Count Your Happiness, Not Your Calories

By Amy M. Klimek, MA. LPC
Eating Disorder Program Coordinator, Timberline Knolls

The diet industry thrives on making you feel bad about yourself while tempting you to change your body. The inviting language of the diet industry will question your worth, asking “Am I good enough? Attractive enough? What else can I change about who I am?”

Dieting is a cyclical lifestyle of abstaining, cheat days, losing weight, overeating, feeling success, to ultimately experiencing disappointment when the weight returns faster than it was lost. You feel confused and defeated because of the suggestion that you needed to change.

It is an ugly roller coaster ride that you just keep getting back on.

And what about the wellness or “healthy tips” you are always hearing, supposedly designed to provide motivation and encouragement? Even these continually sabotage the relationship you have with your body. Tips like using a smaller plate to monitor portion sizes. So there you are, sitting at the table with this small plate while everyone else has the standard-issue dinner plate. Is this really the way you want to show up to the table, to the world?

Diets are inflexible, restrictive and assign moral judgments to food and also to ourselves if we cheat the diet plan and dare to consume the “bad” food. On one diet, you can eat all the protein you want, but take a bite of a carbohydrate-rich apple and it is all over. Another diet will allow you to have anything that is low fat, no fat, fake fat, as long as you stay within those guidelines. It’s simply not a sustainable lifestyle. Our bodies cannot survive and thrive under this damaging promise. Counting calories, tallying up fat grams, or allotting yourself a certain number of points per day is as exhausting as it is ridiculous.

Food isn’t math. A plate of food onhealthy nolvadex enriched with nutrients and full of flavor cannot be substituted for numbers.

Diets are driven by rules, set by current trends and fads. You are told to consume this type of food for your body or only allow yourself this amount of calories in order to lose weight. The problem is that the current diet trend does not know “YOU;” it doesn’t know your body’s chemistry, its biology or how it synthesizes food. It doesn’t know your height and weight, whether you walk all day or sit at a desk.

And to make it even more challenging, we now have phone apps to add to the confusion of the relationship between our bodies and food. Big hint – those apps do not know you either.

As we are trying to understand our bodies, in the effort to be authentic to ourselves, we have the all-too-popular diet trend of cheat days. What does that even mean? One day a week, you are going to choose food you would like to eat, allow yourself to taste it and even enjoy it; one day a week you are going to be present with your food, yourself, your very own life? Then the next six days you are going to go back to counting, restricting and denying yourself? This is like saying you will only smile, laugh, or find joy one day a week? We can not live by those rules, so why do we do that with food?

Put down your phone, stop searching for acceptable foods on a phone app and learn to find confidence in the good choices you make. Support your body energetically and emotionally. Learn to listen to your body and move it in a way that feels joyful, pleasurable and fun. Set your own rules, then live by them.