In Defense of Calories

There are things in life that are straight up bad.

Parking tickets, cancer, car accidents, athletes foot, pests, the stink eye from the girlfriend of the guy you have a crush on…

All things we want to minimize.

But believe it or not, most people will add “calories” to that list.

Yep, many people think calories are just plain awful. They will make it a hobby to find the lowest calorie anything. They will engage in crazy amounts of physical activity to burn all those pesky calories away. They will spend countless hours researching resturants with the best lowest calorie options only to really graze at the garnish. If you think this sounds exhausting, your right!

I should know; I was one of them.

I don’t know when I got the memo, but it got to a point where I turned it around. I thought to myself, “wait, calories are good….hold the phone…they are delicious!”. I still “cared” about the calories I consumed, but no longer tried to eat the lowest amount possible. We need calories. Without them is like taking our ability to breathe or our ability to blink (I have to now link back to Janetha because she invented breathing and blinking and I wouldn’t want to be arrested from the blog copyright police).

I was in a gelato shop a little while ago. I had a few options. Sorbetto (which is a lower calorie option) and all these other delcious, creamy, gelatos. No doubt the old me would have take the sorbetto. Confident it was the “lowest calorie”option. And at the time I was all, “calories? who needs them!”. But dude, when a gelato shop has fucking nutella hazelnut crunch chocolate gelato????? Look, no fruity sorbetto will stand a chance. And you know what, I realized that I let my true taste be my guide. And that I’m confident the calorie won’t kill me. Hey they might do me some good.

So as I close, I thought I’d list all the wonderful things calories has given me:

  • shiny, thick, strong hair

Calories: The Best Stylist/Shampoo/Conditioner

  • strong muscles

well, my muscle is kinda show...right? aw well, I tried.

  • a beating heart
  • ย functioning ovaries (I curse this every month, but yea, I’m thankful they work)

  • a sex drive (this doesn’t come in handy when getting the stink eye from girlfriends of cute guys I eye-fuck)
  • energy to type this post
  • energy to move
  • the ability to think clearly and be more creative
  • my humor (yes, believe it or not, I think when I was deficient of calorie, I was very unfunny. Very pathetic and stoic, like a mannequin)
  • Delicious opportunities

Like chocolate chip banana cookies

What is your defense for calories? Do you try to mimize them? What good have they done for you?


43 thoughts on “In Defense of Calories

  1. Wow! I totally think I have a girl crush on you!!! I stumbled upon your blog from my other girl crush Janetha’s and I am blown away by your candor!!!! You rock!!!!

  2. Great post! Like Erin above, I just stumbled across your blog (in my case, via Mama Pea) and I think I might be hooked ๐Ÿ™‚ I wish more people could hear and then believe your points about calories. All so very true.

  3. Well honestly, I still go for the low calorie options mostly but that is only so I can eat more. I don’t try to eat 500 cals a day – I eat around 2000 or so but I am a volume eater so I try to get the most bang for my buck. Like Debs protein muffin (sorry, I’m not tech savvy and don’t know how to make the word Deb or muffin link back to her blog/recipe) they are low calorie therefore I can eat 2 and feel more full than if I just ate one tiny higher calorie one. I know some say that a “real” muffin with lots of fat/calories will satisfy you and you won’t want 2 or 3.Not this chic, my hunger thingie in brain doesn’t work right (thanks ED) so I opt for more of the low calorie foods but at end of day, Ive eaten enough calories to function! And that’s my defense (story) and I’m sticking to it :)!!

    • And thats totally fine. I too like volume. And all that matters i that your happy, healthy, and not making it your full time job trying to eat the lowest calorie thing. I know thats not you. You have paps to screen!

  4. I’m tired of everyone blaming calories for anything bad in their life (not you, but the anti-yous.) Opportunities for exercise and food should be celebrated and enjoyed, not condemned and stressed over. That might sound hypocritical coming from someone with my history, but as you know, life’s too short to stress about the little things–and calories are little things (even when consumed in large portions) ๐Ÿ™‚

    For me, they were often seen as something I could blame a lot of problems on. Now I see them as the solution to a lot of issues that I have/had. Plus, food is love, so there’s also that…

  5. I am basically licking my oatmeal bowl as I read this – obviously implying I’m not terribly concerned ๐Ÿ˜‰ Actually, I just try to make sure the calories are coming from a somewhat healthier source. Then I’m less worried about them. I need that fuel to get out and run or lift weights. Plus, I don’t like to feel hungry…ever.

  6. Yay for calories. When I was in high school, I read all those magazine touting too many calories as the devil. Then I got to college, started studying science and began to view calories for what they are – energy! WHY would someone want to decrease their energy to scary levels? We need that stuff! I personally know that if I didn’t consume enough energy I would not be feeling too hot. Food is fuel. Delicious fuel.

  7. I agree a little bit with the first thing Missy said about eating lower calorie options so I can eat more. I also happen to really love vegetables and fruit (blasphemy), and lucky me—I can eat a ton of watermelon for the “price” of a doughnut.

    But then the fact that I just called caloric intake a “price” shows my feelings about the issue. We have a certain amount to ‘spend’ every day, and I do NOT want to overdraft my account. The problem is, I’ve had a lot of trouble figuring out exactly what’s IN my bank account. Over the past couple of years, I’ve had to figure out how many calories I need…and it’s actually something I’m still working on. I have been trying to eat intuitively…and when I want something (i.e. pork belly, ice cream) well, then, I eat it. Do I always feel guilt-free? No. Definitely not, but I try to maintain balance.

    And goodness knows, things like ice cream just taste better when they’ve got more calories and fat in ’em. And real bacon trumps turkey bacon ANY day of the week.

  8. Yay for calories! I am glad you have gotten over your calories-will-kill-me stage. Calories are good for us for lots and lots of reasons… and people should not be afraid of them.
    I used to be afraid of fats. I never had an ED, but I was totally the kind of person who would get non-fat everything. Nuts scared me, etc. Now I know that a healthy body NEEDS fats (and carbs, and sugars) to function and look good. So I embrace in them every day. And damn are they good.

  9. Sometimes… I feel “in control” because I’ve been “so good” with my food choices all day but in reality… those are normally the days I deprive myself of calories. And my boyfriend can totally tell when I’ve done this and my blood sugar is too low. I start nitpicking, can’t concentrate, and get really grumpy. He says I need to go eat…and he’s right. I’m working on it.

    • I used to be that same way and would crash and burn around 3pm. Because surprise surprise my rice cake, apple, and measly salad didn’t hold me over – shocker! I also have to remember everyone eats differently and needs more/less calories, so trying to mimic my friends or someone on a blog is typically not the best thing.

  10. Okay, done reading. Good post! I have never been one to count calories. In fact, I didn’t even know a thing about calories until I started BFL and bothered to look at labels. I definitely don’t think something is bad if it is high calorie. But if something is high calorie and is not delicious, then I will say something along the lines of “that isn’t worth 600 calories”. By saying “worth”, I don’t mean calories are bad. I mean I would rather eat 600 calories of vanilla bean ice cream.. and you can bet your ass I will. Counting calories and stressing out over them is way too tedious for me. I like to create recipes that are balanced and have lower calorie counts than their counterparts.. but that is just because it’s fun, not because I believe eating low calorie is a life requirement.

    There is my piece!


  11. i totally agree about the whole sorbetto analogy…take the real stuff and your body will also respond better…usually those things are lower in calories or fat and they are replaced with all sorts of fillers and chemicals to make it that way!

    you have NO idea how many emails and comments I got post show asking me my calorie intake/macro/micro questions…people even sending me what they eat in a whole day and asking me to critique it…UM i wouldnt’ even know where to start since I have never in my life counted calories, nor did I do it before my show!

    • The funny thing is, I get that asked too! Not for shows (ha, I wish) but from people trying to recover. There is no magic ideal number everyone should eat! one number won’t make you lean or fat. People need to get off that calorie train.

  12. The calories that I think people should minimize are the soda/ orange mocha frappacino type that kill your appetite for delicious foods that nourish your body and give you vitamins! If I drink an orange crush, for example, and the sugar makes my tummy too full to eat, say, gazpacho with shrimp? Well, that’s just garbage.
    You hit the nail on the head though- I think “dieters” forget that calories are fuel, and that we need them, just not thousands of them, and that we still have to move our bodies at least a few times a day, right? haha.

  13. Love this post and it really is so true. I wish I could I agree with you on the counting calories thing but it is something i still struggle with sometimes. I got in the habit when I was actively losing weight and the habit definitely stuck! And that is what it is to me, a pesky habit that creeps up sometimes.

    • I used to love counting calories, But I’ve grown to hate it. Its not easy to give up and I believe some people need it for inner peace.,Sometimes, people need to count so they dont eat too little. We get scared of the unknown because it makes us feel out of control. But we often fail to realize that the calorie counting is controlling our lives, not the other way around.

      • So true and it definitely works both ways with me.. Sometimes I need to take a tally and make sure that I have eaten enough!

  14. i love my calories…just as much as I love my fat. I used to be that girl who counted everything, even how much calories I burned at the gym. But not anymore. I know realize I need food. I need it to nourish me.

    Great post girl! and I love reading you and Janetha’s comments back to each other, haha love u girls

  15. -shrug- They count, but don’t need to be counted. Blaming calories for being fat is like blaming the sun for skin cancer. I roll my eyes when people pick chemical-laden “diet food” over regular food just because it has 10 fewer calories. But at the same time, I feel there is a backlash about being aware of calories. I remember one time hearing a group of people talking about that unsweetened almond breeze.”Way tastier/healthier/more versatile than milk” my ass. The reason most people hone in on that stuff is because it’s 40 calories per cup. And there’s nothing wrong for liking it for that. It’s a great way to add creaminess to shakes without adding many calories and it’s healthy product. Win win.

  16. OK, I ‘got to sleep on’ this post- in fact it swirled through my brain all night! Truth is that I used to be that girl trying to eek away every.single.calorie and save save save so that I could eat more volume too.

    In a recent and interesting twist of fate regarding my calorie uncounting experiment that is 3 weeks old today-it has made me opt for foods that are not as much ‘diet foods’ despite what I told myself I would do when I started this experiment (I said that I shouldn’t change the foods I choose). But the result is that I’m more satisfied and I haven’t gained any weight. I told you yesterday I haven’t had a main-course Hugh Jass salad for weeks now. I still definitely do eat ‘diet’ food still but I’m also eating more ‘real’ food. It’s silly to opt for something more caloric if the benefit isn’t ‘worth it’ (like Janetha said above about the 600 calorie whatever)

    I need to thank you actually, because all of your stories and lessons from your treatment really sinks in and I listen to every word and process it all. I think that even though I was never diagnosed with an ED, there’s been one lurking for oh, decades. And your input has helped me be less scared of food, of calories, of carbs and of my hunger. So thank you!

      • Yes I remember it well. Three things on that:
        1) Old habits die hard- my brain thinks in terms of calories first and foremost
        2) I’m definitely a work in progress- probably will take YEARS to train my brain
        3) I honestly think I’ve made some in-roads in the 10 days since I’ve seen you!

        Eden: crickets? really!?

      • Deb, I’m honestly SO proud of your strides. And yes, old habits sometime dont even die, they just get put in storage…if you’re lucky! And I have no idea about crickets…is it on my daily plate???

  17. Pingback: Wednesday Weigh In: Counting « Love 4 Living

  18. I hear ya! Having restricted cals before myself, like all of us, I knownthat realization that comes with refeeding, that yes, calories are good! They give us life, and let us do the things we love ๐Ÿ™‚

    For me, they allow me to bicycle, and to have genuine relationships with people, by nourishing my mind ๐Ÿ™‚

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