Many of us have been through this. It's exhausting, time consuming and limiting. If you are extremely strict about it, truly calorie counting can take much of the fun out of your life. Calories counting is a much larger problem than just numbers, it causes
Isolation from others
Ignoring the nutrients of food in favor of the number
Rejection of "unplanned" food
As part of Project New Nutrition I have made it a point that I will absolutely not count calories anymore. I wanted to share some strategies I have been using to overcome this problem.
1) Do not let yourself use "tools"
By "tools" I mean pen and paper or a calculator. The calculator on my phone used to be my best friend, I'm sure people thought I texted like a fiend. I would also entertain myself in class by thinking of recipes and calculating the calories in the back of my notebook. Now, if I have the urge the first thing I do is put down my pen or I do not let myself pick up my phone. That way if I really insist on figuring something out I will have to do it in my head which I quickly give up on.
2) Do not look at the nutrition label or try to eat un-marked food
Now, whenever I buy food I make it a point to not check the nutrition label. If it is something I have never bout before I may check it for the nutritional value but I try to forget the caloric count as quickly as possible. I believe it is alright to have a "calorie awareness" e.g. you can get away with eating a ton more carrots than french fries but sole focus on the number is never good.
3) Focus on what the nutrients of the food will do for your body
Instead of thinking "how many calories does this add to my meals?" Think, "will adding this make me feel good and nourish my body?" This is a hard transition to make but once you get there ( I am one meal at at time) you will feel so much better physically because you will choose energizing food.
4) Listen to your body
The basic, cardinal rule. Intuitive eating. Eat when you're hungry, stop when you're not. There are of course a few exceptions, not everyone feels hungry after a hard workout but it is important to eat soon after. Most of the time however, this is the rule to live by. It allows you to eat whatever you would like because energy dense foods will keep you fuller for longer, therefore you may not eat as frequently.
Please note, these strategies have worked very well for me but may not work for everyone. It is a hard transition to make but I have found using these tips have helped me to relatively quickly overcome calorie counting. If you try them and find you are still struggling, please seek professional help.
Peace and Beauty