150 for that pack of almonds. 200 for that Clif bar. 80 for that piece of toast plus another 45 for the tablespoon of fat-free margarine. Or was it a tablespoon and a half? Maybe I should eat the white rice instead of the brown at dinner now because it has 30 less calories. Just in case I ate more margarine than I thought. And shoot, I totally forgot about that cookie I had in between meetings. Was it 100 calories? Or 200? Ugh, I should cut something out of my afternoon snack to be safe then.
That's a snapshot of what went through my head every second of every minute of every day during my eating disorder (and through the beginning of recovery).
My brain was a calculator. Endless calorie counts. Non-stop adding and re-adding (and then re-adding again) of how much I had eaten, counting weights and fractions of cups and tablespoons.
It all had to add up to a certain amount, the "perfect" amount based on whatever health fad or diet trend I was obsessing over that week. It didn't matter if I was unsatisfied or still hungry, it didn't matter if I felt like complete shit: I lived and (almost) died by that number. Sadly, it was the most important thing in my life.
But fortunately, almost one year into recovery, I realized something that turned it all around.
Our bodies don't run on numbers.
Your body doesn't know if it gets 300 calories or 350 for a snack. Quite honestly, it doesn't give a fuck. What your body DOES know is whether it's getting adequate, consistent fuel. That's what matters. Not the 20 calories difference between two granola bars you've spent the last hour debating.
So start feeding your body. No more of this calorie-counting bullshit. No more crying into your pillow and texting your best friend that you're a failure because you went over some imaginary number that some random article in Women's Health told you to follow.
If you're hungry, eat. And don't just eat what you think is the "acceptable" amount you should be eating for your snack or dinner or whatever. No, actually eat. Eat until you're full, until you're satisfied, until your belly is happy.
And stop measuring your life in numbers. They don't matter. Not the ones on the back of the cereal box, not the one on the tag in your jeans, and most definitely not the one on the scale. You are so much more than that. Your life is so much more than that. Start living it.
Thanks to Amanda for hosting the weekly linkup over at her lovely blog!