Counting calories to lose weight in my world of weight loss is KING. I was able to lose MOST if not ALL of my weight by meticulously counting calories.
But, like all things there are some folks who are so negative about a good thing. They call counting calories to lose weight unsustainable, tedious, & unhealthy.
I count calories religiously and I will tell ANY weight loss hopeful to do the same.
But just to be on the fair side of things, we will spend some time talking about both negatives and positives. I think by the end of this you’ll be more inclined to begin the counting than not.
Of course “negative” sides exist, but I’ll show you why you should look past those and count TF out of your calories daily.
How Do I Count Calories?
I count calories like anybody else.
I look at the labels to determine the serving size. And If I am feeling particularly picky, I’ll scrutinize the macros too. Once I determine the serving size, I plug the info in the calorie app and bam I’m enjoying my meal.
This is how everybody counts their calories.
If apps aren’t your thing you can also jot them down in a notebook but you’ll need to know the specific calories of each item of food.
I Count Calories?
If you’ve been keeping up with my journey for a while then you know that I’ve been losing weight since losing weight been losing weight.
Did you catch that? I said, I’ve been losing weight, since losing weight, been losing weight. This means that I’ve been at this weight loss thing for a while now. I’m not a single or double digit–weight loserer (made complete sense to me).
When I start the journey, I usually have BIG triple digit numbers to lose. That means that once we start this journey, I’d better strap my seat belt on tight AF because we’ll be on this weight loss ride for a while.
Simply put, I count calories because, time is a-wasting.
Guessing the numbers & hoping and praying it all works out in the end–is a big time waster. I think that when you’re first starting out its advisable to start with just cutting back on problematic foods. Cutting back gets you into the swing of being without your faves without feeling completely deprived. A super-duper KEY to my weight loss.
But once you’ve moved past the first couple of weeks on the journey and those little Bambi legs are long and strong, it’s time to count them calories, boo.
This leads me to my very next point which is a clear example of how NOT counting calories wasted about 3 months of my time.
Counting Calories Fool
Proof’s The Journey
If weight loss is basically summed up into one very clear & widely accepted rule of creating caloric deficit, how do you know if you are in deficit if you are unaware of the calories in which you must deficit (on a roll with these made up word/analogies).
In my journey there was a point where I was not counting calories (the horror). I was doing everything right. A gallon of water was required drinking and I nailed it–daily. I ate completely clean, whole foods only. I had lots of protein, piles of vegetables on my plate but a month had gone by and I was down maybe 2 LBS.
I became extremely frustrated with my progress (or lack-thereof) that I almost gave up. Then I decided to really up the ante and count my calories. The very next month my weight loss hit almost 8 LB. That’s 3x’s the amount it was when I estimating alone. When I was 277 lb, I stopped eating ice cream and drank 2 gallons of water and saw a dramatic drop in weight. But as I continued to lose weight, those methods stopped being effective.
If I wanted to keep losing weight, I had to get a little more deliberate. There is nothing more deliberate and intentional when you want to lose weight than counting calories.
Counting calories is a deliberate action towards weight release.
Counting calories fool proof’s the journey by making it easier to stay within a range that facilitates or makes losing weight happen. There isn’t any guessing whether or not what you’ve been eating and how hard you’ve been exercising is working. Calorie counting–if you are strict, will get you there.
Counting Calories Is A
Stay On Track Incentive
There is no doubt in my mind that folks can lose weight by simply eyeballing their portions and reducing problematic foods. I’ve done this multiple times and at the very beginning this kind of “intuitive” eating is effective but will quickly become unsustainable.
Intuitive eating is like the hippie version of how to lose weight and like hippies, long term effectiveness can become a bit flaky.
I think of counting calories as an accountability partner.
Counting calories forces me to be aware of when I am coming close to my threshold and I absolutely cannot afford to “bite” or “taste” anything else other than what has been planned for the day.
In essence counting calories to lose weight makes it less likely to cheat on the journey. I am less inclined to cheat because I have a visual representation of my over-eating. Counting calories or even just having a basic idea of the calories in each meal gives me the cues I need to either STOP eating or increase the nutrient density in each meal to avoid hunger.
If I am not counting calories, I’m going to gain weight. When I am not counting my calories and keeping track of my intake, eating feels like a free-for-all and I begin to consume more than I normally would.
When you count calories, you are sending yourself signals about consumption that you normally wouldn’t had the accountability factor of counting your calories did not exist.
If you go beyond your caloric limit, that is an active choice and you’ll have to do a different set of work to resolve those issues. But, you can think of calorie counting as your accountability partner.
What Are The
Downsides To Calorie Counting?
There are downsides to EVERYTHING in life even my fave, counting calories. The good part? There aren’t many, just about 3 universal negative arguments against counting calories.
I’m a libra and we are the FAIRest of them all, so we’ll dig into some downsides & how to overcome them.
Downside 1: Counting Calories
Can Mentally Deter You
If you aren’t deep into the journey, you may not know how your body functions with different macros & various times of the month.
For example, there are some days where my calories are 100%. But, maybe my sodium level increased. The next morning when I weigh myself the scale can either not budge or become inflated. For the new weight loserer–this is disappointing. Disappointment can lead to a backslide.
If you weigh yourself as frequently as I do (daily) then the possibility for discouragement is HIGH HIGH HIGH especially in the beginning.
Once you’ve learned what works for your body, such as what stalls the scale then you can take the disappointment and turn it into sheer motivation to do better.
The greatest part about counting calories is you have a set of data that will continuously give you insight to your progress. The data you collect will make it easier to make changes as you progress in the journey. BUT, nothing motivates me more than reading the data & seeing that I had been sort-of-kind-of staying compliant & the seeing sort-of-kind-of results reflected on the scale.
I became invigorated & ready to buckle down & commit fully to the journey. It never fails but this kind of mind trick takes time to develop.
Downside 2: Counting
Calories Is Tiresome
This is probably the biggest push back anti-calorie counters folks will argue. But it’s on deaf ears for one simple ass reason. Counting calories is only tiresome if your goals are dependent on time rather than progress at any rate. A super duper key to my weight loss has been knowing that it will take some time. If overnight success is your goal you’re not very steady in your process.
Weight loss takes time & requires an enormous amount of effort. Counting calories is both of those things. Keto is hard. We eat hoards of carbohydrates daily & cutting back is extremely challenging but science shows that you’ll see results rapidly with Keto hence it’s huge following despite in effectiveness long term. You can’t do Keto for the rest of your life but you can learn how to control portions, serving sizes & re-direct “hunger.”
Truth is, taking the time to count those calories is a minor inconvenience at most.
My final thought on the idea that counting calories is tiresome, it’s either I know where I stand each day with my weight loss efforts, or I waste time guessing & hoping that my quick and easy guesstimates result in weight loss.
Losing weight is a series of choices.
All of it will feel hard at the very beginning but it’s those of us that continue to move past discomfort that make it to their goals.
Downside 3: Counting
Calories Is Not Sustainable
Counting calories is probably the most natural way to lose weight. You gained the weight by not being cognizant of the intake of problematic foods in the first place. Shouldn’t the first line of defense be to reverse that action?
I’ve been counting calories for almost 2 years. Counting calories is not the most tedious task a person can take on. I eat most of the same things each week during the journey. This makes it kind of sort of easy to plug in my meals as my food is being prepared/cooked.
When you’ve been doing it for a while, it’s not something that feels like a chore it becomes as natural as breathing.
Counting calories is very sustainable for long periods of time because it teaches you about self control.
Fad diets like keto result in quick losses but once you begin to eat higher amounts of carbohydrates your efforts are reversed and weight is regained.
Counting your calories can be as little as reducing 500 calories per day.
You can’t reduce if you don’t know where you start–therefore counting your calories even just to get an idea of how much you consume regularly is absolutely required.
There isn’t one right way to health and fitness. As long as you aren’t harming yourself to lose weight, it’s ok to find what works for you. You’ll have to experiment with whatever works to get to YOUR after.
Whatever you decide, let me know in the comments!