In Defense of Calories

The word “calorie” has a negative connotation.

In reality the word is very neutral, even positive.

Calories are how we have begun to measure the energy in food- which is a potentially harmless concept if it is seen as a positive thing. Calories are our sustenance and life force. It is the energy we consume in order to live and thrive. Not to mention one of our biggest biological pleasures.

But then, of course, somewhere along the way, calories suddenly became something we all were apparently getting too much of. Excess calories were bad. Hell, calories in general were bad. So we deprive, and count, and measure and worry and restrict and rebel and binge and worry more and count more and restrict more.

And then calories are your drug and you are convinced you are addicted to food and can’t listen to your hunger or stop with a normal portion.

Nah. You and sufficient Calories just had a falling out.

Calories are not a problem. Calories are essential- and lots of em. Not to say that consistent excess calories won’t make you gain weight. Or that sufficient calories in a compromised metabolism won’t make you gain weight. It can and it will. But that is not because Calories are bad. And it is not because Calories can’t be trusted.

  • Calories can be trusted. Trust calories more than a disordered relationship with food and calories.
  • Sufficient and even some excess calories speed up your system.
  • Restricting calories leads to food fixation- as a starving body’s main goal is finding food.
  • When trusted, the body will regulate it’s need for calories with your desire for them.

Instead of worrying- Fuck It.

Eat Calories.

Plenty.

7 comments

  1. Camila says:

    *sigh* I’m wondering how long this will take, without taking meds. I’ve been OCD over food as long as I can remember. I could never get enough. It’s like there was never any leptin/ghrelin going on. Perhaps it had something to do growing up with artificial sweeteners and rice cakes, but I was always ‘hungry’. Now that I’ve come to terms with my exercising and eating and body image and including ALL whole foods, I still can’t get my mind off it. Recipes, mealtimes, gum, beverages…it still consumes me. Despite the fact I eat plenty, and rarely get ‘hungry’ (usually brain fog/blood sugar issues tell me I need to eat). I wish I had something that took over my brain. Something exciting to think about. Stimulating. Hypnosis. Books. Movies. Art. Theatre. Sports. No matter what it is, every five minutes, my mind still goes ‘food’.

    • Moon Flower says:

      I use the PFFF method of eating to satiety. If I feel hungry, it’s usually because I haven’t eaten enough protein, fat, fluid or fiber (mostly in the form of fruits or veg, but can also be from grain). Don’t chew gum, that will make you hungry. Try hibiscus tea or rooibis tea with cinnamon bark. Try to finish three meals by 8pm or so. Fixing and eating all those meals does take a lot of time, so enjoy them.

  2. Steph says:

    Great post! Do you have Pinterest? So many women pin recipes that are “low cal” or “healthy” versions of their favorite recipes…its very frustrating that people think that they can beat their hunger long term. Your body can’t be outsmarted by low-calorie meals. Also, men would never think to eat or cook like this. My dad wouldn’t be caught dead cooking with low fat replacements, and my boyfriend eats what he loves without regard to calorie content. More women should learn to eat like this, just because we’re not men doesn’t mean we should only eat salad and frozen yogurt!

    • Carolyn Donner says:

      Agree with you on this one! We can have the same meals as men, our bodies will each tell us when we’ve had enough.

  3. Lisa L Greer says:

    I don’t know if you’ll see this or not, Camila, but I was like that, too. I eat intuitively, but I had to cut out gluten. It led to obsessive food thoughts, feeling terrible, and bingeing from a very early age. I just didn’t know what the problem was, and I’ve tried everything till I figured it out. From what I can tell, I have a wheat allergy or gluten allergy/intolerance. When I’m off of it, I think, this is what a normal person must feel like. I eat when I’m hungry. I have a normal appetite and so on. I don’t think about food all day and night. I can keep gluten free sweets in the house no problem. If you haven’t looked into it, I suggest it. For other folks, I agree with the post on gluten. Eat it. Enjoy it. For me, my life was hell eating it.

  4. jere14 says:

    Change to path to Hell begins with good intentions, to the path to Hell begins with calorie restriction. The medical community plays the devil.

  5. Ann B says:

    Years ago I had a woman (co-employer) tell me I wasn’t eating enough. I think I’d brought a yogurt for lunch. What she said made absolutely no sense to me. She didn’t elaborate when I said I was full from just the yogurt. I’ve always ignored my hunger a LOT…(and I still catch myself putting off eating), so I was just clueless. Maybe I’ll send her a note sometime and let her know that now I am learning to eat when hungry….first thoughts of food…and more than just eating the smallest amount to satisfaction. Crazy….my grandsons eat to satisfaction, but I doubt they spend any time thinking how little they can eat and still grow and have energy to play and run/climb/jump/dance, etc. that healthy, full of energy children do.

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