The other day – I looked at my phone and saw that I had an email from MyFitnessPal. Not sure why I’m still subscribed to those emails because I never open them, BUT – the subject of this one was “Happy 4 year anniversary!”
I opened it up and read… “Now’s a good time to reflect on what motivated you to join MyFitnessPal 4 years ago and all that you’ve accomplished since then.”
And then my heart kind of sank a lil as I really thought about it.
4 years ago, what motivated me to join?
What motivated me was control – knowing every last calorie that was going into my body, making damn sure that I stayed under a certain amount.
What motivated me was numbers – looking up calories, carbs, serving sizes, in every little piece of food, double checking that I had “enough calories left” whenever I went to eat.
What motivated me was the desire be stick thin. The desire to be the smallest version of myself.
What motivated me was my eating disorder that took over my life for much longer than I’d like to admit.
I’ve shared a lot about my struggles – but I’ve never actually told anyone about my macro counting phase.
When I first got My Fitness Pal – I didn’t track anything. I just used it to look up calories of certain foods to see if I could “allow” myself to eat it. Or to calculate the calories of a meal or recipe that I was making. But once I learned about the world of IIFYM (if it fits your macros) I began religiously calculating every little thing that I was eating.
[If you’re unfamiliar with MyFitnessPal – basically, you put in your weight, height, activity level, and goal weight, and it calculates your daily caloric allowance. It also breaks it up into macros – meaning how many grams of protein, fat, and carbs you should be eating]
After plugging in my info and calculating my numbers, I became obsessed. I was already underweight, but still set my goal as weight loss. I learned how many calories I should be eating to reach that goal – and used MyFitnessPal to make sure that I stayed far under that number.
My meals were based around what I could “fit in” that day. Every night before I went to bed, I would plan the next day of eating. If I went too close to my caloric goal – I had to figure out which food to remove that day. Too many carbs? Should I remove the asparagus so I can fit in an apple? Should I take away the fruit from breakfast so I can eat some veggies at lunch?
^Seriously that’s how my thought process went. I was still eating healthy but if veggies or fruit pushed my too close to my daily carb allowance, I wouldn’t allow myself to eat them. WTF?! Messed up, I know.
Some days I’d be starving but wouldn’t allow myself to eat anything more because I’d get too close to my daily allowance. All that I could ever think about was food. My whole life revolved around it. I weighed every little thing on a food scale – even things that came with a wrapper clearly displaying the calories, because I had to make sure it was right. I had to know the exact calculations of everything going into my body.
I counted macros for about 8 months, until I had reached my breaking point. I was on vacation with my family. I saw everyone eating. Just simply eating. Not plugging every bite into some stupid online calculator to make sure they were “allowed” to have it. And I realized that I wanted to be able to live that way too. Nobody even knew that I was counting macros. I never told anybody because I was afraid that I would be forced to stop. I thought it was healthy for me. I thought I was doing the right thing. Because eating less, working out more, weighing as little as possible – that’s healthy, right??! So I thought..
I stopped counting macros right then and there on that family vacation. I stopped plugging every last calorie into an app and stopped weighing my food on a scale. But I still kept the app on my phone.. “just in case”.
And every so often – I used it. I used it to calculate nutritional values for recipes that I wanted to make and if the recipe was too high in calories, I wouldn’t make it. I used it as a safety net – not logging my whole day of food but once in a while checking in to make sure I wasn’t eating too high calorie.
I’ve come close to deleting the app several times – but I never could bring myself to do it. Even though I haven’t used it in forever, I’ve just kept it there.
But today, Sunday August 12th, I broke up with MyFitnessPal – forever. Unsubscribed from the emails. Deleted the app off of my phone. And i’m never going back.
So that brings me to the second part of the reflection : “Now’s a good time to reflect on what motivated you to join MyFitnessPal 4 years ago and all that you’ve accomplished since then.” What have I accomplished since then?
Hmm.. Let’s think.
I’m no longer a slave to numbers.
My days no longer revolve around food.
I don’t have to check an app to make sure I can “fit in” an extra serving of veggies.
I can listen to my body and eat whenever I’m hungry.
I’m no longer fixated on becoming the smallest version of myself.
I workout because it makes me feel good.
I’m no longer a shell of a person who’s obsessed with food, calories, weight.
I’ve found happiness – and I think that’s the best damn accomplishment of all.
I share this to say to anyone who is going through something similar –
YOU ARE MORE THAN A NUMBER! Calories do not define you. Weight does not define you. Hours spent in the gym do not define you.
You don’t have to be a slave to an app that tell you how much you are “allowed” to eat. YOU CAN EAT HOWEVER MUCH YOU FREAKING WANT!
There’s more to life than that. There’s more to life than manipulating your food intake in order to become the smallest version of yourself.
There’s more to life than skipping on your second serving of veggies because you’ve already hit your macros for the day.
You don’t have to life like that. You can break free. I did – and it’s the best damn feeling.
*I’m not saying that MyFitnessPal is bad. I know that it can be very useful to some people. I know that it’s a helpful tool to learn more about your body and how it operates best. But for other people – it leads to obsession and takes over their every moment.*
As for me – It was a toxic relationship.
So, GOODBYE MyFitnessPal- forever. We had a nice run, but I’ve claimed my life back. AND DAMN I FEEL GOOOD!