I’ve never enjoyed counting my calories and I’ve yet to meet a single client who’s enjoyed it either. Why? Because it’s not natural and eventually the numbers stop adding up.
In order to lose weight, we’re told we need to be in a calorie deficit, yet I’ve met hundreds of people on a low calorie diet who simply can’t shift weight. I’ve even met a few who gained weight! So, why does calorie counting stop working and why do so many fail?
The first reason is simply the fact that the numbers just don’t add up. Food companies are allowed a 20% leeway when it comes to the accuracy of their food labels which mean your 100-calorie snack could contain more calories than you think. Once the initial weight-loss has stopped (this is usually because people are more conscious of WHAT and HOW MUCH they eat when they’re counting), the results stop and weight re-gain usually follows.
Then, there’s the fact that not every meal is the same, regardless of the name which dilutes the accuracy again. Your MyFitnessPal may have a lasagne logged in its system, but how big was the meal and did the chef use an extra layer of cheese? These small discrepancies may not seem like much, but when you’re only allowed 1,600cals per day, these small increases can quickly shoot you way over the top.
But, let’s say you had a day of home cooked meals and you knew EXACTLY how much was in each meal, rarely do those counting their calories consider the hormonal response from a variety of foods since they’re just trying to make the numbers fit.
100-calories from sweets is going to have a much different impact on your blood sugar levels than 100-calories of broccoli and is more than likely going to make you want more sweets and more food. This will make sticking to your overall total very hard and extremely unpleasant.
I’ve also found that when people are calorie counting their focused more so on fitting in the foods which they like and no necessarily the foods which are best for them. This is in the long-term doesn’t teach them HOW to eat and re-enforces their bad habits which become out of control once they stop counting.
Lastly, the act of counting isn’t natural and can take the joy out of eating. Counting calories inevitably stops working either because you stop, your results do - the body has a defence mechanism in place in order to save energy during times of consistent low intake. Your body is literally fighting you on the weight loss front which makes this even harder the more you lose.
Now, this isn’t to say that calorie counting doesn’t work or that eating less won’t help you lose weight, they do! But, unless you're focusing on the quality of your meals as well as other lifestyle factors, then you’re simply not going to be able to maintain the weight which you’ve lost because losing weight isn’t hard – KEEPING IT OFF IS! I love teaching my clients how to successfully maintain their weight loss - even just a small amount because they’ve NEVER been able to stop the fluctuation before. A small and progressive yearly loss is FAR BETTER than a big loss where the weight (and more) is regained.
If you’d like some more help managing your intake feel free to download a FREE guide on how to measure your intake WITHOUT counting a single calorie!
I’d love to know what you think in the comment section below.
Speak soon, JC.
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JC and The Nutri-Team