Calorie Counting: Is It A Universal Rule?
Yesterday, Jillian Michaels was on The Doctors talking about metabolism. I only caught a few minutes of the show, but something I overheard really made me cringe.
Jillian said, “You HAVE to count calories. I don’t care how healthy you are eating. It’s a universal rule.”
WOW. That is one loaded statement!
I must say her comment made my blood boil a bit. It is a universal rule that you have to count calories to lose or maintain your weight?! I’m sorry, but I simply don’t agree.
I do think that counting calories is beneficial for many people. It helps people understand portion sizes and gives them a guideline for how much energy their body might need. On the other hand, calorie counting can become an obsession and a source of preoccupation that distracts us from the big picture.
I realize that her primary target is the typical overweight individual who probably doesn’t have much knowledge about calories, nutrition, and portion sizes, but what about all of the people who are on the extreme end of the spectrum with disordered eating? Do they now feel like they shouldn’t stop counting calories even though it might be driving them crazy?
In my opinion, calorie counting is NOT a universal rule, even though at one point in my life if you would have asked me I would have told you I could never picture myself giving it up. For my personality, calorie counting didn’t work because it was all-consuming. Soon eating wasn’t about how hungry I was, but how many calories I had ‘left’ for that meal.
Now that I have come out on the other side where I do not count calories, I think it is totally possible to eat healthy without counting and maintain one’s weight. I am living proof and I know many others who have learned to stop counting calories too! I actually think for me, it was harder to NOT count calories and lose/maintain weight because it meant that I had to really listen to my hunger cues and body signals and actually be in touch with my body for once. Calorie counting isn’t going to work for everyone. It obviously depends on the person.
I think somewhere along the line, our society has missed the big picture.
Instead of telling people that they must count calories to lose weight, it is perhaps better to ask WHY people feel the need to count every calorie that goes into their mouth. The obsession with calorie counting is growing, while our society gets heavier, heavier, and heavier…
What we need to do is get back to the basics with our health. We need to stop micro-managing and start looking at the bigger picture of health. Eating whole, unprocessed foods that make us glow. Sweating a few times a week. Being good to ourselves.
Calorie counting can be a useful tool, but it can also mask and divert our attention away from our overall picture of health.
What are your thoughts about Jillian’s comment?
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