Nothing takes the joy out of eating like turning it into a math equation. That said, it should come as no surprise that I am NOT a fan of counting calories. Below are the top four reasons why I hate calorie-counting:
All calculations designed to provide you with your body’s “caloric needs” are mere estimations.
You are a unique individual unlike anyone else on this planet. Your individual metabolism is affected by many variables like age, genetics, activity level, what you’re eating (nutrition), how you’re eating it, the amount of sleep you’re getting, your level of stress… I could continue, but you get the point. With so many variables, it is unlikely any estimate will give you a very accurate target to aim for.
Calorie counts on food labels and in restaurant menus are often inaccurate
It’s not unusual for these caloric totals to be off by 100-300 calories. Combine that with the fact that most people underestimate their portion sizes, and calorie counting quickly becomes meaningless.
The quality of your calories is more important than their quantity
I would much prefer you focus on eating quality natural foods than freaking out about some silly little number. All calories are not created equally! And besides, you can increase or decrease intake if needed as time goes on without obsessing over the specifics. Simply adjust in the direction of your goal every month or so, and you’ll be fine — promise.
For many women, counting calories is inherently stressful
Have you ever eaten a little bit “too much” according to your daily calorie allotment and had a panic attack? You and me both. Not fun, is it? Let’s cut that out, because trust me, it is counterproductive. Stress is one of THE nastiest causes of fat gain in your life and should be avoided at all costs! True story. I even wrote an article about that once, click here to check that out (open in a new tab, I’m not done with you yet!).
“Sooooo don’t count calories. Great. What am I supposed to do if I wanna lose weight?!”
No problem — got you covered! Below are three ways to ensure quality nutrition without having to agonize over a silly little number.
#1 Eat as many different colors of fruits and veggies as you can.
Typically, different colors mean different vitamins and minerals are contained, so aim to cover all the colors of a rainbow every single week! Go to the grocery store and pick up some bananas, apples, oranges, strawberries, grapes… whatever you like. Try to have at least four or five different colors available at any given time, because a) that will keep your meal plan interesting and b) you’ll get a nice variety of essential nutrients that will nourish your body. Score!
#2 Eat a fistful of protein at each meal.
This is an easy way to ensure you get plenty of protein without agonizing over how many grams to eat. That could be a piece of organic chicken, 2 or 3 free range eggs, grass-fed beef, or any other quality protein source. Just get organic if you can afford it!
#3 Limit alcohol to 6 drinks a week, which may be consumed one daily or all on the weekend.
Life is meant to be fun, so have a drink on me (just don’t get carried away with it!). If you limit yourself to six drinks a week, that won’t be enough to do any harm. You’re welcome to have one-beer-per-day, or you can save it all for the weekend and get crunk if that’s your style. Not gonna lie — I usually go with the latter option myself — so I won’t judge you, promise!
#4 Be a mindful eater.
Slow down at the dinner table, you don’t have to be in such a hurry! Here’s a sneaky ninja trick for you: put down your fork in between every single bite. Focus on things like taste, texture, and aroma. Try to identify all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your meal. When you’re done eating, pay attention to what your body is telling you, and ask yourself: “Am I nourishing my body or am I depriving it?” Answer honestly and adjust as necessary.
What Do You Think?
Counting calories: do you think it’s necessary? Do you like it or hate it? Have I convinced you to reconsider this subject? How are you going to apply these tips TODAY? And as always, if you have any questions, you’re more than welcome to drop them below!