The Truth Behind Calorie Counting

Here’s what I have to say about calorie counting. You ready?

Just don’t.

That’s all, great blog post right? Ha! I’m just kidding. However, my intention with this blog post is to share with you why counting your calories is actually harming your health and fitness success. Not to mention harming your sanity too.

Traditional health and fitness is based off of the following concept…

“Calories IN must be LESS THAN calories OUT.”
“BURN MORE calories than you EAT.”
“INCREASE your exercise and DECREASE the amount of food you eat.”

Don’t ask me how I really feel about this concept, because it’s down right ridiculous. For someone who has sustainably incorporated a healthy lifestyle for the past 4 years, I can’t ever think of a time where I followed this concept.

While this may be something we’ve heard our whole lives, where has it gotten us? Last time I checked, America is overweight and saturated with diets that make us miserable and “hangry.” Think this is a coincidence?

Think of it this way for a moment and follow me through this exercise. 

Breathe in once.
Breathe out twice.
Repeat until you run out of breath.

You can’t last very long can you?

That’s what I thought. That is exactly the same concept that we are traditionally taught in respects to our health and fitness. Feeding ourselves less but expecting ourselves to have the energy to exert more. Not to mention that calorie counting requires you to document every single thing you eat, which is enough to drive you mad after a few hours. This is unhealthy, unsustainable, and requires a sh*tload of will power, which we only have so much of.

So how does one lose weight without this concept? Here are some DO’s and DON’Ts you should really consider following if you’d like a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. 

  • DON’T starve yourself. If you’re hungry eat. Check out my blog about Intuitive Eating for some guidance on this tip.
  • DON’T waste time tracking your calorie intake on apps like My Fitness Pal. If you’re interested in tracking Macros, I’m definitely not against this because I’ve seen that it works. However, use it only initially to get a general feel of how much food to eat and then drop the app.
  • DON’T think that you need to burn the same amount of calories you eat. (If you lived by this, you’d be at the gym for hours. You do also burn calories while resting.)
  • DON’T see food as the enemy or working out as punishment. This is a negative relationship that will only make you feel guilty when you eat “junk” food and miserable getting your sweat on.

  • DO consume whole and unprocessed foods. Spend time learning what ingredients are in the food you typically buy.
  • DO focus on quality workouts. A short 15 minute HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) can eat away much more fat than an hour long run on the treadmill.
  • DO fuel your increased level of exercise with food. Quality food that is.
  • DO live a little. You’re in this for the long haul. There will be some days where you’ll go overboard eating and days where you’re on it. It’s about BALANCE.

Remember, shifting to a healthier lifestyle doesn’t require drastic changes. It requires small and consistent ones. Calories are not the enemy, calorie counting is the enemy. When it comes to working out and eating, focus on quality and the results will follow.

PS – I had chicken nuggets the other night for dinner. They were delicious.