Thursday, 29 April 2010

Why I'm Giving Up Calorie Counting

I had an encounter with my Gran today that really illustrated how my thinking has changed after discovering HAES (Health At Every Size). I had suggested that we go out and get fish and chips for lunch because, well, we live at the seaside and I really fancied fish and chips. My Gran's retort was to tell me to 'think of the calories'.

My immediate and heartfelt (but polite) answer was 'no, I won't think of the calories'.

Calorie counting is a form of diet, and this is fast becoming a diet free zone. I got to thinking, who gets to say how many calories my body needs a day to survive? A limit of 2000 calories for every woman in the world makes no sense. Each and every person is different; different nutritional needs, different metabolisms, different calorific needs. To assume that some healthcare professional somewhere knows exactly what my body needs every day is ludicrous, and it's even more ludicrous to assume that every woman needs exactly the same every day.

Even in the case that a qualified nutritionist saw me, and did lots of tests to see how much protein, how much fat, how many calories my body needs every day I still wouldn't listen. It is an utterly ridiculous notion to believe that any outside person, no matter how well qualified, knows what your body needs better than your body.

So Gran, no I won't be thinking of the calories. Instead, I will be thinking about what my body wants, and I will listen to what it's telling me. If my body wants fish and chips, then I shall have fish and chips if possible, If my body tells me it wants a salad, I will have a salad. But from now on, nobody, but nobody is going to tell me what I need to put into my body to keep it healthy. Only my body knows that, and I need to learn to listen to it better.

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