I don’t take a strict “calories in-calories out” approach to weight loss or maintenance. Still – your overall caloric intake is important. Very important. Perhaps the most important factor in determining your overall body composition.
Even so, you don’t have to count calories to lose or maintain your weight. It just depends on the circumstances.
Full Disclosure: I Can’t NOT Count Calories.
I don‘t count calories anymore. But I did spend my entire life doing it. So now, at the tender age of 28, I can’t NOT count calories.
Sadly, I’ve become such an expert that I just do it subconsciously.
I can very accurately predict the calories in basically any food. And without thinking about it, I just always know how many calories I’ve had to eat on a given day.
The reason I tell you this?
..So that you take my advice on calories with a grain of salt.
Because after all, even though I DON’T count calories, I actually DO count calories. It’s like the 10,000 hour rule for fat people.
Sometimes, Counting Calories is Good.
Counting calories can be very helpful under the right circumstances. Specifically, counting calories might be a good idea if:
- You’re a noob.
- You eat lots of processed foods and carbs.
“Noobs” are people who don’t know much about nutrition. Being a noob is a good thing. It means you’ve actually enjoyed your life, instead of focusing on what you eat all day.
Still, Noobs might be a little confused. And not through any fault of their own. The basic nutrition facts we learned in school – well, they were wrong. Eating fat doesn’t make you fat, eating cereal for breakfast is probably a terrible idea, and yes – you can eat the egg yolk. Even if you have high cholesterol.
If you’re a noob, counting calories can help you become more mindful of what you are eating. This might lead to a greater awareness of how your diet might be less than ideal.
But be careful, noobs, lest you fall under the impression that caloric intake is all that matters. It’s part of a bigger picture.
…which brings us to processed foods.
People who eat lots of processed foods might also do well to count calories.
1. Processed foods are less filling than whole foods, so your body might not be cueing you properly on when to stop eating;
2. Processed foods are often designed to be addictive, making it more likely you’ll overeat
Similarly, for some people, carbs have a tendency to increase your appetite and cause cravings. This is certainly my experience.
A Way Out
Read my blog post on how I eat, in general. I believe that for most people, a diet similar to mine will allow them to lose weight – even without exercise.
And yes, without counting calories!!
The keys are –
1. Crowding out poor choices with MANY veggies; and
2. Listening to your appetite
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