Dieting is like a little prison built out of numbers. For people like me, counting, tracking, and measuring are not harmless ways to track your “progress.” They are sneaky little judgment weapons.
Applying numerical ideals to your hunger or the size of your body is an invitation for obsession. You might as well walk outside and shout at the sky, “Hello, universe, I am interested in complicating my life and finding new reasons to be disappointed in myself.”
Calorie allowances, goal weights, and all the other numbers dieters are supposed to keep track of are really just arbitrary anyway. They’re chosen because they’re tidy, round numbers that sound nice. Not because they’re MAGIC. The only power these numbers have is driving you completely insane.
I have a natural tendency to fixate and judge in a pass-or-fail way, so even now, years after recovering from my disordered eating, I can’t bring numbers anywhere near my eating habits or my body. I just can’t casually track this kind of stuff. Even hearing other people talk about it stresses me out.
I can’t do calories. I can’t do macros. I can’t do points. No FitBit. No 80/20. No weigh-ins.
I even hate those 1 to 10 hunger scales. I know that they’re just meant to guide people to think about hunger as a continuum, but all I can think about is WHAT IF I’M FEELING LEVEL 6 HUNGER BUT I’M EATING LIKE LEVEL 7?!
So what’s the alternative? What has worked for me is to keep it fuzzy. Intuition is an abstract thing, and it may take some time and effort to get comfortable with that. But the process will reinforce feelings, rather than measurements, to inform decision-making around food and movement.
I think of it as a learning to trust, rather than track. That’s where the real magic is.