It's good you're counting calories. But here's why you should stop.

Even if you aren't counting calories at this moment, you've either done it in the past, thought about it, or heard why you should be doing it. And if so, you need to keep reading. Consuming more calories than you burn in a day will add fat to your body. This is a fact. Mathematically, 1 pound of fat is consuming 3,500 calories MORE than what you have burned in the day (by either being active or literally just being).  However, it's not as black and white as we wish as each of our bodies are different and deal with different damaged metabolisms, hormones, medications, food absorption, lifestyles, etc. that affect how and where our bodies store or lose weight.

This is probably why calorie counting hasn't worked for you in the past. And if it has, you were probably hungry, unhappy, or frustrated most of the time, which means it's not the type of life you wanted to continue living. I can't say I'm not a victim of this, as I have calorie counted for years. And while I believe calorie counting isn't the way to go to get the results you're looking for, it's not a complete waste of time. If you're doing it properly by counting calories of fruits, vegetables, complex carbs, lean proteins and healthy fats, you will get the results you're looking for in a healthy way that won't make you feel completely useless. The thing is, if you're counting the calories of the right foods to consume, you don't even need to be counting them. When you're counting the calories of the right foods, you're essentially just properly portion sizing. After a few weeks of this, you'll realize that you don't need to count every single day and you know roughly how much and how little of everything you should or can eat.

So, essentially, here's what calorie counting has taught us, and how we're able to get the results we want that calorie counting "promises":

  • We absorb foods differently based on their fibre content, the bacteria living in your gut, cooking methods and preparations, etc. So while you're eating the same calories in a bag of smarties that you may be having with an apple, that fibre content in the apply with slow the digestion as well as the insulin spike that causes you to store fat, which will happen pretty much instantly with smarties (pure sugar).
  • Portion size! Here's another a great way to figure out what will work best for your personal body type, and how to properly portion size.
  • Just because the label says it's a certain amount of calories, doesn't mean it is. Not that it's 500 calories off or anything like that, but it's better to just eat things with no nutrition labels anyways (hint, hint).
  • Move your butt. And when I say that, I mean it literally. You don't have to take a fitness class every day, run miles, or get a trainer, you simply have to start moving more. It has been useful for some people to fidget more, get a fitness tracker that tells you how many steps you've taken in a day, or just simply go for a walk around the block after every meal. These 'small' changes not only help get your metabolism moving but also help you feel better throughout the day.

While counting calories will never be the best way to lose unwanted fat and feel your best, it can teach you some of the best ways you can achieve your goals through food elimination, portion sizing, your body's specific needs, and how many fruits and vegetables you can eat that carry the same calories (but WAY more healthy nutrients) as a small bag of chips.

Chelsey Labusch