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. calories and clean eating .

May 14, 2011

Hi friends! I hope that your Saturday has been a beautiful one thus far 🙂 I’ve got a bit of a ramble today, so I’m also hoping that you have a few minutes to spare. Grab yourselves a drink (cinnamon spiced latte for me) and a cookie (or some cookie dough), and please sit back for a while.

Please keep in mind that I’m not a nutritionist, nor do I have any formal nutritional training. I’m simply speaking from personal experience and my own research that I’ve collected over the years…

. – . – . – .

So I was browsing through the latest issue of Shape that I picked up the other day, when I came across the magazine’s interview with Jillian Michaels. Now, I can’t say that I’m the woman’s biggest fan – I’ve never tried any of her workouts and I think that her approach in The Biggest Loser can sometimes be a little unhealthy – but I have to admit that did like some of what she had to say…

First off, homegirl eats…

Jillian Michaels Eats 2,000 Calories a Day!

Hoo-ray! *sarcasm off*

Wonderful, but I hate how the article makes such a big deal out of it. They make it sound like eating 2,000 calories a day is some crazy feat. It’s not. It’s actually pretty standard, or at least it should be.

Banana bread and coconut butter. I don’t mind meeting my daily caloric needs with foods like this…

I don’t know about you, but I’m SO sick of hearing health and fitness gurus advocate a vigorous training schedule and a diet consisting of less than 1,500 calories a day. To me, that’s nothing short of sabotage. Sure, the weight might come off a bit quicker, but will it stay off? Is that kind of lifestyle a maintainable one? To me, it seems like we’re only setting ourselves up for failure in the long run. By increasing our output and restricting our intake to a level far below what we need to support that output, we’re only teaching our bodies to do what?

HOLD ON to calories and STORE fat.

Our bodies are smart; they’ve got the whole survival thing figured out, and if they think they’re in danger of starvation, they start becoming a lot more efficient at storing any calories they get. As a result, our metabolisms slow down and our bodies stop operating at an optimal level, as energy is taken away from “less important” functions, and put towards keeping our brain and heart going.

Sound good to you? Yeah, me neither.

Pizza, on the other hand, sounds very good…

… and, oh, it WAS.

But I digress. The point is, we teach our bodies to maintain on less than they should through the very act of dieting and restriction. Believe me. When I was in the depths of my eating disorder, I got to a point where I was maintaining on a ridiculously low amount of calories. Like, people in comas were probably maintaining on a lot more than me. Now, I’m able to eat at least 4 or 5 times that while maintaining my weight. Why? Because, by providing it with a constant supply of the right amount of energy, I’ve finally convinced my body that it’s not going to starve so it doesn’t need to cling to every calorie I give it.

As a result, my metabolism, energy, mood, and health have skyrocketed, and I’m a happy, hungry Energizer Bunny who will gladly eat everything in sight. Mmmm… Err. Where was I? Oh yeah, Jillian…

Another thing I liked was that she admitted to not eating clean 100% of the time.

“I give food a number on a scale from one to 10. Ones are superfoods and will practically cure cancer, like organic spinach. Tens are crap that could kill you tomorrow, like a prepackaged cupcake. The highest I’ll go is a five or six. For example, I adore Popchips. They’re 100 calories a bag—no preservatives, no trans fats, and no artificial sweeteners. Is it a superfood? No. But will it kill me? No!”

Personally, I’d go all the way up to a 10 on occasion, but to each their own. The point is that we shouldn’t be afraid of enjoying the occasional unhealthy foods that we love because:

a. they’re not going to kill us (I ate cupcakes and lived to tell the tale), and

b. they’re good for our mental health (which is just as important as our physical health)

I can’t go a day without dessert in some form, nor would I ever want to. I spent years depriving myself of the foods I loved only to become a cranky and bitter mess. No chocolate? No cookies?

No thank you.

I love clean foods, I really do, but I love sweet treats as well, and in my opinion, a truly healthy diet includes a balanced amount of both. I mean, how can you say no to a face like this?

I can’t, that’s for sure. And have my “indulgences” sabotaged my body? No. Have they made me a happier person? Hell yes. Win? win. So I guess what I’m trying to say here is don’t buy into those low calorie, high activity lifestyles. Don’t be afraid to eat up and eat well.

*steps off soapbox*

I would love to hear your thoughts on calories and clean eating. Do you count calories? Do you stay within a daily limit, or listen to your hunger? And how about indulgences? Do you let yourself have treats when you crave them? I know everyone has a different opinion on these issues, and I’m really curious to hear what you guys think.

75 Comments leave one →
  1. May 14, 2011 6:32 pm

    Ahhh I love this! Sometimes, I feel like the Blogworld judges me for my obsession with certain chemical-laden, high-sodium, full of _______ (insert name of “unclean” ingredient) foods…Skinny Cow sundae cups, frozen dinners, bacon, and (gasp!) bottled salad dressing. I am already so diligent about eating healthfully, that if I obsessed about eating “clean” all the time, I would drive myself (and my friends and family) completely nuts. Great post! Love your outlook on food and fitness.

    • May 15, 2011 3:09 pm

      I have a sneaking suspicion that everyone eats “unclean” foods… they just don’t want to show it to keep up their squeaky clean image.

  2. May 14, 2011 6:41 pm

    Amen, sistah friend. Our bodies adapt to whatever is going on be it feast or famine.
    I don’t count calories hallelujah.
    Indulgences? That is a confusing topic for me. My “indulgences” are far from…indulgent?

  3. May 14, 2011 6:54 pm

    Oh my goodness we are SO on the same wavelength right now!!! I actually just typed up a post kinda-sorta like this to post tomorrow. But yes 2000 calories is NOT a feat at all, it is just an average and some people need waaay more than that. I have recently started eating more and my metabolism has gone through the roof. And umm a cupcake is not going to kill you! That is the kind of BS that young girls are hearing and taking to heart. UGH. I could go on and on an on! GREAT POST!

  4. May 14, 2011 6:56 pm

    I love this post! I need somewhere around 4000 calories with the training I do, so I’m all about the food/energy to fuel my body! Yes I eat pretty clean..lots of oatmeal, rice, pasta for carbs. Lean meats like chicken, eggs, ground beef, for protein..fruits and veggies…and healthy fats like oils and PB. But I ALWAYS eat what I want. For example, Ive made pancakes 60 days in a row topped with tons of PB because that’s what I enjoy, even if it’s not the #1 recommended healthy dinner lol. These people are crazy who eat so little. Sure, I could eat 2000 calories a day when my body needs around 4000, but all I would be doing is harming my body and not giving it what it needs. I would be breaking down muscle and not giving myself the energy it needs to get through each workout. I could go on forever about this so I’m gonna stop, but I love your pictures! Workout, have fun, and eat up everyone! One life to live, I’m not gonna waste it worrying about eating something like popchips lol

  5. May 14, 2011 7:09 pm

    I have never counted calories, nor do I ever want to. I deal with numbers enough as it is at uni, why would I voluntarily deal with them in my personal life, too? 😛 I am aware of how many calories are in what and such but I have never added up my daily caloric intake…I don’t really care. I just listen to my body and give it what it wants. Sometimes I’m wrong but I’m still learning! I eat dessert everyday, too. I don’t understand, why would a cupcake kill you? I should be dead a thousand times over by now…oh my. Whatevs hehe.

    Awesome, thought-provoking post, Amanda!!

  6. May 14, 2011 7:26 pm

    Hi Amanda!
    I just found your blog from the comment section of another one and am quiteee glad I did! The title of this post immediately caught my interest and I loved your thoughts on this subject! I have been suffering with years of disordered eating, restriction, over-exercising, fear of gaining weight, blah blah blah. I am recovering now and am finally understanding that life is SO freakin beyond counting calories and to have food constantly on your mind. That is how I have lived for the past 5 or so years and I am just sick of it. I am tired of telling myself “no” to foods I used to enjoy, and I simply annoyed with myself at this point.
    Articles like this really do help point out how much or society is focused on these kinds of ideas, which is part of what lead me to develop an unhealthy relationship with food and my body. I think your views toward food is truly amazing, and inspires me. Keep up the good work girl and I am surely going to continue reading your blog!
    Check out my site if you would like, where I talk about issues like this and my recovery 🙂

    • May 15, 2011 3:13 pm

      Girl, it’s so fabulous that you came to those realizations! There’s definitely more to life than counting calories, and life is so much more enjoyable when you’re not worrying about food. Keep fighting!

  7. May 14, 2011 7:30 pm

    “Tens are crap that could kill you tomorrow, like a prepackaged cupcake.”
    Oh, good. Lets teach impressionable girls (and boys) and other people exercising often that eating a prepackaged cupcake every so often could kill them tomorrow. *eyeroll.* I hear you on being sick of fitness gurus and mags touting low-cal diets; and actually, 2,000 cals a day really doesn’t seem like all that much for someone like Jillian Michaels. Now, I admit I know nothing about her; maybe she’s not as active as I assume her to be or something…
    As for clean eating…I’ve actually realized lately that I don’t put as much thought and…effort, maybe?…into eating “clean.” I eat what I eat…often, I consider it to be on the healthy side; but moreso because it’s second nature to me. It’s what I crave and enjoy, and feel I make these decisions because it’s what I enjoy, not “because it’s healthy.”
    I guess what I mean is that in terms of balance, I’m not as anal as I used to be. I used to think proper nutrition was black and white…have X amount protein, carbs, fat at each meal. And yes, maybe that’s still “proper,” but instead of stressing about it I just go with what I’m craving and know everything will equal out and the world will most likely keep turning 😉
    That said, you’re probably not too likely to see me having a lot of prepackaged or premade stuff on an almost daily basis, but I don’t believe if I did that it would kill me, either! I have time and enjoy making my own meals and treats; might as well take advantage of that while I can!
    Great post, Amanda 🙂 I enjoyed reading your thoughts – especially because we seem to be on a very similar page 🙂

  8. May 14, 2011 9:50 pm

    I agree!! I went to “boot camp” back in February and the instructor told me I should be eating only 1200 calories a day. She said this knowing I was starting to get into running. That is NOT healthy at all and luckily I was able to realize that.

    I don’t see her anymore.

    • May 15, 2011 3:15 pm

      Wow. I’m glad you stopped seeing her, because advice like that is just garbage. No one should be eating as little as 1200, especially if they’re exercising.

  9. May 14, 2011 10:12 pm

    I LOVE THIS! I agree with every single thing you said!!! It wasnt until i started EATING ENOUGH that I stopped holding onto fat around my stomach . I can relate to everything you said 100% too! PREACH IT

    • May 17, 2011 7:48 pm

      This was so good to read. I am working on breaking my restrictive habits and eating a lot more which brings up a lot of emotions and body image issues. I needed to hear this from someone to ensure myself that what I am doing is the right thing and with time I will not have my thoughts so clouded.

  10. May 14, 2011 10:49 pm

    i really enjoyed this post!! i honestly believe that our bodies are way more than just calculators of calories – that’s not how our bodies work!! and health doesn’t just revolve around calories / weight either. if you’re not getting enough nutrients/food, you suffer in so many ways – your skin, your organs, your muscles – and though those might not be things you can SEE, in the long term those are way more important! i honestly don’t believe in counting calories at all because i don’t think our BODIES count calories – and did our ancestors ever count calories? i highly doubt it!

    in terms of clean eating, i don’t think foods should be demonized at all because there are no good foods and bad foods. i guess the scale thing is nice but i think it’s more important to eat for both mental and physical satiety. health is more than just a physical thing – it’s a mental and emotional thing too!! there totally is value in eating things that are a “10” on the scale – maybe not for every meal everyday, but occasionally, its ok!! our bodies are flexible!!

    • May 15, 2011 3:16 pm

      Ahh! Love the point about our bodies not mechanical calorie counters. SO true. I definitely think we rely on our over-calculating brains more than we should. Our bodies are perfectly able to tell us what they need if we only shut up and listen.

  11. May 14, 2011 11:35 pm

    Well, I admit I still struggle with numbers and “unclean” foods, but I definitely go up to 2000 calories, even though my busy student lifestyle makes me sit all the time. Well, sit, stand and walk 😀
    Our bodies need fuel, not numbers. And they can very easily adapt to work great on even more then the magic 2000.
    Now, about the clean stuff. I have dessert every day, and granola bars, candys, sugary cerael, sugar loaded yogurts…. what can I say, I love those foods, and they make me happy. So why the hell should I sacrifice my mental health just to eat 100 % clean. No way 🙂

    • May 15, 2011 3:18 pm

      Sacrificing mental health definitely isn’t worth eating 100% clean. In fact, I think it’s healthier to allow ourselves to enjoy those foods rather than constantly telling ourselves “no”.

  12. czechvegan permalink
    May 15, 2011 12:13 am

    Hi, this is such a great post! I agree with you on all you´ve written. I don´t get it why people make such a thing of eating 2000 or more calories a day. And I don´t understand how someone is able to live of like 1200-1400 calories, it just doesn´t sound healthy to me and it doesn´t sound like fun either 🙂 I personally don´t count calories, I never felt like it was that important, I only try to eat healthy and get all the nutrients I need.
    Clean eating is a great thing, but there are days when you just don´t feel like being 100 % clean eater. When your body says: “Today I really need something carb-loaded, something sweet, something to make me feel comfortable on this weary day”, then I would say: “Go for it!”

  13. squigglefloey permalink
    May 15, 2011 12:47 am

    Love this post girl. I can’t stand blogs that make a huge deal about fried foods, desserts, and the like. Aren’t they a part of everyday life? Why do types of food have to be such a big deal…as long as we feel good, happy, and healthy overall. And if we don’t — then we need to find out what works for us.
    🙂 glad you’re back to blogging!

  14. May 15, 2011 4:03 am

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! Posts like this one make me feel like a normal human being. I am usually ashamed of posting pictures of my eats because they contain so many foods which will never classify for the “clean” category. In my opinion it is not normal to feel bad about this. I like what I eat and I shouldn’t care what other people think. It is just food. It makes me happy and I can eat it in spite of the fact that someone put it next to cyanide in the list of deadly poisons.

    To be honest, I have never been a fan of clean eating. I love my vegetables but I cannot resist a good cookie. Even when I was in a hardcore restricting mode, I would eat some greasy phyllo pastry breakfast filled with feta cheese without thinking twice and then just drink a cup of unsweetened green tea for lunch. I am still alive and I bet it’s not because of the healthy green tea 🙂 .

    As for calorie counting… I don’t want to swear on your blog so I will just say that those 1000 and something (or nothing) diets are extremely stupid. I was afraid that I had been eating way too much recently so I switched to salads for lunch and dinner for 2 days. I estimated my daily intake to be about 1500 kcal (salads are way better with Caesars dressing 😉 ) and for 2 days I lost 2 lbs. Oh, the miracles of working metabolism! Of course, on the third day my way home suddenly became longer and the hill through which I ride my bicycle became higher so, needless to say, I decided to forget about this crap and EAT. Cookies, rice crackers, ice cream – if my body wants them, I am perfectly fine with eating them.

    • May 15, 2011 3:21 pm

      Don’t be ashamed girl! Rock the foods you enjoy! There needs to be more people out there with the guts to show that they don’t live off of cottage cheese, egg whites, and broccoli…

  15. May 15, 2011 4:30 am

    Love this and I totally agree that both physical and mental health are important! ”Healthy” eating stops being healthy the moment you start obsessing over it. I like eating healthy and I try to have wholesome foods for the most part. However, I could never give up ”unhealthy” food altogether and honestly, I wouldn’t even want to. I like eating spontaneously (no calorie counting, no weighing food etc.). After all, nutrition shouldn’t be such a rocket science.

  16. May 15, 2011 4:37 am

    Amen! Amazing post, Amanda – I swear I agree with EVERY THING you have written.

    Sometimes I think Clean Eating is a lead in or cover up for Orthorexia. NO food should be labelled “good” or “bad”, it’s that mind set that gets people into serious trouble.

    I have a younger sister who’s fifteen and I’m seeing firsthand just how things in the media affect young girls minds. I’ve seen my sister and her friends choke down foods just because so-and-so said it’s going to help them lose weight and I’ve seen them avoid the stupidest things just because they’ve heard they are “bad for you”. I have burst into tears on numerous occaissons hearing my little sister demonise food and agonize over weight loss. She’s still (and always will be) my little sister and I do whatever I can to protect her – I don’t want her to be worrying about things like that when she has so much living to do!

    I’m currently trying to gain weight and it’s so ridiculous how much you always hear on losing weight! At first I felt alienated, like I was the only person in the world who needed to gain – but now I just ignore all of the media blabber.

    I believe food is meant for enjoying. Why choke down something you don’t like, just because it’s healthy? and why deny yourself your favourite food because someone labels it as “bad”. It’s all about balance! One of my favourite foods are carrots, but don’t you worry, chocolate tops the list too 😉 Oh and don’t forget peanut butter!

  17. Hedda permalink
    May 15, 2011 7:10 am

    I am quite opposed to these types of magazines, as they often portray a twisted perception of food, excercise, beauty etc . . . Now, it’s been a while since I last read Shape and similar magazines, but the impression they left me was not good. They kept up this propaganda where beauty and health are “standard sizes”, where being toned and eating the “right food” is equal to being beautiful, healthy, worthy and succesful.

    Who cares how many calories she consumes or what she eats? What difference does that make to my individual needs? To my life? None.
    I don’t calories, I focus on the feeling of being healthy and strong. Five years obsessing over calories is five years too many, I am well on my way to learning to listen to what my body is telling me and to honours these signals. Just as I did before I got sick.
    As with calorie counting, five years with rigid “clean” eating is also five too many. I probably belong to those who are not that interested in nutritional benefits of this and that, who don’t want to spend time thinking about what is the healthiest or cleanest. I am… well, I am probably more a french fries and pizza kind of girl. Ooops ED, there you have the truth. Through recovery I’ve discovered that my prefrences when it comes to food are not that different than they was before I got sick. Breaking free from anorexia would mean to be able to eat the food I used to love and still love without fear or guilt.

    There is so much judgement when it comes to how we eat which is all wrong to me. Your worth is not defined by your food options. Here in Norway people are almost looked down upon if they visit McDonalds. People don’t eat there because they are bad people or concious supporters of the global meat industry, they do it for complex reasons. Economy, preferences, time . . . But it has nothing to do with ones worth.

    Now, this comment turned into a mess ( a very critical mess too, haha! ), but I’m just a bit fed up by this obession with what other people eat, the standardization of beauty, excercise, life. . . Ah. Perhaps it’s just that passionate Hedda coming to life again 😛

  18. time for happiness permalink
    May 15, 2011 7:21 am

    I agree with this completley…and for me it really hits hard. I always thought I was the exception, that I would need 1200 for weight maintenance somehow because I was different. After treatment recently, after realizing that nothing happens to me, and after my happiness level has increased drastically, I can safely say that I eat well over that… and my maintenance was a little higher tha anticipated, hellllloooo over 3000 calories, but in my opinion its good. I am not afraid of the “10” foods as much as I used to be: i love pop tarts, muffins and cookies, but I also love peaches and strawberries, and I love dried fruit. There is a happy medium and I feel like people forget that sometimes. I loved this 🙂

  19. oatsandspice permalink
    May 15, 2011 7:30 am

    YUM! Your banana bread looks awesome – I bet it would also be good crumbled on top of some banana soft serve 🙂

    Have a good Sunday girly!

  20. Elizabeth permalink
    May 15, 2011 7:42 am

    Well I’m currently trying to lose weight right now but I do get your point 🙂 I just hope that I’ll be able to maintain my goal weight (if I even lose anything!) on the amazing food that you seem to make everyday :O

  21. May 15, 2011 8:19 am

    Honestly, hearing about her 2000 calorie a day diet is still upsetting to me. I mean, I eat 2000 calories a day when i DONT exercise. I’m sure she prob works out 1-2 hours a day. I suppose she is older then me but it still seems a bit low with all her muscle and working out she does. The other day I tallied my calories and it was around 2200 and i didnt even work out that day :p I’m at the point where I listen to my body whens its hungry and EAT! 2000 calories would honestly not be enough for me, it would be restriction. I know that sounds INSANE since I use to live off 1/5 of that and I couldnt even imagine eating 1200 calories but now 2000 seems like not quit enough! (when i am living an active life style). It pisses me off when I read about people running 8 miles a day and eating 2000 calories, I just dont think thats the amount they need. It doesnt make sense. This is one of the reason im trying to step away from the blog world, most people just dont seem to have normal relationships with food. Like everyone posts super tiny portions! I mean who gets full off of egg whites and salad?! What the hell…I just wish more people in the blog world would be a bit more balanced and have some fun foods every once and a while. I Honestly think 3/4 of the blog world is on the verge of orthorexia or they just dont know how to eat right when they are working out. It’s reallly frustrating to watch. So i just dont watch it anymore lol. I prob read like 2 blogs now and im super excited yours is back and im so glad you doing well amanda! Email me sometime so we can catch up a bit ( still the same email!


    • May 15, 2011 3:25 pm

      Honestly, I was a little surprised that she only ate 2000 calories too, but I decided not to be too picky about it. I was just happy it was 2000 instead of something ridiculous like 1500.

  22. May 15, 2011 8:49 am

    Ah Amanda, you’re back to your amazing posts – THANKYOU! Seriously. This issue has frustrated me for a long long time now. Back in my disordered days I was like you and restricted my diet to less than 1200 was crazy crazy low. Now I am frustrated at anyone who actually thinks that even 1200 is remotely healthy. I can’t even comprehend how I managed to live for so long on such a low amount and I couldn’t even imagine living on 1200 either. I eat way over 2500 calories and like you, I have energy, I’m happy, my metabolism is great and I feel ALIVE. And actually I can’t even count my calories anymore because I cook/bake things and it’s just impossible to count the calories – I prefer to create things according to flavor! Also..I have better things to do these days, it’s too much work counting every single little thing!!
    I see bloggers eating probably 1200 or so and exercising and it really upsets me. Eating egg white salads and bulking everything up with ‘a tonne of veggies’, having barely any carbs or dairy – just protein, fruit and veg. It’s just not healthy and they’re only denying themselves of things that deep down, they really really want to have. And in the long term, their health may pay for it in time when they may get osteoperosis and alsorts of other problems because they didn’t look after themselves.
    I’d say that bloggers also affected my eating. Because so many of them eat ‘clean’ it made me feel like to be healthy I had to eat like them. I denied myself of treats that I used to like and I realised this when I went home and my parents were like ‘but it used to be your favourite’ and ‘you used to love that’ and I thought to myself about how, yeah, I did really like them and it’s not like I died by having them so why can’t I have them now if I want them?! Just because some clean eating bloggers don’t have them I shouldn’t let them affect what I really like because afterall, the way that they live their lives is in the minority. If you look around at ‘normal’ everyday people, they don’t think twice about if something is ‘clean’. They’ll just eat it because it’s what they want! I really feel that some bloggers should look at the reality of everyday life and see the way that they eat is just not normal and if they actually let themselves have treats, they would probably be a lot happier..
    I admit that yeah, I still eat really healthily compared to the majority of everyday people (particularly being a student!). I love love love my fruit and veg. I eat a lot of wholegrains, dried fruit, peanut butter, I cook my meals from scratch rather than buying ready meals and I don’t eat fried food. But if I want a muffin I will damn right have my muffin because I love them!! I ‘m also not phased by sugar. I love love it – particularly sugary cereal and I don’t care if it’s supposed to be for kids. It is YUM. 🙂

    • May 15, 2011 3:27 pm

      I definitely think that there’s this little blogging world bubble that we live in, where we start to think that everyone eats clean whole foods, when actually, that’s not the case at all. It’s too easy to get caught up in it, though…

  23. Sarah permalink
    May 15, 2011 9:19 am

    I’m going to just be honest here…Jillian Michaels pisses me off. I used to watch the Biggest Loser obsessively when I was in my eating disorder and only allow myself to eat “clean” foods. I really feel like the Biggest Loser contributed to this. In interviews I have seen with Jillian she very clearly has foods categorized into “good” and “bad.” I just don’t think this is okay…at least it will never work for me. The second I begin to categorize my foods the restriction sets in and anorexia becomes more and more appealing. I suppose it’s good to hear she eats 2,000 calories per day but I agree with you, this isn’t an amazing feat! I hope with her level of activity 2,000 calories is the MINIMUM amount in her calorie range.
    Anywayssss…enough about Jillian! lol. I agree with absolutely everything you said. There is nothing wrong with enjoying a treat no matter how “clean” it is or not. Two years ago I restored my weight by increasing the amount of clean and safe foods that I ate. I relapsed inevitably because even at a healthy weight, my diet was incredibly restrictive. This time I am doing my best to incorporate what sounds good…while things like sugar and sodium do bother me, I’m trying my best not to let them stop me from tasting the foods I enjoy. It’s just not worth it! Life is way way WAY too short!
    I have dessert every night too and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’ve been eating pop tarts again, chocolate chips, and I even buy a pre-made fudge brownie parfait from a local bakery for my dessert on weekends. I’m sure all of these are highly processed but I’m still breathing! Whenever guilt sets in for enjoying these treats I think of my grandpa. He is 81 years old and eats ice cream with sauce every single night…sometimes going back for a second bowl! He is in great shape, doesn’t even take prescription medication for anything, and has literally had no medical problems. Enjoying what tastes good won’t kill us!! : )

    • May 15, 2011 3:28 pm

      I’m not her biggest fan either… I think I lost most of my respect for her when she said something along the lines of “bananas will make you gain weight”. Yeah okay. If that were the case, I’d be a whale because I eat at least 2 or 3 a day.

  24. May 15, 2011 10:30 am

    OMG so glad u wrote about this!! umm wtf.. 2000 cals is normal… for the average woman… why is that big deal? thats so annoying! i personally dont count cals.. i just listen to my hunger signals but i do know the rough range of ho wmany cals i nee to maintain after my dietician told me a while ago– so occansionally i do rough checks to make sure im getting enough! sometimes running can suppress my appetite so i gotta make sure im getting enuf!!

  25. May 15, 2011 11:02 am

    AWESOME post!!! I do think she is a GREAT example! I mean, Jillian looks STRONG not weak and overly-skinny, y’know? And yeah, 2000 cals should be NORMAL!! I eat quite a bit more than that, but I NEED it, and my body thanks me for it 🙂

    Oh, and your eats look AMAZING and I want you to be my personal chef!! 😀

  26. May 15, 2011 11:06 am

    Such a great post! I’ve lost 110 pounds and I don’t restrict (or count) my calories.I just eat well 90% of the time and allow myself indulgences the rest of the time. I love sweets and enjoy using things like coconut butter or oil, dark chocolates, nut butters, etc. – and to me, those are all wonderful for your body. Yes, the calories may be a little higher, but the nutritional content is stellar and I would much rather fill my body with nutrient dense calories than empty ones that may be fewer in number. I read this interview with Jillian and was also pleased with it. I think that is who she REALLY is – just frustrates me that she promotes diet pills and things like that to make money.

    • May 15, 2011 3:31 pm

      Wow! That’s an amazing accomplishment! Congratulations! And it’s so inspiring to hear that you did it in a healthy way! I wish more people would approach weight loss with that kind of mentality instead of starving themselves…

  27. May 15, 2011 11:07 am

    yup – definitely just bookmaked this post to refer back to when I’m feeling obsessive, restrictive, or just in need of some food porn (girl that pizza shot? phenomenal)

    admittedly so, I’m super anal when it comes to calories/macronutrients/etc. For the past few months I’ve been trying to gain weight on my own but it’s just perpetuated so many eating disorder behaviors in terms of counting and measuring and all of that ridiculousness. Sucksssss.

    Thus, why I’m starting treatment with a nutritionist tomorrow to work on those issues, but I digress…

    my ultimate goal though in life is to just approach food and eating with your mindset.. eat to nourish and honor my body rather than meet a specific numeric goal. Seriously, where do these numbers come from anyway?

    It sounds like you’ve overcome some serious demons that I continue to face on the daily. THANK YOU FOR BEING SUCH A DAMN INSPIRATION, LOVE!!! I am SO thrilled to have found your page and really feel a genuine connection for you. If you ever want to chit-chat, hit me up.. k?

    sending you all the love I have and more. HUGSSSSSS! xoxo

  28. May 15, 2011 11:09 am

    I’m definitely trying to eat cleaner, but I agree that finding the balance that’s right for your body is what is best! Each person is unique, and thus they each need different things to nourish their bodies in the way that’s best for them! 🙂

  29. runyogarepeat permalink
    May 15, 2011 11:13 am

    Awesome post! It always bugs me to see magazines give you workout plans, then tell you to eat 1400 calories a day. Yes, that may be okay for people trying to lose a lot of weight, but it won’t give people energy to do the workouts! I think it’s much safer to people to eat a higher calorie diet full of clean, delicious foods and workout, and people will be much happier this way! 2000 calories probably seems like a lot to most people, but if you workout a lot, you need that many (or more!).

  30. May 15, 2011 11:13 am

    AMEN about the 2,000 calories- it really is not some gargantuan number of calories to eat! I used to be obsessive about caloric content of foods- but now I definitely look at the nutritional value of the food as opposed to it’s energy density- for instance avocados/nut butters- high in calories but very good for you (and essential) and I have definitely found that I have far more energy and am overall more healthy when I focus on the health factor of the foods instead of low-calorie crap. Oh yes and I also eat a few 10s every once in a while- everything in moderation 😉

  31. May 15, 2011 11:38 am

    ah i just came across your blog post and i love love love it! I’ll definitely be subscribing. I can’t wait to read more from you!
    Yes I do count calories but I am on my way to stopping that. I hate it and I hate obsessing over it. I just want to eat WHATEVER i want and not think about calories. I do like to eat healthy.
    I do listen to my body when it needs food. I just may not supply it with enough.
    and i ALWAYS have treats. It’s my one thing I refuse to give up. but of course in moderation 🙂

  32. May 15, 2011 11:51 am

    Hi beautiful!!!

    Didi I tell you before how happy I am that you found my blog?! Well I do and Im glad we are bloggie friends now, I love making friends with a person I can relate to, and has same interests as me, it makes me enjoy their blog more and want to read!

    LOVE this post, I like how you keep it real, I live the same way, I keep it real ; )

    I just live each day to the fullest, I live life with a healthy balanced lifestyle, I believe everyone has and should have a different eating style that works for them, we are all unique ; ) I just honor my body and listen to it !

    Love ya girl!!!

  33. May 15, 2011 11:53 am

    Oh and I forgot to ask – what exactly is that in the last pic?

  34. May 15, 2011 12:00 pm

    Great post. I do count calories and its something I have been struggling to stop for the last 4 years or so. I no longer record them, but I haven’t been able to break the adding up the calories in my head just yet.I try to stay below a certain upper limit but lately I have tried to listen to what my body needs especially since I started exercising more.If I feel hungry then I am trying to listen that instead of saying well I can’t have anything else because it would put me over my calorie limit. Indulgences are something I am still struggling with, I feel extremely guilty if I indulge but I think depriving myself when I am really craving something is having a negative impact, especially when I think of all the amazing things I have missed out of, so finding the balance is something I am trying to work on.

    • May 15, 2011 4:11 pm

      Life’s too short to deprive yourself of treats! And you shouldn’t feel guilty for enjoying them at all, because everyone deserves to enjoy a treat every day. If a chocolate chip cookie can brighten up your day, then why say no?

  35. May 15, 2011 2:02 pm

    Hey 🙂 I used to quietly read your other blog, and it’s good to see you back.

    I clicked on the article, and honestly it left a bad feeling with me. Admittedly it’s been a while since I’ve read something like Shape, and I clicked through a few things and found it…well. I really like Hedda’s comment above^.

    I don’t know too much about Jillian directly, only bits and pieces that come up. I’ve never watched her, or looked into any of her plans/regimes, but even so I’m not sure I’m comfortable with her approaches.

    The article you linked to kind of came across as quite black and white and almost… sensationalist (?) to me; or at least as some form of ‘marketing’ the ‘perfection’ that apparently is Jillian. It all seems like a ploy.

    Whilst, on one hand, I do think it is a good thing that they highlight the fact she eats 2000 rather that 1200 calories, it also makes me worry that people (and active people) will read it and think “Crap! I eat more than that, I really need to cut back” when they really don’t. I realise that Jillian seems to have a lot of power, but I just hope that readers realise she’s also a business woman, and is not the gospel truth of how to be happy and healthy. (Can I just add how much that comment about her ‘single crater of cellulite’ on her arse p*ssed me of? Really?? Is that ‘confession’ meant to make her more relatable to?? *shakes head*)

    Personally, I do still struggle with calorie counting, but these days I’m also more open to giving my body what it needs/wants rather than what I *think* it needs. And yes, sometimes that involves biscuits (cookies: I’m British) for breakfast ;). I used to be quite strict with myself, and feared a lot of things, and while I do generally eat ‘clean’ – as that’s what my cravings gravitate towards (really, if you don’t give me vegetables I get cranky)- I don’t really see things as ‘indulgences’ or ‘treats’: they’re just food in another form, and there is plenty space for them to be incorporated :).

  36. May 15, 2011 2:16 pm

    Such a great post! I’m glad carrie tweeted it!! I definitely feel more energized and happier when I eat enough, not to mention healthier!

  37. May 15, 2011 3:42 pm

    I love this post! I think Jillian takes things to the extreme. One cupcake, one burger and fries, isn’t going to kill you. I follow the 90/10 rule. Eat nutrient dense foods 90% of the time and the rest fill up with what I want. Mental sanity means more to me than just looking good. One cookie isn’t going to make you fat. I do count calories but I don’t deprive myself, I eat more than 2000 calories that’s for sure 😉

  38. May 15, 2011 3:52 pm

    ahhhhhh-gree! 10s are essential for mental health here and there! How awful would it be to celebrate a bday with a best friend and REFUSE a cupcake! umm… ppl would probably be insulted and im sure the craptalking that would ensue behind my back would be worse than eating a cupcake and *gasp* actually enjoying it! haha 😉 totally understand where you’re coming from. and 2000 is pretty standard, but i’m actually not supposed to eat that many for my super short height and frame. *sigh* thank you genetics!

    great post girl!

  39. May 15, 2011 4:17 pm

    Food should not be labeled good or bad. I eat what I want! sometimes that’s involved veggie plates and sometimes that’s two big bowls of coconut milk ice cream. BIG deal.

    “OHMYGOD jillian michaels eats 2,000 calories a day!” That IS just stupid. My health teacher in school said “nobody should be eating over 2,500 calories.” and was like HUH? agh it’s just frustrating. Why society thinks it’s normal to eat 1,400 or 1,200 calories is good i will never understand.
    This is such a huge topic! Thanks for posting 🙂

  40. May 15, 2011 4:50 pm

    Ah man, the calorie intake vs. activity thing bums me out.
    Especially considering I’m recovering from a period of ‘deprivation’ [shall we say]. All I wanna do is test the waters & see how I’d feel if I upped my calories & maintained the same activity level, but I’m too scared to experiment with it at the moment.
    & you’re right, people don’t seem to take into account how the metabolism adjusts. They seem to think that just because they’re maintaining a weight, their intake must be healthy. Nu-uh.
    I’m hoping that some day soon I can amp up to 2000 & feel energised & more fulfilled 🙂 x

  41. May 15, 2011 5:39 pm

    how have i not read your blog before?! this post is so great and you’re spot on! after suffering from anorexia for the best part of ten years, i came to realise that you can actually eat to stay slim!

  42. May 15, 2011 6:11 pm

    I love 100% of this post. I am a fan of Jillian, but really. 2,000 calories a day? Give her a medal, ladies and gentlemen! Gag me. I’ve never counted calories, so I couldn’t even begin to guess where I fall on any certain day – but I DO know that some days I eat towards the 2 and 4 end on the Jillian Michael scale, but God knows I can swing to a 10 if I’m on my period and no force of man or nature could stand between me and Wendy’s. Moderation is key!!

  43. May 15, 2011 10:52 pm

    THIS is a fabulous post. 🙂 really really really. I think I’ve been eating more and I kind of was freaking out because I did gain some weight (which I did need to) but I realized I gained a LOT less than I thought and I’m still eating a fair amount… so apparently my body knows what it’s doing 😉 lol.

    I’m a little out of it (just tired) so I’m fairly incoherent but I LOVE THIS. 🙂 You are a rockstar!


  44. May 16, 2011 4:58 pm

    What a great post! Thank you for this. I just happened to stumble upon your blog today because we have some mutual bloggy friends. 🙂 I am so happy to have found you! As a first time reader, I couldn’t have picked a better post to read as an introduction to your blog. It’s really resonating with me. I don’t count calories, I listen to my body and I definitely indulge in plenty of treats. Thank you for the reminder that it’s ok and HEALTHY! You’re awesome 🙂

  45. Jasmine permalink
    May 16, 2011 8:38 pm

    ahhh thank you thank you thank you for this post.
    i’ve been eating “clean” for the past year now, always thinking about the foods, i “used to eat” and how i never indulge on anything like sweets or carby things anymore, but now i’m glad i read this to take the right approach to being healthy.
    i’m glad i’ve gotten the chance to be enlightened before i continued on this route!

  46. May 16, 2011 10:43 pm

    Our bodies need fuel!

    I’m trying to listen to my body more and give it what it craves. I think we crave things because our body needs them in some way, no matter what that might be!

  47. May 18, 2011 1:36 pm

    I totally agree with your opinion on clean eating. Eating, in my mind, shouldn’t be clean, it should be balanced. Ya, good food is good for us, but there are foods that are good for us mentally as well!

  48. May 18, 2011 4:04 pm

    Hi Amanda! love this post, I didn’t allow myself those treats that ranked a “10” on Jillian’s odd scale! Almost a year later, I’m just starting to allow myself to have those 10’s on the occasional basis. How do you not let these articles and all the media around losing weight get to you anymore? Still struggling through recovery…

  49. May 23, 2011 12:34 pm

    On a scale to 1 to 10, I’d give this post a 100 000 000 000 000 000!

    YOU, my dear, are officially my FAVORITE blogger. I love the effort you put behind all your post, and I agree completly with everything you say!

    Lol at your rely ”Do they think they deserve a medal for eating white bread or what??”. I think the exact same thing, when people talk about their half-assed recovery/challenges, like: ”I ate an unknown calorie meal made by mommy today!”, well aware that they barely ate 1200cals total.

    I used to be a blogger, and I admit I ate way more ”unclean” (is that a word?) foods than I showed on my blog, because I was a bit (ok, very) self-concious of what people might think of me.

    I stumbled across your blog via your old blog (used to be a reader), I’m glad I found you again :p

  50. May 24, 2011 3:38 pm

    Love, love, LOVE this post! I can’t express how much this post hits close to home and how awesome it is to see someone speaking up about it in the blogging community.
    As much as I love and adore healthy living/food blogs, reading them is sometimes a potential trigger for my old eating disorder ways because it seems like no one ever indulges or skips a beat with a workout. It would be disheartening to read posts like “Oh, I worked out for about 2 hours then didn’t have much of an appetite so I downed a small salad and some cottage cheese” on my personal rest days. Well, there go my warm-fuzzy feelings about giving my body a day off, and damn, did I really just eat twice what they did?
    Thankfully though, thinking like that is a thing of the past. I used to think eating over 1,200 calories was AWFUL and should never be allowed. Then I woke up. I learned about BMR’s and got into strength training. Now I happily eat well over 1,500 a day and I feel so much better. I have more energy, my skin is better, I feel stronger, etc.
    Now I only count calories to make sure I’m not eating too little for my activity levels of the day. And okay, maybe I do tend to shy away from certain foods like white breads or pasta, but not too an excessive point. I definitely still mack down on chocolate, almond butter, etc. — whatever my body’s craving. Balance is key. :]
    Anyway, this comment ended up being way longer than I intended! I really only wanted to comment and tell you how amazing it is that you brought this subject up and that I’m really glad you’re blogging again! I definitely missed your insightful posts during your hiatus.
    Looking forward to reading more great posts!

  51. June 23, 2011 9:13 am

    I really loved this post! I don’t count calories anymore, but I used to be a little too obsessive and convinced myself that 2,000 calories was all I needed for a day…and that just doesn’t work for a growing teenage girl who’s super active! I personally would eat absolutely any food on a scale of 10 (ben and jerrys, helllo!) but it doesn’t mean you have to overindulge everyday! Great post though for real, It really put things into perspective.

  52. Georgia permalink
    July 4, 2011 10:24 pm

    I am a bit late to join the party… but am backreading and had to say…
    THANKYOU THANKYOU THANKYOU. I relate to every word of this. I am reaching the next phase of my an recovery and it is involving an increase in my intake and reaching a new weight which is so uncomfortable and leads to that road with two paths… but it is thanks to amazing posts like this (and most of your blog tbh) that encourages me to just keep on going forward and not to think about retreating backwards. Thankyou. Hearing info like this from the mouth of someone who’s been there makes it so much more believable, you know?


  1. . solution? eat more food . « . running with spoons .
  2. . solution? eat more food .

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