Mind over Numbers for Weight Loss (guest post)

Calories In < Calories Out = Weight loss. 

The formula seems simple enough and so for anyone who has undertaken a weight loss journey it starts here. We are ready to finally take control of our food habits. I was no different and spent years tallying every morsel and tracking the number on the scale to prove I was doing it right…until I realized that I wasn’t in control of the food; it was controlling me.IntuitiveEating
I started to read MizFit and she kept talking about “Intuitive Eating”.

I dug for more information, hoping for a plan, more answers, more tools…but that is the blessing and curse of intuitive eating. It’s so simple that we all know how to do it, we just don’t.

It felt unnatural to let go of the numbers which had created a safety blanket for me. But I was spending far too much time worrying about food and very little time enjoying food, so something needed to shift. The first step in my new journey was to focus on eating 7-9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. I didn’t care how I got them, but that small switch helped me to start thinking of food in positive terms.

I kept calorie counting mind you because it was too scary to let that go. Until I had another moment where I realized the numbers were working against me. If it was 8PM and my little journal showed that I “had calories left” it wouldn’t matter if I was hungry or not, the ice cream came out, the cookies were demolished.  I could feel ok about staying within my numbers, but my body wasn’t benefiting and I was kind of confused…what caused me to suddenly start eating when I didn’t even want food?

A friend and sports dietician reviewed my food logs as I started ramping up the miles for the New York City Marathon. Her first request was that I stop snacking and start eating. I couldn’t figure out what she meant! Didn’t all the research say my grazing patterns were a good thing?  Maybe. But not if I wanted to learn to listen to my actual hunger and to get my nutrients in a more balanced fashion (important because a lack of nutrients can make you feel hungry).

Just days after switching from all day grazing to eating meals, it became very clear that my cookie habit wasn’t about hunger or even cravings, but simply because the calories said I could. I’m actually eating less now that I have let go of the calorie concern because when I am hungry I can honor that feeling with a full plate of food! Science has also shown that when you ask people what they last ate, they will remember the meal they sat down for and not all the nibbling in between.

Healthy eating is a journey and I know I’ll continue to evolve, but I am really grateful for people like MizFit who continue to show us that no diet book knows us better than our own body.

HOLIDAY EATINGHolidayChallenge
The holiday season can be one of the toughest times to maintain a healthy relationship with food. But it is possible by listening to your body and focusing on eating as many fruits/veggies as you can each day! By removing the calorie counting and guilt, it becomes easier to enjoy a slice of pie and then return to normal eating. For more tips, support and motivation to ensure this your healthiest holiday season yet, check out the 5th Annual Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge hosted by RunToTheFinish.



Amanda is a seven time marathoner and author of RunToTheFinish. Through her weight loss and fitness journey she shows that being healthy is about how you fuel your body, how you feel about your body and how you choose to live every day.


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  1. says

    Wonderful post! I am a certified Intuitive Eating Counselor and if you are interested in the idea of how to eat intuitively I strongly encourage you to pick up the book “Intuitive Eating” off of Amazon. It 100% changed my relationship with food (for the better) for the rest of my life!

  2. says

    Took me years to figure this out, years of all or nothing, counting every calorie or ignoring them totally.

    Now i can’t tell when was the last time i looked at a calorie count.

  3. says

    I have definitely been in the calorie counting mindset before, and it truly is miserable. I remember plenty of times eating not because I was hungry, but because my calorie count or my meal plan says I can and should. I continue to work on this everyday, but I have found that not having calorie counts to follow is so freeing! :)

  4. says

    TOTALLY agree!!! No numbers for me…I have to be more in tune with my body and what it wants when it wants it…some days I definitely eat less and other days I feel like I am eating all day. (Not grazing…just really hungry so I eat)

    It seems to be working just fine and I actually enjoy food more ~taste~flavors~consistency rather than worrying about counting calories/fats/carbs etc…etc…


  5. says

    I totally relate to eating at the end of the day if there were calories left over regardless if I was hungry or not. Definitely made me realize that I’m a slave to the numbers. I’ve never been good about diets in general but also know that I need to become more mindful and intuitive with regard to my eating. Definitely a great approach.

  6. says

    I am the calorie counter. I will admit it. I don’t do it for weight loss, but for maintaining. With my training schedule and my work, if I don’t keep track at all, I tend to lose weight and I don’t like that. I think I fall somewhere in the middle of intuitive eating and calorie counting. My counting is not exact, but more of a general breakdown of macronutrients and where I’m getting my calories from. I’m a serious lover of fruits and vegetables so I tend to pull more towards them when I eat. This is the major reason why I keep a journal. I want to ensure that I get my protein in there too! Great post!

  7. Cheryl says

    Don’t count anything-don’t own a scale. When I DO weigh in at the Dr’s office approx 1-2 times a year I am the same. 128. I am 59 and active and eat right but don’t deny my cravings. Simple.

  8. says

    I love that study telling us we only remember the last sit down meal we have. Reminds me of all those little lies we tell ourselves about food; it doesn’t count if we’re ‘tasting’ out of the pan, cleaning up our children’s leftovers, sampling at the store…
    And you’re right, we probably don’t even remember all those calorie-laden bites!

  9. says

    This is a process many of us have gone through. Thanks for sharing your experience here. It’s amazing, the connection we actually have with our bodies and how it can slip away for period of our lives. It is such a joy to reconnect with it.

  10. says

    This is great! I noticed a huge change in my overall sense of wellbeing, my body and my health when I stopped calorie counting. I now focus on getting all the NUTRIENTS my body needs from whole foods as much as possible. And when I want a treat I don’t beat myself up about it. I actually crave them less when I’m getting what I need from my diet. I tend to feel better with 3 meals a day and a snack on run days. Grazing has never felt right to me. Love the term intuitive eating. Very positive and simple.

  11. says

    I love that you found what worked for you & I know many others!

    I do rely on having a goof feel of calories & nutritional stats for what I eat over a week BUT I don’t log anymore & have not for years. I think that is what helps me. I pretty much know what is going in my bod & how to manipulate it without all the logging – just from my years of doing this.

    I think we all need to find what works for us & it may not work for another person but it does not matter as long as it works for you. :)

  12. says

    Great post!! It really does make a difference just eating when you’re hungry and all that mindless grazing, even if the grazing is on healthy foods!

  13. says

    GREAT post, I am actually posting about the same thing for tomorrow’s WIAW. I am trying to let go of calorie counting for a while, I’ve fallen into a rut – an obsessive rut, and it’s not healthy anymore. I’m either counting calories or binging and neither is good, I’m trying to learn to listen to my body more with intuitive eating as well.