Calorie counting is one of the first tools people often use to control their weight. This method comes from the calories in versus calories out idea, meaning if you eat more calories than you burn, you will gain and if you eat less calories than you burn, you will lose weight.
While there is some truth to that, there are actually other factors that contribute to what someone weighs other than how many calories they eat. For example. often times individuals who diet down and restrict calories can eventually stop losing weight while still eating very little. “WAIT, HOLD THE PHONE. I THOUGHT IF YOU EAT LESS YOU LOSE WEIGHT?”
Metabolic rate, hormones, genetics, age, stress can all have an impact on body composition and weight. And some of those factors can be majorly impacted by the way we choose to fuel or body (or not).
In today’s blog post I will be discussing whether or not counting calories is worth the time and energy.
I am going to first start this post off by saying that everyone has individualized health concerns, needs, and goals and that you need to do what is best for you. This post is intended to provide truth to the conversation of dieting that is not often talked about in the health and wellness space.
So let’s dive into what they don’t tell you about counting calories….
Calorie Counting Can Be Obsessive
People start counting calories with the intention that it will provide them with an idea of how much they are eating in a day. People solely use this as a method for losing weight or out of the fear of gaining weight (I have yet to meet someone who just loves to count calories for no apparent reason). Calorie counting may seem like a harmless habit, but can really form a disordered relationship with food over time. If you cannot stop thinking about food all day, are finding yourself “saving up” calories, feel guilty, ashamed, or worthless after eating over your allotted calories for the day, it is definitely worth asking yourself if this is something you need to be doing.
Calorie Counting Is Not Really Accurate
Yep. Hate to be a party pooper here but calorie counts on food are not exactly accurate. Food labels can actually vary in calories, fat, carbohydrates, protein, and even ingredients from what is listed on the package. This is even more true when it comes to whole foods such as meats, vegetables and fruits. Nutrient content is widely variable. Kind of seems like a waste of time when it is never exactly perfect right?
Calorie Counting Is Time Consuming
When you are super busy calculating what you can and cannot eat, it takes a lot of time out of your day that could have been spent doing other things! Imagine being able to eat your mom’s famous spaghetti dinner without having to weigh it. Or going out to eat without spending time on MyFitnessPal. Yeah, we don’t realize how much we spend doing it until we no longer are weighed down by tracking.
Calorie Counting Is Not Synonymous To Intuitive Eating
When you rely on an external source to tell you how much you can eat, it takes away from your body’s natural intuitive signals. It also takes you further away from being able to identify what foods you actually enjoy because it is rooted in fear. While some people may be able to count calories on occasion and not have it impact their relationship with food, it is almost never the case. Most of the clients I work with have a history of tracking their food in some way and came to me trying to remove the mental calculations in their head.
Lastly, You CAN learn how to fuel your body well and discover what is right for you without needing to count a single calorie. If you are struggling with your relationship with food and need someone to guide you into booming an Intuitive Eater, apply to my 1:1 Food Freedom Mentorship Program.