Nutrition

30 Days of Mindful Eating: Calories vs. Food

Do you find yourself looking at food as calories for weight gain & weight loss more than you do as nourishment for performance, wellness, & survival? Write about how you feel towards calories & then how you feel toward food. Compare the difference.

I first started counting calories when I was twelve.

Going through puberty, I was uncomfortable with how my body was changing. Unhappy with how it was “turning out.” So I borrowed from magazines and blogs to learn how to lose weight.

It took me so long to recover from that first foray into dieting. I feel like I missed out on crucial years of learning how to listen to my hunger cues and let my body dictate what it needs, without thinking about calories, weight gain, and weight loss.

Even though I’ve developed a much better relationship with my body since then, I still struggle to not track my food intake in some capacity. (Though whether that’s due to a history of disordered eating or my Italian genetics telling me to eat all the food all the time remains to be known.) As an athlete, I monitor my food intake to ensure I perform well, but there are days when I still feel restricted and days when I struggle to let go of control.

Calories are functional. Robotic almost. They’re fuel for a machine. They exist for survival: input -> output.

Food, on the other hand, is cultural, meaningful, warm. It’s full of love and community. Food is a source of pleasure and wellness. Food is something that you share with others, that has tradition attached to it. Natural, whole foods are fuel, but they’re also a source of wellness. Food is something that can help you to grow, heal, get stronger, think better, and feel healthier.

A healthy relationship with food overshadows calories, any day.

Black Iron Nutrition is offering a 30 Day Mindful Eating Challenge that includes journal prompts and tasks to help bring more mindfulness to our relationships with food. And I’m in! This post is in response to today’s prompt to keep myself accountable and get the most out of my participation. If you’re interested in joining the free challenge, sign up at Black Iron Nutrition’s website here.

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