Intuitive Eating

Is calorie labeling TMI?

February 5, 2016

Self-Paced Course: Non-Diet Academy


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A Certified Eating Disorders Registered Dietitian (CEDRD) with a master's degree in dietetics & nutrition. My passion is helping you find peace with food - and within yourself.

Meet Katy

Do you look at the calories on the foods you eat?  The information has become increasingly available as it's moved from not only the nutrition facts panel on the side/back of the packaging to the front of the box.  It's also thrown in your face on restaurant menus.  And if you're ever in doubt you can just Google it or type it into a calorie counting app. 

How is this information helping you?  Seriously, stop and think about this for a minute.  How do you feel after you see that number?  Does it change the way you eat?  Does it change the way you feel about yourself?  Do you avoid foods because you perceive the calories to be too high, or choose foods because they are low in calories?  Do you feel guilty for eating high calorie foods?

Do you even know what a calorie is?

IMHO it's not useful information for most people because they don't have the training in nutrition to be able to interpret calories in the context of food science, a person's overall intake, and how the body actually uses them. 

Metabolism (the conversion of the calories in food into energy) is a very complicated thing.  It's influenced by your genetic makeup, body composition, medical conditions, medications, hormones, eating patterns, activity level, sleep patterns, and numerous other things.  Weight is not a direct function of calories in, calories out.

I challenge you to stop looking at calories for a week and observe how you feel.  You might feel anxious at first if that's how you've been deciding what to eat, but it will help you connect with your body and ask yourself what you're hungry for.  I know that it's not as simple as just pretending calories don't exist or that the information isn't already filed away in your brain.  But you can choose to redirect your thoughts and focus on how the food tastes and your cues for hunger and satiety.  Over time this focus on internal regulation will become habitual and your eating will be more intuitive, no calorie info needed.

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