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So you’ve been counting calories for 1600 days, huh?

by Steve Troutman on May 1, 2016

Recently on the BI Change Community one of our community members posted about how she’s been struggling to commit to healthy behaviors and she’s gained 50 lbs back. She mentioned how she’s been weighing and tracking food for 1,600 days. She also mentioned how, after a lot of self-assessment, she feels that losing weight simply isn’t as important to her anymore.

Here was my response:

That’s a whole lot of obsessing over numbers! Very few people can manage the numbers based approach without critical self judgment and constantly feeling as though they’re walking a tight rope. One small misstep and you fail.

It’s a bunch of bullshit, really. It’s as if the moment you immerse yourself in tracking all the calorie stuff (as if it were even accurate to begin with), you also sign up to regularly remind yourself that:

a) you have very rigid limits that you’re up against each day… and essentially as the day wears on and you get more tired, the limits get smaller and your anxiety gets higher. Horrible combo that often leads to the fuckits.

b) as I said above… tons of self-judgment about being a failure, broken, a food addict, blah blah blah. Lots of self-hate and an acceptance, it seems, of a fixed mindset. You are what you are and that’s how it’s going to be. Which is awful and tons of bologna.

But as I said to you in another post… you really do have to have a strong Why. Like you, I’ve been all over the gamut of the weight spectrum. Even obese by bmi standards, which mean little. But at one point in time I was super lean… like veins popping out all over lean. And at other times I was literally stretching out my pants in order to button then or playing with my roll of fat that hung over my seatbelt as I drove.

So far on my journey I’ve learned a lot. And the fact that I put self learning at the forefront of my mission helps me accept myself. I’m not my weight. I’m not a calorie limit. I’m this total badass who fails a lot… but when I do fail, I fail forward.

I’m not out to look a certain way. I’m out to be a certain way… and that’s my whole concept of my best me.

My best me doesn’t look super hero lean. Fuck that. I’ve been there and it sucked. I was starving, lethargic, obsessed, imbalanced, etc. Society tells us that’s what our best selves look like but looks have very little to do with it. And if that’s the deepest we dig in our journeys of growth… I think we’re always going to run into unclimbable mountains and self-hate.

My best me transcends looks. He’s constantly striving to experience and experiment. He’s on constant pursuit of leaning more about himself and the things he cares about. He accepts setbacks and embraces the concept of recalibrating his approach on the fly as the circumstances of life play out. He thrives on the concept of a growth mindset… where you fail forward by seeing setbacks and failures as data rather than reassurance that he does, indeed suck. I could go on and on about the narrative I tell myself each and everyday.

But again, looks aren’t the be all end all. If they were, we’d be cursed since we all get old and wrinkly.

I look reasonably fit right now. Not “oh my god that guy is ripped” lean. I’m not going to go winning any physique competitions or making people gasp in awe at the beach (unless my bathing suit falls down).

But I’m happy. And more importantly I FEEL my best!! Which is a whole lot better than LOOK my best. Yes, I could look “better” by society’s standards, but again… since I’ve been there… I know that in order to accomplish that, I need to ignore a lot of other things that I care about a whole bunch. And when I do that, I feel out of whack and unhappy.

So how I look now is the byproduct of replacing the intention of looking my best with the intention of being my best. That might sound crazy to some, but it has been about one of the most profound lessons I’ve learned in my life so far.

Freeing. Amazing. Eye opening. Game changing with regards to how I talk to myself, treat myself, and view my world day to day. And massively influential on how I make decisions.

Funny thing happens when you start accepting this kind of thinking. You stop obsessing over food and you stop using food as medication. And then your weight and physique tend to fall into alignment with what’s realistically achievable without a whole lot of effort.

I don’t count calories. I build skills that I believe the best version of myself would have.

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