5 Reasons I won’t count calories

I’ve got my share of fat left to shed, but no intention of starting to count calories. It is not that I do not like charts etc. I do. I love charts and graphs. I just don’t see why I should track calories.

I know, I know. It is basic science. Calories in < calories out = weight loss! If you’d like to lose weight, you’ve got to count your calories. But…

  1. Knowing the exact number of calories you consume does you little good unless you have a very good idea of how many calories you are burning. Using some chart or calculator does not give you a very good idea. If all you have is a rough idea of what you’re burning, then there is little reason to know the exact numbers for what you are consuming. Unless you are using a bodybugg or equivalent all of the time, you are missing half of what you need to do the “calories in vs. calories out” math.

  2. Counting calories gives you a false sense of control over your weight. While it is certain that gorging myself isn’t healthy, it is not certain that eating exactly 3,500 fewer calories a week will result in losing one pound of fat. I have seen several friends endlessly frustrated with their inability to lose exactly the amount of weight they thought  they would. Some reassure themselves that they are just gaining muscle, but none benefited from expecting to control their results with extreme accuracy. It just does not work that way in real life.

  3. Closely related to #2, Calories lie. It really does matter what one eats. Incorporating green smoothies into my day results in weight loss, even if I don’t take anything else out of my diet. Green smoothies make me feel good. When I feel good, I naturally burn more calories. People differ in their feel-good foods (and I’m talking about the foods that make your body say “yes!” not comfort foods) but regardless of whether it is protein or a piece of fruit, the calories in your feel-good food do not mean the same thing as the calories in that other nutritious food that makes you want to sleep!

  4. Counting calories can foster stupid food choices. I am not talking about people choosing a pile of marshmallows over carrot sticks because they contain the same amount of calories. While that may be an issue for some, most people know that they have to eat their carrots and that marshmallows just won’t cut it. The real problem is how people decide what to eat over time. When it is time to eat many people will ignore a fresh orange because it has too many calories to make it worth the nutrients (why not just add some yellow peppers to one’s salad?). But then they will later eat the orange jello because it tastes soooo good and the treat is “worth it”. It is not that they would look at the orange and the jello and choose the jello over the orange, but it is what happens over the course of a week.

  5. Counting calories can lead to overeating. This is not an issue for those severely restricting their calorie intake, but if you’re just trying to be healthy and eat you “ideal” number of calories to lose a pound or two a week, it can be a big problem. If you don’t need food, you should not eat it. It does not matter that you have 75 calories left for your day. It does not matter that you were “really good” the past few days and imagine that you’ve earned a “calorie defecit”. If you do not need food, you should not eat. It is that simple, but somehow counting calories makes people forget that they should only eat what they need. Your stomach will thank you for leaving that last glass of milk in the fridge when you are already full from lunch.
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5 thoughts on “5 Reasons I won’t count calories

  1. Elizabeth


    Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment.

    I don’t count calories, either. I try to eat healthy foods in moderation, coupled with moderate exercise and stretching. I’m not as skinny as I use to be, but I’m going for healthy now, not ultra-thin.

    I thought that was cute in your profile when you said you couldn’t be converted, but people could try if they want. Funny. I have a number of Catholic friends in Blogdom. They set a really good example of their faith.

    How did you find my blog?

    Have a great day!

  2. Taryn

    I used to count calories in high school- and I lost a ton of weight (although as I look back on it, I think it had more to do with the fact that I was finally off the medically prescribed steroids than the calorie counting.) I agree with you about point 5 especially- It is hard, but I am trying to just eat when I am hungry. What a concept! = )

  3. healthybecause

    I think some people let counting calories take over their life… We should be conscious but not obsessed. It’s good to be aware how many calories things are, but to tally every little thing is a bit excessive. I feel like I’m on the outskirts of calorie counting, if that makes sense :) Most of it is just making smart choices, and not overeating.

  4. Kelly @ Startup Wife

    I totally agree. I tried it once in high school and vowed to never go back. Despite how scientific it’s supposed to be, I’ve known so many people for whom it just didn’t work!

    I’m totally with you on just trying to be healthy.

  5. Marc Cardaronella

    You know, this may be a guy thing…but it works. It is really hard though…but it works. And, it can become a bit obsessive. Did I mention it works? But hey, different strokes. It helps to have something that calculates it automatically. Livestrong.com is the best I’ve ever used. They have an iPhone app that interacts with your web account too.

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