Count memories, not calories or macros
One of my favorite things in the world is going out to eat. The experience of trying new foods and not having to do the dishes after is glorious. But lately, something that’s been top of mind with dining out is restaurants are adding calorie counts to their menu boards and paper menus...and it irritates me.
Why is this necessary? I don’t think it is. However, the FDA claims calorie labeling helps the consumer make informed choices. But riddle me this….
If someone makes a choice because it has lower calories and finds themself to still be hungry, should they not eat?
If someone chose X food because of the calories when they really wanted Y, is this really the better option?
If someone is struggling with food and their body, viewing calories is harmful. And let me tell you- SO many people are struggling. Statistics show 10 million women and 1 million men in the US are struggling with an eating disorder right now- and that's only reflecting those who report it. Many people struggle in silence and don’t receive help. And many don’t fit the criteria for *clinical* eating disorders, or have disordered eating and are also struggling.
Controlling your calorie intake or macronutrient intake is a time suck and mental health suck. Letting numbers dictate whether you choose to eat something or not isn’t *health*. Meticulously tracking calories or macronutrients on your phone app isn’t *being well*. Our bodies do a wonderful job of regulating other processes (our heartbeat, when we need to go to the bathroom, when we breath) so why are teaching people to micromanage their food intake?
What if instead of telling people to obsess over numbers, we taught them how to listen to their bodies, find food they enjoy, and drop the food rules? External factors deciding what should be eaten has never helped anyone.
Calories in, Calories out is bullshit. Marci Evans said it beautifully in this blog post. To boil down weight and health (notice I said AND-these are mutually exclusive-one does not define the other) to caloric input vs caloric output is bad science. Our bodies simply do not work in this way.
Going out to eat shouldn’t cause anxiety or run by calculations-no eating experience should. Food is meant to bring pleasure and experiences, not shame and obsession.