I started counting calories at the age of twelve and I spent the next 15 years on a dieting roller coaster. I could tell you the calorie count of almost any food item and unfortunately, that was always in the back of my mind while I ate it. I would limit my avocado and nut intake because it added too many calories to a salad. I got sucked in to buying 100-calorie packs, even though it was junk food. Though calorie counting has some good lessons, like learning portion sizes and learning that if you eat more vegetables, you get to eat more food during the day (because of their low calorie counts). But, in the end it didn’t work for me and here are three reasons why I ultimately decided to quit counting calories.
It took the fun out of food.
Food is supposed to be enjoyable, but when you are counting calories, you are crunching the numbers on your plate instead of enjoying the meal that is in front of you. Sometimes, I would cut down on ingredients of whatever I was making, resulting in less delicious food, because the thought of typing it all into my calorie counting app was exhausting. And going out to dinner was so complicated to figure out the calories that I’d either steer clear of restaurants during my diet (no fun) or go off my diet completely since it would be too hard to count the calories without knowing all the ingredients (counterproductive).
I was hungry.
If I splurged at some point in the day, I’d have to make up for eat by eating less the rest of the day. Having an apple for dinner as punishment for eating dessert earlier in the day did not help create a positive weight loss experience. Waking up the next day starving lead to some poor food choices, and the cycle would just start all over.
I avoided healthy, whole foods that had higher fat and calorie contents.
Like I said at the beginning, I started to avoid some really healthy, good-for-me foods because they had too many calories or grams of fat. Why would I eat 200 calories/18 grams of fat of whole almonds when I could have a 100-calorie/1 gram of fat Quaker oat bar that had chocolate chips in it? I was falling into a crazy logic that involved opting for low-fat, low calorie processed foods over healthy, whole, and natural foods. No wonder why the weight loss never stuck!
Have you tried calorie counting? What’s your stance on it?
My Winter Meal Plan is full of whole, real food meals, and there is no calorie counting involved! I believe if you eat real food first, you will leave less room for junk food and ultimately be better off than a restrictive diet. Check it out!