Should We Seriously Be Counting Calories?

Should We Seriously Be Counting Calories?

Counting calories and weight loss seemed to go hand-in-hand for the longest time. Sure, it’s effective during the beginning of a weight loss journey as a short-term fix. 

Counting calories any time during a weight loss journey isn’t such a bad idea. However, it’s unrealistic to try and fit it in 365-days a year, every time we eat. 

If you think about it, it doesn’t necessarily support a balanced lifestyle; instead, it contributes to stress levels, confusion, and guilt, causing unnecessary frustration. It tends to be one of the top 10 reasons people give up on their fitness goals.

Maybe we should let go of calorie counting as one of the primary elements of reaching our fitness goals. Forming healthy eating habits can produce results, and the benefits are long-term.

 Top 3 Reasons To Skip Counting Calories For Weight Loss

  • Overlooking Nutritional Value: Shopping can be a task all on its own, especially if you’re shopping for a group of people. When we focus on calorie counting, we tend to look over the nutritional information because… who wants to spend two hours shopping for dinner. We must be mindful of our food choices; here’s an example of why. For instance, 75 calories from a sugary highly-processed snack will not provide nearly as many nutrients as 75 calories from a chicken salad. (Those numbers are made up for the example)

  • Can Cause People To Ignore Their Body and Needs: Our body sends signals to tell us what we need specific to our system, make-up, and condition. Our hunger and satiety signals tell us what we need to function at our best. It could be it needs more food for fuel, it’s running low, or you’ve overfilled the tank. There might be times our body needs a bit more calories than usual. Suppose we’ve been working out an extra day a week; counting 2,000 calories isn’t going to be nearly enough to replace and resupply our energy bank.

  • It isn’t Practical For Daily Life: We aren’t always in eating situations or settings where tracking every calorie we consume is possible. Work breaks can get cut short, lunch with friends leads to no nutritional info available, and it doesn’t seem like a feasible solution. In fact, it seems more like unnecessary stress and aggravation. 

  • Counting calories regularly can lead to eating disorders. It doesn’t necessarily solve underlying problems that may be making it difficult to maintain your weight. 

    Putting so much focus and concentration takes away from the experience and pleasure of the “food experience.” Eating isn’t meant to be shoveling food into our face because of a time constraint like lunch break for school or work. Military personnel are given a limited time to eat as they prepare for potential emergency situations.

    We are meant to have a whole experience that tantalizes our five senses.

    What does the food or dish look like? What colors pop out at you? Are they dull or bright?

    What can you smell? Can you pick out the various spices, herbs, and ingredients?

    What does the texture feel like in your mouth? If it’s something you eat with your hands, what does that feel like?

    Does it taste good? What flavors can you describe?

    Is it crunchy? Can you hear the crisp lettuce or the sizzle of the sauce?

    How is counting calories beneficial?

    If a person is on a calorie-specific diet for health or weight-loss reasons, it makes sense to count calories. At the beginning of our fitness journey, it is helpful to count calories to lose any extra weight before we start toning up.

    Those are two of the main ways counting calories is beneficial.


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