Why it’s time to stop counting Calories

stop counting calories

Why it’s time to stop counting Calories

It’s time to stop counting Calories because it really doesn’t help you, for various reasons. You can watch the video I made about this below, or keep scrolling if you’d rather read.

Firstly I’m not saying we should forget Calories completely, I just don’t think they should be your main focus.

There’s no denying that when it comes to weight management it does all come back to energy balance. The reality is, your weight is related to the energy you take in from all your food and drink, versus the energy you use through exercise etc. If you’re consistently, persistently taking in less energy than you’re using then eventually you’ll lose weight. So if you do want to lose weight, eat a little less than you would normally. Or move more than you would normally. Ideally do a bit of both and do this consistently and persistently to see the results.

Also a lot of people find it useful to know the Calorie content of some foods, especially convenience foods or snack foods. It’s easy to pick at these things so your energy intake can really add up quickly. Or think about drinks, like those creamy, flavoured coffees. You might think it’s only a drink, it’s not going to make a difference… but actually the ones that are really creamy and sugary can have as many Calories as a whole meal. So that can make a big difference if you’re having them regularly and don’t realise this.

So knowing the Calorie content can be helpful, but there’s a few problems with focusing on counting Calories. Keep reading to find out and if you relate to any of them, then it’s probably time to take a step back, stop counting those Calories and try something different.

1. Calorie counting focuses on restriction

You might be using an app on your phone to count Calories, which tells you how many Calories you should have. Or it might tell you how many Calories you need to lose the weight. But the emphasis is on restriction and that is a slippery slope to making changes that are too drastic. It’s a slippery slope to limiting yourself too much.

When you’re focusing on how many Calories you ‘should’ be eating, you’re likely to get sucked into thinking you’re only allowed the bare minimum. Before you know it you’re depriving yourself and limiting your food. Then you feel rubbish, you’re more likely to have cravings and want food more. You become obsessed with food, thinking about it all the time. Then when you eat food that you think you shouldn’t have or you have too many Calories, you think you’ve failed. You’re more likely to get sucked into that binge-guilt cycle.

You’re not learning to follow your natural appetite or listen to your hunger cues. When you’re aiming to stick to a certain number or Calories each day you’re ignoring what your body is telling you that you need, which fluctuates day-to-day. Yes you might need to exercise some level of restraint if you’re trying to make improvements to your eating habits. But there’s a difference between reining things in a little and restricting yourself too much. That food restriction is no fun.

blown the diet    stop counting calories
Healthy eating is about the overall balance and what you do most of the time.

2. Calorie counting doesn’t teach you to eat better

Calorie counting just teaches you to look at food as a number, rather than seeing food for what it is. Food is fuel and nutrients. If you’re only looking at Calories you’re not looking at how to fuel and nourish your body. You could be getting the right number of Calories, but not actually giving your body all the nutrients it needs. Then you’ll still feel hungry or you’re more likely to have those cravings again, because your body’s saying it still needs certain nutrients. Basically if you’re counting Calories you still need to think about having a variety of different foods to feel satisfied. So you might as well just ditch the Calorie counting and focus on getting balanced meals.

Just to demonstrate, say for example you might be looking at whether to have a chocolate bar or a sandwich. That chocolate bar might have 250 Calories (I’m just plucking numbers out of the air!) whereas a sandwich might give you 500 Calories. You might think, well the chocolate bar’s lower in Calories so surely that’s better to go for? You’ve got to go for lower number of Calories right?! But that chocolate bar is also low in nutrients too, all you get is fat and sugar. That’s not going to satisfy you for very long. You’ll get that quick-fix energy, but then you end up on that sugar roller coaster, where you use that energy quickly (or store it) then you’re hungry again. You feel that crash where you feel rubbish and sluggish…

Whereas a sandwich would give you a variety of nutrients. Especially if it’s got wholegrain bread, a good source of protein as well as some veg in the filling. You get a range of different nutrients and give your body a nice steady stream of energy from the slow-release carbohydrates and you’re more likely to feel satisfied until your next meal. So that sandwich may have more Calories, but it’s going to fuel your body better than a chocolate bar.

3. Calorie counting takes the fun out of food

It’s boring, when all you’re doing is thinking “how many Calories should I be having?” or “how many Calories have I got left?” You’re only focused on how much you’re ‘allowed’ to eat and you feel guilty if you have too many Calories. Or you’re constantly looking for the low Calorie option, rather than eating what you actually want to eat. You’re not thinking about what’s actually going to fuel you. It’s really tedious and time consuming to be constantly tracking how many Calories you’ve had and how many Calories you’ve got left.

Your time would be much better spent learning to eat mindfully and learning to eat balanced meals. Then you can actually try to have fun with your life, instead of obsessing over food between meals.

It’s time to stop counting Calories because it makes you focus on restriction. It doesn’t teach you to eat better and it really zaps all the fun out of food. Instead flip your focus away from counting Calories, restricting or depriving yourself and instead look at feeding your body with regular, balanced meals.

Find out how easy this can be by downloading my super simple guide to healthy eating for free here. Focus on making your meals balanced and the rest slots into place. Also download my Anti-dieting Meal Planner for free here to help you plan those balanced meals and reduce the stress of wondering what to eat.

And remember I’m here for you if you need help with this.

It’s time to stop counting Calories and ditch dieting forever, because you deserve better.

Need help to ditch dieting forever?

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My Weekly Round-up! AKA; what I’ve been up to recently…

  • This week’s blog has been brought to you by Lady Grey tea – haven’t had one in ages so I’d almost forgotten how yummy it is!
  • Sorry I missed blogging last week – it was a tricky week with some personal stuff going on and I gave myself a bit of time out to deal with that.
  • I was also poorly the other weekend with a tummy bug so we didn’t do anything we’d planned that weekend. However we did get up another hill, Nover’s Hill, which means we’ve now walked up 19 hills for our family challenge ’22 Hills in 2022′ – yay! Just 3 to go and still a good couple of months left.
  • I had an appointment with a physio the other day about my back pain. Turns out that some of the stretches and exercises I’ve been doing may be exacerbating things – oops! She gave me some other things to focus on for now, but I’ve not managed to get in a routine yet so the exercise routine has slipped. Going to aim to do my ‘new’ routine 3x next week though.
  • Huzzaah! I’ve finally managed to get to the library for a couple of new books. I also found a book that I started, but didn’t finish ages ago on our bookcase, so I have plenty to read. Although I haven’t finished anything yet to add to my reading challenge ’22 New Books in 2022′. Still plenty of time left…
  • Bird Nerd Report: It’s been a good couple of weeks for spotting birds, especially goldfinches. There was one day last week where I saw all of my favourites, a kingfisher, some long-tailed tits, goldfinches and a jay all in one day! I saw a little grey and yellow wagtail down by the brook yesterday. There were 2 jays having an argument on my walk the day before that. And most exciting of all there was one day this week when there were a load of long-tailed tits in our garden! I haven’t seen any in our garden in years and there were so many in the two apple trees & mock orange blossom bush, that I lost count. At one point I counted 10 flying off from the cooking apple tree over the house – amazing!

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