Lose Weight with or without Calorie Counting
In my weight loss coaching practice, I usually advise clients against counting calories. Though it is a weight-loss method that certainly seems to work for some, it doesn’t suit most people who try it and there are so many pitfalls that the disadvantages far outweigh the advantages. (Lose Weight)
You have to have a particular mindset for calorie counting to work and most people just don’t have it (including me!).
Advantages of Calorie Counting
On the plus side, calorie counting lets you see just how much you are eating (and that can come as a shock to some folks). It’s useful to know when you are deliberating about whether to eat a slice of chocolate cake or not that you will put away a cool 700 calories – more than a third of your daily allowance if you eat it.
With calories counting you can quickly see how easy it is to go over your daily allowance, and how you put on weight in the first place.
If you want to lose weight you just have to eat fewer calories than you take in, add up everything you eat, and when you reach your daily allowance you stop.
Not only that, but you are in control of what you eat. You don’t need to ban foods (which often is enough to create a craving for the forbidden food). You can eat anything as long as you stick within your calorie allowance.
Disadvantages of Calorie Counting
The main disadvantage is the absolute sheer tedium of weighing, and measuring everything you eat, and drink, and making a record of it. It takes up precious time and adds stress to lives that are already busy, and overloaded.
Most of us get tired of the whole calorie counting process pretty quickly, and either gives up entirely or start guessing quantities, and the calories particular foods or meals contain.
You have to be into detail, and control to like this method of losing weight, and very few of us are.
Unfortunately for some who manage to make it work, the control aspect takes over, and calorie counting becomes a bit of an obsession. Sometimes this even leads to an eating disorder.
But in any case, it’s never a good thing to obsess about food. Food should be a source of pleasure, and nourishment not a constant source of worry about how it will affect the figures in a calorie log.
And it’s not so easy to measure and calculate the calories of everything you eat. You can’t work out what the chef has used in the entree at the restaurant. You can’t check out the calories at a friend’s dinner party.
And the same holds for how many calories you need. Our calorie requirements differ depending on our weight, our activity level, our age, the composition of our bodies (fat versus muscle), and so on. You can only work out, and average rather than actual needs each day.
It won’t come as any surprise, I’m sure, to learn that there’s a very common tendency (except among those with eating disorders) to underestimate how much we are eating, and overestimate how many calories we are using when we exercise – leading us to overeat even when we think we are remaining within our calorie allowance. And then we are left wondering why we are not losing weight.
Whereas our health and well-being rely on eating good wholesome food, with calorie counting the nutritional value of foods is too easy to ignore.
The seven hundred calories in a balanced meal may be judged by some dieters as just the same as the seven hundred in the chocolate cake through the balanced meal will do you good, fill you up for far longer, and not set you up for a rapid rise, and fall in blood sugar levels. (Lose Weight)
If you do want to count calories
If you decide you want to lose weight by counting calories (and there’s no harm in having a go-to see if it suits you), here are some tips to help you succeed with the method.
Though calorie counting works to a degree, being too strict with calorie allowances sets the body into starvation mode, and your metabolism drops as a result. Make sure that you eat enough.
Spread your calorie allowance throughout the day. Don’t save up calories for a blow-out later. Your body needs fuel to work at all times, and you can kick start “starvation mode” during the day by going too many hours without food.
Make sure that you have a good breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and leave part of your allowance for a mid-morning, and mid-afternoon snack.
Get the most nutrition you can for your calorie allowance. Feed your body good food – don’t spend your allowance on junk.
Eat your calorie allowance rather than drinking it. Drinks don’t fill you up and often contain “empty” calories nutritionally.
Be as accurate as you can in your measuring and calculations
If you stop losing weight and hit a weight loss plateau check whether you are eating too much for your current weight (allowances drop the lighter you get) also make sure you are eating enough (have you put your body in starvation mode? and see if you are getting laxer in your weighing, and measuring – get stricter with yourself. (Lose Weight)
Losing Weight without Counting Calories
And for those who find calorie counting too much like doing your taxes at year-end, try a few simple guidelines instead, and lose weight anyway!
Practice sensible portion control. Eat when you are hungry, and stop when you are full.
Choose nutritious foods such as lean proteins, fruit, vegetables, slow-release carbohydrates with a little healthy (non-saturated) fat such as that found in olive oil, nuts, and seeds.
As a guide fill (don’t pile) your plate half with vegetables, quarter lean protein, and a quarter carbohydrate such as rice, potatoes, or pasta. (Lose Weight)
Avoid eating junk, deep-fried and, breaded foods, candy, cakes, cookies, and pastry regularly.
Drink water or herbal tea for most drinks, and avoid sweetened soft drinks, fruit juice, milky drinks, and alcohol apart from the occasional glass of wine.