Monday, January 30, 2012

1 and 2 and 3 and 4.....

The holidays, as well as slowing down on yoga (see this post), have had an unfortunate but expected side effect: I can feel my body gaining some weight. Since middle school, my body and I have played tug-of-war with my weight. I usually stay within a 15 pound range and before I end a twenty-year tradition by busting beyond that range, I decided to take charge. Since I began my yoga lifestyle, I no longer "diet". Instead, when I need a little help, I just hold myself accountable with a calorie counter. I recently found a great one for my phone,, where you can actually just scan in the barcode on the box and it adds it to your food diary - talk about simple! I had no excuse to not use it.

If you've never done it, calorie counting is a huge eye opener. First, it forces you to think in terms of serving size. The first few days I tried to not change the way I eat so I could just see what I usually put into my body. Holy moly! That bowl of oatmeal - 3 servings! That tiny bag of veggie chips I ate in two days - 8 servings! It really makes you start to understand the disconnect between the quantity your mind *thinks* you need and what your body truly does need. 

Second, it reminds me there are no free foods. Those red and orange peppers I mixed with my Quinoa? They added 40 calories to my lunch. I always think of veggies as mainly water and that I can eat as many as I want, but even those add up. I've easily eaten 2-3 times what I put in my lunch - that added over 100 calories to my daily total without me even knowing.

The last thing using a calorie counter does, at least for me, is bring up some pretty interesting insecurities I don't even realize I have. Often (as in, every day thus far) I have wanted to cheat. I have been tempted to not mark down a quick bite of something I grabbed while my main meal was cooking. Or put down 1 serving when in reality it was more like 2.5. My brain would rationalize this by saying "I'll just save a few calories at the end of the day and know in my head they are accounted for already". Huh?!?! WTF? I am the only one viewing my calorie counter so why do I want to cheat?!?!?! I have found myself having actual arguments in my brain about whether or not to mark something down accurately. It is almost like my unconscious mind considers those extra calories at the end of the day as "success" (even though I know eating too few calories is also an issue). If I can not eat all of my calories - even through cheating the system - then I am somehow stronger and better. Whereas my conscious brain wants to help me change. It's the white angel whispering that if I don't put every little thing down correctly then why do this at all? It is really interesting being an observer to this power struggle between my two consciousnesses (consciousnessi?). That is one of those benefits of meditation and yoga - being able to view your thoughts and actions as separate from yourself. To not get so caught up in your head that you miss seeing there are other options out there. Seeing things like this so clearly is well worth the motionless hours spent not scratching that itch

Throwing in things like this, a simple calorie counter, really brought awareness to a part of my life I was letting slip. What part of your life are you currently sleepwalking through, and what can you do to shake it up a bit?

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