Stop Counting Calories!

by Editor on January 16, 2020

stop counting calories

Have you been obsessively tracking your daily caloric intake to lose weight? If so, you might want to stop counting calories. Why? This strategy isn’t necessarily the best road to healthy, effective and long-term weight loss. In fact, it may even thwart your weight loss goals.

Here’s why you might want to think about dropping the calorie numbers game and focus on other ways to help you reach your weight loss goals that may offer greater efficiency and long-term results.

Three Reasons Why You Should Stop Counting Calories

Not all calories are created equal. In fact, some studies suggest that reducing calorie intake may not help you lose body weight.

With that in mind, here are three reasons why counting calories is not always the best idea.

You may eat more unhealthy foods

If you’re trying to save on calories, you may choose to purchase and consume pre-packaged products that are marketed as being “low in calories”. Although these products may be calorie controlled, this doesn’t mean that they are better for you. They usually contain additives, fillers and preservatives to make up for the calories that were removed. These products are not nutrient dense and those that contain sweeteners may contribute to hunger levels.

Focus is placed on calories and not on nutrition

If you focus only on the calories, you may not be paying attention to the nutrients the food is offering. For instance, eating 100 calories of raw carrots vs a 100 calorie twinkie isn’t going to be processed by the body in the same way. Both will provide energy, but the carrots contain fiber and have far less sugar and carbs than a twinkie. Carrots take longer to digest and can help you feel satiated for longer, in addition to providing your body with vitamins and minerals.

You may prevent muscle growth

You need to make sure you’re consuming enough calories to support both your weight loss and fitness goals for your specific age, height, weight and gender. Eating too few calories is not only unhealthy for your body, but it can negatively impact your mental health and hinder muscle growth as well.

What to Do Instead of Counting Calories

Stop counting calories and consider doing the following as an alternative.

Choose whole foods

Quality usually matters over quantity. Consider opting for whole and unprocessed foods that are nutritious and rich in flavor. Focus on eating consistent meals. Don’t save all your calories for one large meal.

Learn portion control

Read food nutrition labels and determine what portion size is right for you. It’s also a good idea to start by measuring out portions so that you can see what a portion size actually looks like.

Balance your plate

Consider adopting the plate method to measure and control portion sizes. A basic strategy is:

  • Half of the plate should be filled with non-starchy vegetables or salad
  • Quarter of the plate should have high-quality protein – lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs, beans, etc.
  • Quarter of the plate should have complex carbs – whole grains or starchy vegetables
  • Half a tablespoon of fat – cheese, butter, oil etc.

The bottom line is that regardless of whether you decide to stop counting calories, the food that you choose and how much of it you eat matters to your weight loss success more than obsessing over numbers. Never underestimate the power of nutrients. Make the calories that you choose to consume, count.

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