What calorie counting has to do with saving the world.

 In *from my heart

I like chocolate.  And popcorn.  And I really enjoy mindlessly eating crunchy, salty things.  But in the last couple of years, my body has started to let me know that eating chocolate and popcorn and delicious crunchy things doesn’t feel quite so good afterwards.  In fact, it’s started to feel bad.  Which sucks, because eating chocolate, salty and crunchy things has been a favorite way to distract myself from my uncomfortable feelings, my fatigue, my loneliness, my anger.  And it feels like pulling out my spleen to throw that lovely crutch away.

Enter calorie counting.

When I enter my food into my cute little calorie counting app, lo and behold it tells me how many calories I’m actually taking in.  I can’t hide behind, “Well, the creamer in my coffee doesn’t really count,” or, “it’s not that big a piece of chocolate,” or, “just one more.”  In plain, neat little script, the Reality of my unnecessary consumption is looking me in the face.  And then I have those fun, confrontational moments when my brain wants to NOT enter a particular food into the app.  As if not entering it in there would mean that somehow I hadn’t just eaten a second loaf of banana chocolate chip goodness because I was feeling compulsive.

But, as odd as it might seem that calorie counting can be a battleground for truth-telling and Reality-checking, I muster my courage and face the truth, and log in those 242 calories.

Let’s be clear: I have nothing against eating chocolate, salty, crunchy things.  Pleasure is the spice of life.  I want to dive into this world and nourish myself with all of its caloric and salty delights.  But I want to do so because it’s a conscious choice –not because I’m in denial and running away from something else.

As human kind, we must practice staring the truth in the face.  And we must increase our resolve to do this when the truth feels icky.  Food is just a tangible, measureable practicing ground. But how many other places in our lives exist where we turn our eyes away?  Where we’d rather avert our gaze and avoid the vulnerability and the heartache of admitting that something is not what we want it to be?

  • Global warming
  • “I was just following orders.”
  • Factory Farming
  • Homelessness
  • Difficult relationships
  • Elephants in the room
  • Depletion of our oceans
  • Etc, etc, etc…

Calorie counting looks pretty mild compared to these glaring global trends, but the intrinsic issue is absolutely the same.  If I can be really, truly honest about what I’m putting in my body, I’m one step closer to being really, truly honest in the Reality of the world.  And we know when we’re avoiding it (don’t we?), which is amazing news!   Because when we get that little tickle, we can square our shoulders, take a breath, and make a different choice.

We have such capacity for transformation and change.  When we muster our courage to bravely face the truth as it is, then we truly change the world – one person at a time.  One honest moment at a time.

Even one calorie at a time.

 

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