The constant calculator in your head won’t stop running. Food has been reduced to numbers and fears. It started out as something to support your health, but now it feels compulsive – you think about it all day long. Food doesn’t have to be a math equation. Here are four things to do if you hate counting calories:

1. Go On A Calorie Counting Diet

Food is not a number. Food is food. Food is nourishment. Sometimes, the fear and social stigma associated with being overweight in our culture can distort our relationship with food to be something scary as well. Separate food from numbers. If counting soothes you, count the number of smiles on people’s faces walking by, not the calories.

Calories are simply energy. But in our body-fearing world, calories can equal body judgment or lack of will power. Smash that paradigm! Go calorie counting free as long as you can. Just say no! Do your best to shift your focus from the calorie information you already know and simply be present with the food on your plate.

Ask restaurants if they have menus that do not list calories. Select the meal that sounds most appealing, rather than focusing on the calories listed next to them. When you feel yourself reaching to peel the label open on packaged food, remind yourself that you’re striving for a qualitative, rather than quantitative, relationship with food. Leave the label down or turn it away from you. Or better yet, eat foods that don’t have labels at all!

2. Focus on Food Quality

Shift your focus away from calorie counting and onto quality of food. The higher the quality of your food, the more probability there is that you will reach your natural weight more easily. Your liver won’t be bombarded with extra toxins to filter, so it can focus on its job to clean the blood and metabolize energy. When we can put real food in our bodies, we don’t skip nutrients or use chemicals to substitute for nourishment, and our bodies utilize the food optimally.

What is quality food? Real, fresh, organic food that is naturally produced, locally grown, and nutrient dense. You get more with less. Quality allows us to relax our grip on quantity and trust our body’s fullness cues. We utilize nutrients and feel satiated without a false alarm, which allows us to trust our internal body cues rather than external numbers calculated on a package or menu.

3. Focus on Relaxed Eating

The field of Dynamic Eating Psychology teaches us that harried eating diminishes our capacity to listen to our body’s cues for fullness and satiety. Here at the Institute for the Psychology of Eating we advocate “slow” eating. Eating in a slow, relaxed way with time and attention ensures that we will experience our meal. When we do this, there’s no need to overeat. Our natural appetite self-regulates.

Relaxed eating also allows our bodies to stimulate enzymes and acid secretions for optimal digestive function. It sends a powerful message to our nervous systems that we are out of danger or stress and can relax, let go, and recharge. When we eat in a parasympathetic (relaxed) state, we sense our fullness, feel more satisfied with less, and can metabolize more efficiently. Plus, it’s just plain more enjoyable to relax while eating a meal! Share a meal with a friend, make space for a meal, and treat it as an important part of your day. Your body will thank you.

4. Focus on Nourishment

Food is not about numbers – it’s an experience. Celebrate. Enjoy. Feel nourished by the food you take in. Reducing food to calories or numbers makes it feel like a chore. But food is wired very strongly in most brains to produce a powerful feeling of pleasure so that we survive by continuing to feed ourselves. Calories may give us energy, but food gives us nourishment.

The more your food comes the way nature intended, the more nourishing it is for your body. Keep it simple, organic, colorful, and full of nutrients. Make sure that the majority of your intake nourishes your body with healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, proteins, and carbohydrates.

When we focus on nourishment it triggers a relaxation response, rather than a fear response. We can let our bellies open to receive the nourishment. We move through life more relaxed and at peace. We can view nourishing ourselves as a proactive and healthy thing, rather than a feared enemy in the form of numbers. Stick with focusing on quality food, and let your body — not a label — tell you the quantity it needs.

So, go on a calorie counting free diet, focus on quality, eat in a relaxed state and focus on nourishment. When you do this, you can relax the calculator and be with food as it’s meant to be – as nature provides it. You’ll establish a more trusting relationship with your body and food, and will free up energy for things that matter more in your life.

Warm Regards,

The Institute for the Psychology of Eating
© Institute For The Psychology of Eating, All Rights Reserved, 2014


The Slow Down Diet: Eating for Pleasure, Energy, and Weight Loss

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P.S. If you haven’t had a chance to check out our FREE information-packed video series, The Dynamic Eating Psychology Breakthrough, you can sign up for it HERE. It’s a great way to get a better sense of the work we do here at the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. If you’re inspired by this work and want to learn about how you can become certified as an Eating Psychology Coach, please go HERE to learn more. And if you’re interested in working on your own personal relationship with food, check out our breakthrough 8-week program designed for the public, Transform Your Relationship with Food, HERE.

About The Author
Emily Rosen

Emily Rosen is the Director of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, where she oversees business development strategies, student affairs, marketing and public relations in addition to her role as Senior Teacher. With an extensive and varied background in nutritional science, counseling, natural foods, the culinary arts, conscious sex education, mind body practices, business management and marketing, Emily brings a unique skill-set to her role at the Institute. She has also been a long-term director and administrator for Weight Loss Camps and Programs serving teens and adults and has held the position of Executive Chef at various retreat centers. Her passion for health and transformation has provided her the opportunity to teach, counsel, manage, and be at the forefront of the new wave of professionals who are changing the way we understand the science and psychology of eating and sexuality. Emily is also co -founder of the Institute for Conscious Sexuality and Relationship.