Calorie-counting is, to put it plainly, a pain in the ass. However, as with most things that are helpful for weight loss, it works. I find it tedious to record, calculate, and measure everything I eat.
But, because it’s a tedious process, it forces me to recognize what I’m putting into my body as well as portion out my meals.
Looking back, at my highest weight ever of 262 in 2006 down to my lowest weight ever of 165 in May 2011, my success in weight loss and healthy living comes when I calorie count. When I stop calorie counting and start ignoring what I’m putting into my body, the weight just shoots right up.
This is not to say that in order to be healthy, you must calorie count. Not at all. This is just to say that calorie counting is a very useful tool to help your body become habituated to healthy living, to making healthy choices, to portioning out meals, and to prevent overeating.
My weight gains over the last 6 years have not been caused by my lack of calorie counting. It’s the mentality behind the lack of calorie counting that has caused me to stumble. I become lazy, less caring of what I eat, less meticulous, when I don’t monitor and record what I eat.
For me, the simple act of writing down what I’ve eaten, looking up the nutritional information online, and evaluating my meals assists me in being mindful of my body and what I put into it.
Is calorie counting the right answer for me?
No. I don’t want to be recording numbers for the rest of my life (also why I didn’t become an accountant). HOWEVER, calorie counting is like a wheelchair for somebody re-learning how to walk again. It gets you back on your feet.
But with the good comes the bad. It’s easy to become obsessive over the amount of calories you’re consuming. Very easy. So at the same time I’m recording everything I eat, I’m also trying to listen to my body. Sometimes, I’m hungrier than others. And on those days, it’s alright to eat more. I have to remember not to beat myself up.
The most important thing to take away?
Food is fuel. Fuel for the mind and body. NOT an emotional coping mechanism. NOT for binging. NOT for abusing your body.
No matter how you engage in healthy living and weight loss, be it through mindful eating, calorie counting, a combination of both, food is fuel.
What are your thoughts about calorie counting? Does it work for you?
What foods fuel you?