Thursday Thoughts: Is Calorie Counting a Must?

Thursday Thoughts - Is Calorie Counting a Must

50. 110. 350. 40.

Sometimes I feel like my day is just about counting calories over and over and over again. I’ve tried the alternative of intuitive eating because, in theory, it sounds magical. You can live your day without a calorie cap to skirt around and have a “feeling” that alerts you when you are full…that says stop at one cookie and say no to appetizers when you are eating out.

This must be built into the brains of some people, but it is not something I can say I know anything about. I have, of course, gone off the calorie bandwagon because I can do this on my own. Needless to say, it never ends good. The scale says so. And so do my favorite jeans.

I know the intuitive eating mindset does exist and it must be freeing to live without Points and numbers roaming around in your head while you shop at the grocery store or look over a menu. I am sure it creates a very healthy relationship with food and the body. But in all honesty, even with the strictness that calorie counting brings I have found that it balances my bingey habits. I can now handle the buffet with ease, conquer Thanksgiving and make minimal visits to Artichoke Pizza because I have enough sense to know when to put my fork down and still enjoy the delights of dining.

I have come to terms with the fact that I am a comfortable counter and I know my body needs me to be that way for the foreseeable future. I will forever be unconsciously and consciously adding up numbers in my head like it is my religion. Must follow.  But I do not feel like I am in a food-less prison.

It has become an easier habit over time and in some ways has become hardwired so maybe I am more intuitive then I give myself credit for. The act of calorie counting gives me a sense of control over my body and feeds nicely into my type A personality. It relieves a certain amount of stress about living a healthy lifestyle and I never get sick of that pang of joy you feel when you stayed on point for yet another day. It is kind of like the feeling you get after a workout in calorie counting form.

I understand that playing the numbers game is not for everyone, but here are some reasons it is worth embracing the idea.

  1. You have a daily goal to focus on.
  2. Going into autopilot at the dinner table will not happen.
  3. Cooking becomes a more important part of your healthy lifestyle.
  4. You are committed to your body every day.
  5. Scanning things into My Fitness Pal app is strangely fun.

Ultimately I think you should not think of counting calories as a burden or an imposition. To start you may want to set up a weekly calorie goal rather than a daily one so that it gives more room for a night out with friends and you still stay on track for the week. That gives you the happy medium to “live on the edge” and still keep it in control.

Calorie counting and I go together like peanut butter and jelly. Or something like that.

What are your thoughts on calorie counting? Is it a must or a waste of time?

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  1. No calorie counting for me! It’s a complete waste of your time. If you are eating extremely healthy foods (as I do) there is no need to count calories and give yourself a headache. All you need to do is LISTEN to your body – when you are FULL you stop. Yes, that might be hard for some people but if you do per chance over eat, it’s okay as long as it’s healthy food. My “binge” food is totally spaghetti squash but that’s a HEALTHY binge! LOL

  2. Calorie counting, I think is important. It’s just that it seems to be a bit of a struggle to be always recording things. I try with My Fitness Pal and other simpler apps but I end up missing some days and even weeks. I think the bottom line is to look at the principle behind calorie counting…and basically, it is healthy eating. Now if that becomes a habit, maybe at the start we should check calories but later on, when it is deeply ingrained in our system, we don’t need to be always counting anymore. That is what I am aiming to do.

    • I definitely see the struggle aspect to making note of your daily intake, but it can become a lot faster over time. Hopefully one day we will be free of the number game completely. Thanks for reading Aileen.


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