I first learned to read nutrition labels when I was old enough to read (or sometime in elementary school), if sugar was one of the first 3 ingredients it wasn’t going in the shopping cart. I started paying attention to the numbers over ingredient list around 5th grade…when I was first introduced to carb counting. Gushers, Goldfish, Chewy granola bars, Rice Krispies treats, Dunkaroos – give me a kids snack from the 90s and I can probably tell you the carbs, serving size…..and calories.
I’m still learning how to deal with a sweet tooth & cravings. Growing up I walked a fine line of restriction when it came to food. Forced to eat when I didn’t want to, not being able to eat when I did. Trading one thing for another, making compromises, testing what I could get away with, trying to fit in but knowing early on that I knew better than most grownups. Control. It’s a funny thing.
I kept loose food journals…of all sizes. Not necessarily diligent in keeping a proper record didn’t hide the fact that the information constantly consumed my thoughts. Is that what stock brokers feel like ? Planning their next move, debating risk & rewards, watching for the next big trend.
It was high school that calories became constantly counted. Again, never fully diligent in writing it down but constantly consuming my thoughts – providing fear, anxiousness and guilt. Not enough to cause drastic actions and under the guise of basic nutrition it led to binging of sorts more than anything, yo-yoing between guilt, rebellion and force.
I love my iPhone, yes one might call me dependent. It has apps! Apps that record your blood-sugars on the go, that can count your calories, give you nutrition information instantly…it’s endless! I’ve tried the looseit! app and it’s great.
But here’s why I had to let it go:
It was a battle. One low blood-sugar could ruin my entire day. And it would make me feel defeated. An unplanned granola bar could put me 120-200 calories past my daily allocation, 60 calories could be stolen by an unwanted juice-box. It was another reminder of restriction. Like the times when I wanted a snack and couldn’t have the carbs.
Or the times when my blood-sugars were normal or even high yet I wanted a snack by choice – the guilt of eating when I didn’t have to.
In adapting to a crazy work schedule, frequent meals at the office, NYC dining and the world of Healthy Living Blogs, I discovered both spectrums of “whole foods.” After struggling with the vulnerability of “open” food from restaurant ordering, I finally connected with the various mind sets of wholesome eating.
Growing up with a health nut father I learned early on about honey vs white sugar or the benefits of whole grains. But growing up in the 90s where I had buyers choice at my moms it was all about the pre measured & pre packaged snacks – my dad’s kitchen would throw me off and scared me.
Restriction is a difficult thing. If you don’t know what you’re missing you may be ok but once that door of temptation opens you become vulnerable. It goes hand in hand with food. As much as I try to control food, often through restriction, it strongly controls me. My health, my decisions, my actions.
So in letting go of the obsessive calculations, I’m aiming to focus on the things that I can enjoy – and truly enjoying them. Seeing food as an experience rather than a controller.
And where does that leave me now? I still hate grocery shopping, am constantly picking up packages to look at nutrition labels and read the latest news. Energy bars, granola bars and protein bars still make up a large part of my diet. But that may equally have something to do with my lack of cooking.
I’ll never be able to let go of planning, knowing and calculating – but now I’m trying to manage it in a more wholistic approach.
I knew that just because every time I see a new product I instantly look at the nutrition label doesn’t mean that everyone else does. But only 9% look at calories and 1% (!!) look at other nutritional information ?? With the diet trends in America I would have expected more. | Fit Sugar
Calorie-Conscious without counting | Fit Sugar