Calories, in my opinion, are a completely ridiculous concept. The idea that you can base your entire self worth on a certain number of this unit is insane. Calories mean nothing besides how much energy a food product contains – that is it.
Of course at the time when I was completely taken over by ED they meant so much more. I would count these things like my life depended on it. Without going into too much detail, if I went over a certain amount then I’d have to do something to counteract this fact and certainly not a day went by when I didn’t count them as accurately as I could and obsess over my total figure in my head. It was pretty much all I thought about. Numbers, numbers, numbers. All. Day. Long.
And so because of this I am completely opposed to counting calories as a means of coping or well, anything. I believe that even those people that are over a healthy weight can achieve a healthy weight through a healthy balanced diet and active lifestyle. That was a lot of ‘healthy’ in one sentence wow sorry. I understand that not doing it can be so incredibly difficult and some dietitians actually recommend doing so as a coping mechanism and so they can accurately monitor their patients intake however in my opinion this is also a ridiculous idea for the following reasons:
- People with restrictive type ED’S tend to overestimate the number of calories there are in things and so their figures are hardly ever accurate. Yes some people with ED are a fountain of calorie knowledge but they still tend to exaggerate and add things ‘just in case’ They may even lie to stop you from increasing their intake etc. Eating disorders are manipulative, destructive things and they can cause their victim to become a deceptive and manipulative person. However this is by no means the sufferers fault, even if it may seem that way sometimes.
- By counting calories you are never escaping from the cycle of restriction. Yes you may be eating what could be considered normal for your age if you are in recovery but you are still in a way restricting because the likelihood is you’ll be scared of EVER going over that amount. You are still sticking to a certain number of calories whether it’s the right number for you or not.
- It encourages you to choose the lower calorie/low fat options and even view them as healthy. Which they might be in moderation but growing teenage bodies, especially females, need some fat to function. I know I say it a lot but everything in moderation is okay!
- It’s a horrible thing to feel like you have to do. Feeling compelled to do something you actually really don’t want to and to be constantly worrying about anything is not fun and this is no exception – in fact it can make you feel very stressed and anxious.
So please, if you are a carer of someone with a restrictive eating disorder then please try your hardest to encourage them away from this – but don’t feel to blame if you don’t manage.
And if you are suffering from an ED yourself then please stop. I know how hard it is to stop and it can seem so, so scary but it really is the best thing for your body. Weighing things out and counting everything is not going to help anyone. I know it’s not that simple but if you can then please try to stop or talk to people and find rescources to help you stop this bad habit. I wish you the best of luck 🙂