Why Calorie Counting Doesn’t Work

Have you ever tried calorie counting? It just flat out sucks.

If your goal is fat loss, counting calories is not the way.

Not only do you have to constantly worry about the calorie content of every morsel of food you put in your mouth, and look at the nutrition facts on everything you buy… But day in and day out you have to keep track all day of your total calories.

I don’t know about you, but when I did it, it was total misery.

I was doing math all day long. And I often hid my food journal from others so they wouldn’t think I was cuckoo.

Food is not something that should be counted, it’s something that should be enjoyed.

After struggling for 4 years with food, I found that the way to long-term fat loss and success is balance. It’s not counting, or controlling.


Because when you try to “control” food, it often ends up controlling you.

Think about it… when you are counting calories you are constantly thinking about food and what you are eating.

All day long.

You have to constantly play a “numbers” game to make sure you are staying at your allotted calories for the day. Basically, calorie counting ends up controlling everything you do on a daily basis.

If you’re not actually writing down your calories in a journal, you’re mentally taking notes about what you need to write down later.

Even worse, I found my calorie counting would often lead to full blown binge-fests eventually because in my experience, when you control or restrict something for that long — it’s always just been a matter of time before it backfires.

Eventually, you get sick of the restriction, you get sick of only eating certain foods in paltry amounts, and you’re totally sick of all the math involved in your daily calorie obsession… so after trying to control every bite of food you take for extended periods of time, you just give up and go on a one-way street to splurge town.

Ever been there?

Guess what?

It’s not your fault!

Calorie counting literally sets you up for failure.

Think about it… do you really want to count calories for the rest of your life?!

I didn’t think so. No one does. 

And that’s why calorie counting just does not work. Not only that, but the biggest problem with calorie counting is that it implies “a calorie is a calorie,” regardless of the quality of the food source, which could not be further from the truth.

Not all calories are created equal.

Do you really think a 100 calorie cookie is the same as a 100 calorie banana?

Of course not! It’s common sense.

A banana is full of vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, fiber, and nutrients that nourish your body. On the other hand, a cookie is pretty much just a bunch of processed sugars paired with some fat.

Instead of focusing on the calorie counts of your food, we have to train ourselves to focus on the nutrient density of our food.

It’s about learning how to get the most “bang for our buck” — the most nutritionally dense foods we can get our hands on in the most calorie conservative ways (i.e. eating a piece of real organic fruit over a low fat cookie).

Nutrient dense foods will not only make you feel better, they will help you lose weight without feeling deprived, lethargic or tired.

Your body knows it’s full in 2 ways:

  • 1) Volume (how much you ate)
  • 2) Nutrient Density (the nutrients you ate)

Have you ever eaten so much junk food that your stomach literally hurt or felt like it was about to pop?

Well, here’s a secret.

You only really ate that much because you weren’t providing your body with the nutrients it actually needs and thrives on, so your body just wasn’t feeling “full” or satisfied until you literally stuffed yourself to the brim.

Many people are guilty of shying away from real foods because they are fearful of gaining weight, and instead opt for the processed low fat, low calorie or low sugar versions instead.

In fact, I used to be guilty of the same thing. I ate everything “diet” and “sugar-free” because I thought it was more important to stay at (or under) 1200 calories per day.

But these processed diet and sugar-free foods create all kinds of hormonal and chemical imbalances in our bodies like insulin resistance, fat storage, and toxicity that can eventually lead to major diseases and health problems.

Not to mention sagging skin, more wrinkles, less energy, and accelerated aging! NO THANKS!!

Our ancestors who didn’t suffer with the same obesity epidemic we have now, didn’t have things like sugar-free pudding, margarine or diet coke.

Bottom line, counting calories & eating “diet” foods just doesn’t work!

It’s not balanced, nor is it healthy. What’s way more important is to provide your body with the nutrients it needs. Without that, you will never be successful long term with losing weight and keeping it off.

Once you start giving your body the nutrients it needs, the weight will literally just come off!

And I know you’re probably thinking, “Yeah right! Not for me. I can’t eat anything without gaining weight so of course I need to restrict my eating and track my calories to lose weight.”

I used to think so too!

But I’m living proof that when you stop focusing on restricting your food intake and obsessing over the number of calories you eat — and you shift your focus to the quality of the foods you’re eating instead — you can rebalance your body, your mind and your life for good.

In fact as soon as I made this switch in my own life, I completely ended my 4 year struggle with food.

Consistency in this practice is the key to success. No “quick fix” or calorie counting diet will ever get you the results you’re looking for.

At least not long term anyway.

Sure, anyone can cut their calories for a little while and drop a few pounds. But if you’re not eating enough and you’re not getting the nutrients you need daily, the body will catch on and your metabolism will slow.

You need to adopt a lifestyle that you can stick to for the long-term. You need habits that you can sustain for life.

Count nutrients, not calories.

Bottom line – eat real food, eat lots of veggies, eat lots of fruit, and eat lots of greens. Don’t avoid healthy fats like avocado, nuts & seeds. Stop eating when you are 80% full.

And most importantly – respect your body, don’t starve it!

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