Counting calories is a time-consuming, soul-sucking practise that’s actually a lesson in futility, as far as I’m concerned. Yet people continue to do it. They pull out their calorie-tracking apps and plug-in whatever foods they’ve eaten, feeling guilty when they go over their “recommended” calorie amounts, then running to the gym to try to undo it all.
MYTH : The idea that monitoring all your calories is key for ”weight loss” is a popular one.
Let me tell you weight loss is about so much more than calories. It encompasses exercise, how you sleep, how stressed you are, and health issues that you may not be able to control, like hormonal changes. That’s why, if losing weight is your goal, it’s important to acknowledge how individual a process it is and figure out how to do it in a way that’s healthy for you.
9 Reasons to Stop Counting Calories
1)Labels Usually Lie
Seriously. Labelling laws allow a 20% margin of error on the nutrition facts panel. That means your 100-calorie snack pack could be 119 calories. Or that 500 calorie Internet dinner could be nearly 600 calories.
2)Nutrients in Food Change with Time
There is no way food companies or the USDA could have the nutrient analysis of every variety of food from every region from every season from different growing conditions (i.e organic vs. conventional) and every other variable for nutrients, including calories.
That super-sweet summer fruit likely has more calories (and valuable nutrients) than that tasteless, pick one from the dead of winter. Which one would you rather eat?
3)More Calories Result in Weight Gain is a Myth
Trouble is, when you focus on calories, you’re likely to eat less fat (since fat is more calorie-dense than carbohydrate and protein). And when you eat less fat, you’re likely to eat more carbohydrates. See the problem?
4)Low calorie does NOT equal healthier
Let’s take an avocado for example, it’s higher in calories but a nutrient power house with filling fats, fiber and vitamins. If you’re on a low cal diet, this food may be a no-go. Also, higher calorie fat foods are essential for our health. Without fats, our hormones don’t function optimally which can lead to loss of menstrual cycle, irregular temperature regulation and decreased immune function.
5)How You Absorb Your Food Matters
Everything from how your food is processed to how much fiber it contains determines how many calories you’re absorbing from it. Even the bacteria in your gut may play a part in how you digest food and how many calories you derive from it. For example, you’ll absorb more calories peanut butter versus whole peanuts. Due to size differences, one sweet potato varies in calories from another before you even take it off the shelf at the store.
Calories absorbed is a complex business that’s light years beyond any calorie-counting app on the market.
6)It Overrides Your Natural Huger Cues
When you base your food intake on calories, you’re not letting your body have the chance to tell you how much it needs, because you’re completely overlooking your natural hunger and fullness signals. The more you calorie count, the further you move away from these natural cues you’re born with.
Trust your body, because it knows what it needs a lot more than some random number or tracker
7)Eating less and exercising more is a myth.
Nope. Your body doesn’t burn off food calorie-for-calorie like that.
Studies have shown that eating less and exercising more doesn’t work long term, which makes sense if you think about it. By restricting calories, we are telling our bodies food is not available, which then slows our metabolism WAYYYY down. No matter how many hours we spend on the elliptical, that won’t change. And, when it comes to working out, more isn’t better either, as you can burn out your adrenals. ,Try alternating between HIIT, yoga, weights and walking.
8)Counting calories ruins your relationship with food
Restriction leads to feelings of deprivation, which leads to feelings of desperation, which leads to binges or obsessive thoughts or cravings, which leads to feelings of guilt or shame, followed by more restriction and over and over. This is completely normal and not caused by a lack of self-control or willpower — it’s because your body is sensing that restriction.
9)Not eating enough calories will harm your health
Let’s talk about what happens if you count them such that you eat an extremely low-calorie diet. Your mood can change (hangry is a word for a reason!), your energy and sex drive will plummet, your thyroid will suffer, making you cold all the time, your skin will suffer, and you’ll generally just feel terrible. That’s because your body needs nutrients. It needs food, protein, fat and carbs. Don’t restrict yourself, give your body what it needs to function optimally.
In the end, calories matter, but the number of calories we eat — and burn — are both influenced long-term by the types of food we eat.
Now Over to You
- Did anything surprise you about calorie counting?
- Any questions we missed regarding calorie counting?
Share with us in the comments below! And if you found this post helpful, pass it along to a friend or family member who could benefit from it too!😊