To count or NOT to count? That is the question.
Counting calories to lose weight remains a very controversial issue. On one side of the spectrum there are advocates who state that calorie counting is ineffective and pointless.
Others remain firm in their opinion that calorie counting is effective and essential.
So which viewpoint is correct?
Well, neither and both. Confused now? I bet!!
Ok, I promise I am about to make this easy.
1. It doesn’t matter how perfect your calorie counting is if the QUALITY of your calories is from junk and processed food. No matter what – you can’t out train a bad diet.
2. Calories DO COUNT even if you are eating the MOST CLEAN DIET because eating more than your body requires will result in increased levels of body fat. Clean food is NOT calorie free food.
3. Knowing how many calories you consume is an important part of the puzzle when it comes to fat loss. Without this knowledge how will you know if you need to eat less OR more? Yes, many people need to EAT MORE – believe it or not!!
Of course, counting calories to lose weight is a PAIN IN THE BOOTY!! It takes organization, time management and discipline!! Most people want the quick, easy fix which makes keeping a food journal or counting calories an unpopular option.
The “suck factor” of counting calories outweighs the benefits you will reap, such as:
1. Having a big clue as to why you are not losing weight. Many people think they need to eat 1200 calories to lose weight – and that just isn’t true for everyone!! So knowing how much you consume can tell you if you need to eat more or less.
2. With the birth of so many online apps for calorie tracking – it’s a no fail, free approach to weight loss. All it takes is consistency and discipline – and that’s free too if you know how to develop these skills.
3. You have the ability to learn how YOUR body works and what calorie range works best for you – and you can only know this by testing. I have my clients stay on a particular intake for about 2-3 weeks then we can assess and determine if changes need to be made. This only helps you to know YOUR body.
4. It’s cheaper than Medi-Fast, Body by Vii, Herbalife or any of those “weight loss programs”. Learn how to create your own diet plan and then learn how to follow it. Trust me…..that’s the key….and it can provide permanent results.
So if counting calories to lose weight is not working for you – reassess as to why. Some things to think about:
1. Determine the quality of the calories – be sure they are from whole food sources and not from a package or a box. If you are to eat 1500 calories – eating 1200 in Twinkies and chips will not help you lose weight.
2. Place the bulk of your calories early in the day – especially for breakfast. Reduce the portion sizes as the day goes on. The worst thing you can do is to consume the bulk of your calories at dinner time.
3. Be sure your meals have a balanced approach of a protein, carbohydrate and fat. People tend to eat a meal composed of mostly starchy carbohydrates – and this is a sure way to gain body fat.
4. Take a look at how much total sugar you are taking in – even if you are eating within your calorie range if most of it is comprised of sugary sources you will have a hard time losing weight.
5. Then take a good honest look at your consistency and accuracy with counting calories to lose weight. If this is where the problem lies – learning to be consistent is a valuable trait in life and can only improve other areas of your life.