I never go into a store and pick out what I like and march up to the register. I always look at the price and decide if I think it’s worth it. Sometimes I know I can find an item I will like just as much for less money, and I keep shopping. Sometimes I place things back down and sigh knowing I can’t afford it, and move on.
I look at calories the same way. I can’t eat what I want, without considering the cost. I need to know how many calories are in the food I eat. Many people are trying to lose weight but have no idea how many calories they consume. It would be like shopping with zero understanding of how we will pay for stuff, what we have already or what we are looking for. We need to know the details!
Counting calories gets a bad rap these days. It has been said we should just eat mindfully. I agree mindfulness is a piece of the puzzle. Eat when hungry, stop when full. Our over exposure to highly palatable food make that very difficult. We are bombarded with eat this, buy that! Our appetites are being triggered constantly. We are also in a world of non stop distractions. Calories are a just an informational guide, similar to a budget.
My mother gave me a $50 gift card for Mother’s Day. I used it yesterday. I walked into the store with a specific goal of purchasing sandals for work. Initially I got excited by how many choices there were. Then I got overwhelmed and needed to get focused. I narrowed it down to one pair that was within my budget. Prior to purchasing anything, I had to consider all the requirements. They needed to be cute, versatile and comfortable. After I thoughtfully picked the perfect pair, I had enough money left over for pajama pants and lemon moisturizer!
I love shopping! But I am always on a budget. I love eating. But I have an allotted amount I can consume. I know my range for losing, maintaining and gaining weight. Do you know yours? If you don’t, you can’t get mad when you gain weight. Do you get pissed at the cashier when you reach into your wallet and there isn’t enough money in there? Most of us need to know our allowable amounst we have for spending and eating. Some people have budgets and metabolisms that allow them to do whatever they want. That’s not me. I am a social worker, I will always be on a budget. I love eating, I will always need to set limits. I can get mad, fight my reality or accept it.