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You can't turn back time but if I could "unknow" anything about health, it would be this. The other day as I was finishing up a sweaty workout, I found myself laying on the sticky mat wondering how many calories I had burned.

This thought – the calorie thought– doesn’t happen all that frequently in my life anymore, but moments like these when calorie counts, numbers and metrics for weight do popup remind me that even though I’ve made strides to eliminate them, they still exist below the surface.

My brain unearths them, like a worm foraging below the ground. It swirls it around for a while before dropping it for a better, heartier thought. One that doesn’t see my body as an object to be measured.

But the reality is that even though I know better, the thoughts still exist. As much as I wish I could “unknow” the concept of calories, it’s almost impossible to remove this lesson from my mind. It’s one that will live with me forever and my only option, the better option, is to accept and let go.

I don’t have any regrets about my life or my experiences. Everything I’ve been through has made me who I am. And from these experiences has emerged someone who I hope can lead you by example. But there are still lessons, especially those surrounding health that I wish I hadn’t learned. Lessons that I wish I could erase from my memory.

I wish I could unknow what a calorie represented.

I wish I could unknow how many grams of fat we’re “supposed” to have per day.

I wish I could unknow the fastest way to burn calories.

I wish I could unknow which greens are “best” for you.

I wish I could unknow the carb count in bread.

I wish I could go back to the days when the decisions we made for our health were based solely on how things made us feel and not how they made us look.

But I can’t turn back time. Nor do I want to. All I can do is remember that these thoughts don’t have to control my actions. And they don’t have to control yours either.

That sweaty workout felt amazing. So did it really matter how many calories I burned? Of course not. What mattered most was that I didn’t allow the results of my workout to determine what came next. I didn’t indulge because I burned a ton of calories and I didn’t restrict because it didn’t. I just did what felt right as each next step presented itself. Even if the calorie thought crossed my mind.

My advice to you?

Take it day by day. Thought by thought. Listen. And then listen again. Sometimes our initial thoughts aren’t our best thoughts.

You can’t unknow it all, but you can choose what to listen to.

You can't turn back time but if I could "unknow" anything about health, it would be this.

*huge thanks to Bettina Bogar (my actual photography hero!) for the images.

What do you wish you could “unknow” about health?


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Meet the Maven

Hi! I'm Davida and welcome to my corner of the internet. I'm a wellness blogger, yoga teacher, certified herbalist, and green beauty lover.

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  1. Ahhh I bloody love this post! I have had thoughts like that where I wish I could un-know stuff. However I am totally with you, what we actually need to do is just decide which thoughts we are going to listen too. We don’t have to abide by any rules or anything that makes us feel crappy 🙂 How we FEEEEEL is what is important 🙂

  2. Such a great post! So much of this rings true. Even as a holistic nutritionist I’ll get these moments where I hesitate before adding coconut oil or grass fed butter to a meal. Or if I’m feeling unattractive that day, I briefly think about skipping breakfast and saving calories. Of course I ignore these fleeting thoughts, but they definitely still show up years later!

    1. I know those feelings so well! I totally had that thought yesterday when I didn’t measure how much oil I was adding to the pan. That was followed by it “I don’t give AF” thoughts immediately afterwards but crazy that they still exist!

  3. Wow… friend. There are so many of these things I wish I could unknow too, but the way that you encourage us to listen and to take it one day at a time is super encouraging especially in the battle for recovery in my life. <3 Thank you!

    1. Thank you, Emily! I’m so happy my journey was able to resonate with you. Know you are not alone!

  4. I couldn’t agree more. I wish I could unknow how many carbs, fiber, sodium, sugar, etc. that I should/should not be consuming daily and just be. Unconsciously knowing all these things in the back of my mind, has taken all the pleasure out of eating and just puts more stress on myself and that is really no way to live. Thank you for this post today.

    1. I completely understand where you’re coming from. What helps me is remembering that all these metrics were calculated based on an average and I like to think of myself as more than average haha 😉 But really, there is nothing valuable in those numbers unless you have a serious medical condition. Otherwise, eat what feels great and eat less of what doesn’t! And give it time, it’s still hard for me but it’s gotten much easier to drop this stuff with time!

  5. So needed to hear this today. I am just under a year out of the hospital/treatment for anorexia/exercise addiction – I am officially now weight stable at a “healthy weight” (according to my nutritionist). I struggle so hard and everyday feels impossible, I count calories in everything and can’t eat anything I don’t know the nutritional value of (I especially can’t eat out or eat home made foods from friends). I constantly think about how many calories I’m burning and never feel like I’m doing enough when it comes to exercise. This gives me hope that one day things can get better or easier or at least moments of peace from it all.

    Two other specific pieces of advice I was given that I wish I could forget are: 1- Never drink your calories and 2- Eat less on rest days (ties into needing to exercise to earn food or restricting because I didn’t work out hard enough)

    1. Candace! I’m here to chat if you ever need someone who totally understands where you’re coming from. Just shoot me an email.

      The real turning point for me was when I looked back on all of the supposed “healthy” choices I was making and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why I was doing them. I claimed because they made me feel good or to live a long life but I knew I was just making myself feel shittier and the stress I was putting myself under was probably going to take years off my life. My decisions were just manipulations to try to control everything I felt was uncontrollable. I wrote this post a couple of years ago and it still feels really near and dear to my heart. I think it may resonate with you:

      Sending you lots of well wishes and healing vibes! xoxo

  6. It’s so interesting you bring this up! Because now that I think of it I haven’t thought of that in so, so long. I think part of it is because I just don’t really care anymore – and honestly with running so much, and eating enough to fuel marathon training I just find it pointless! Haha. I know what it feels like now to under-eat and in the past I actually tracked calories to see if I was eating enough to compensate for running. Sure, I’d like to have a flatter tummy… but usually that feeling doesn’t last for long.

    1. And I think we all have those days. It’s our experiences that help pull us out of them thankfully! You’re a huge inspiration to me on moving and challenging your body in a way that feels awesome, not some form of punishment. Thanks for being you and sharing your journey!