I recently downloaded a well-known weight loss app and after filling in all the information I was given a maximum of 1300 calories per day. This was somewhat frightening to me because I’m used to consuming 1300 calories per meal. It’s not that I was stuffing my face all day with junk food; I was eating healthy foods the majority of the time, but I would mess up by way of portion distortion.
1300 calories per day might not sound like a lot of food, but it is enough food for a female who isn’t engaged in physically demanding activities such as cycling, long distance running, or other intense sports.
With the exception of a few hunger filled days, I have failed to stay within 1300 calories a day. I’ve been averaging around 1700 and this is probably because I can’t stand being hungry. Waking up at night to the sound of my stomach grumbling is not worth the sleep disturbance and so I haven’t been too hard on myself for not staying within the calorie limit.
I was at a BBQ this past weekend where a woman from a different country reminded those at the table that there were many people in the world who remained healthy while living on 1300 calories a day. She reminded us that as North Americans we often over eat and habitually consume meals that are not nutrient dense.
After thinking about what she had to say, I realized that my struggle with beginning a low calorie program was more about my false sense of deprivation. I kept focusing on how much I couldn’t eat instead of being happy with what I could eat.
I wouldn’t recommend that anyone do a 1300 calorie a day program unless they needed to. What I’m doing is only for a short period of time and the calories will slowly be increased as my fitness level and weight changes. What I do recommend is taking time to engage in self-reflection about how you view food. What is it about eating the foods that God has naturally provided for us that make people feel like we’re being denied something better? Is it really a loss if we can’t or don’t eat a donut instead of a sweet carrot? If we have meat available from grass-fed cows that have consumed natural forage materials, why do people still opt for highly processed hamburger patties from fast food establishments? In a world where water is scarce for millions of people, why do we scoff at drinking water, especially from a tap?
Learning to be satisfied with eating only what your body needs is difficult for us as North Americans, but it can be done. It doesn’t necessarily mean having to enforce a caloric limit for yourself, it simply means being more realistic and thankful for the abundance of food you have. It also means remembering to be thankful to God for what He has provided for us, straight from the earth for food consumption.