the gym for at least an hour every day. I was being extremely unhealthy. And on top of that, I was actually gaining weight because I wasn’t eating enough, so my body was holding onto everything it had, also drastically slowing down my metabolism. 
Yes, now I look back and realize my behavior was crazy, but at the time I thought I was doing the right thing if I wanted to lose weight and look good. 
Yesterday, a good friend of mine and Personal Trainer at my gym said something to me that I think will help a lot of you women out there, who still have that “calories are evil” mindset.
“You know, I think people need to start looking at calories as fuel, rather than something that will make you gain weight.” 
Yes, many of us know deep down calories provide energy and fuel, but we never take a second to think about it, and really believe in it. 
I wish so badly that during my unhealthy phase, I could have thought this way, because let me tell you it is much easier. I was destroying my body, and my mindset all at the same time, leading me to believe I was never good enough, never skinny enough. Now I know otherwise.
So take a break from reading the labels on every little thing, and start enjoying life, and eating because it makes you feel good and provides you with the energy you need to get you through the day. 
We read so many diet articles, books and magazines about how we need to “watch our calories, and keep an eye on our portion sizes, but there’s never anything about how we need to consume healthy, good, hearty food (yes, with calories-sometimes lots of ’em) to live a healthy lifestyle as an active woman! 
Believe it or not, but from lots of reading and research, I found that an average weight 30 to 45 year old woman who exercises regularly needs up to 2,000 calories a day to maintain a healthy weight. And to think I was eating half of that a few years ago! 
No, I’m not saying dive into everything in sight-french fries, cupcakes, pizza! I’m saying fuel your body with the right foods (most of the time) like lean protein and whole grains, and you won’t need to be counting calories, analyzing  what your consuming every friggin’ minute. 
Us women need to come together and send out the message that instead of watching our weight, counting calories, and trying to be skinny 24/7, we should be concentrating being and living healthily. 
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