First let me say if you struggle with an eating disorder this article isn’t for you, follow your doctor's advice.
But for the rest of us the REASON we often don’t like calorie counting is for one it feels very rigid. It feels limiting and most of all, it takes up time, time we could be using watching Tik Tok videos or Bridgerton (so I hear).
All kidding aside, calorie counting is super motivating until you stop losing weight and then it becomes frustrating and tedious. Which, frankly, it is.
Why would anyone want to do something that isn’t getting them results?
This is why.
I think by now most of us have plateaued dieting and there really is only two answers to that problem. Those answers are EAT LESS (which is often not enough to matter significantly) or EAT MORE (hopefully in a strategic way like we teach).
Before I get into the calorie counting piece I need you to understand that if you are seriously thinking about giving eating normal a chance you can’t just nibble at it. You have to bite it off in chunks. Which, by the way, will make the answer to the problem better.
The fact of the matter is that when you are eating less and logging it you are often eating similar things. Eating less kind of sucks, so simplifying it into a few meals is often a good idea. Though it does get boring.
So now you are eating less, the meals you are eating are boring and your weight has stalled.
The obvious thing to blame is the calorie counting right? Or is it?
I don’t want to spend a lot of time on this but most people start WAY too low when they start a deficit, that’s a big mistake. The diets that work like that often aren’t very customized but you do lose weight, not as much as you could doing it a bit slower because you hit a wall but it is motivating in the beginning. Calorie counting in that stage seems worth it.
Said another way the juice tends to be worth the squeeze. Up until the moment where it isn't and things go off the rails.
Ok, so you are stalled, you are at your wits end and you heard this Eat To Perform guy talking about adding calories back. Typically as we start to normalize calories back we do so in 250 calorie increments, it’s important that you don’t nibble at it because it gets very frustrating and then you land with 50-100 more calories which is basically a couple of grapes.
250 calories is a piece of fruit and some nuts. Or some nuts and cheese. Things you like.
THINGS YOU WANT TO LOG WHEN YOU KNOW YOU HAVE THE CALORIES AVAILABLE!
So a week in, you are weight stable, let’s go up another 250 calories. Now we have 500 CALORIES in our metabolic wallet EACH DAY!
So instead of having salad and chicken you have PASTA. Or maybe chicken, beans and rice with DESSERT.
At about 750 we slow things down but this is the point. Remember how much your limited and rigid choices were with lower calories? Now you have 750 more calories to work with and frankly, for most people it doesn’t stop there.
And this doesn’t speak at all about your sleep, your activity and your mental state, all of these things improve as calories come back.
Want to know how fun calorie counting can be? Think about having enough room to have a scoop of ice cream, or two.
If we know that dieting is supposed to be temporary (and we do) then we also should know that we need a smart way to bring calories back to normal.
Calorie counting is the best way to do that by far, it’s not even close. If you do it intuitively you will often end up under-eating. Which begs the question:
Do I count calories forever? The answer is I DON’T but some people like accountability.
Here is what I do once I start eating intuitively. I am a man and I am remotely active. I can stay relatively weight stable at 3500 calories a day so at about 3000 calories I start eating intuitively.
I weigh myself daily as an alternative way to check in and people often find this funny but if my weight dips I tend to opt for calorie sources that are higher the next day.
The reason is simple, you shouldn’t be trying to lose weight all of the time. That’s called a diet and as I explained before, dieting is best in cycles, preferably short and aggressive cycles before calories go back to normal. Normal is different for everyone but what I can tell you is you want to push normal as much as you can while staying weight stable. Especially if you still have weight you want to lose down the road.
So that’s it, if you want to stop hating calorie counting do it by pushing your calories up and you will find a whole other level of enlightenment but what you can’t do is have the expectation of weight going down all of the time.
Trust me, the ice cream and pasta will hold you over for a bit
If you need a better approach to food our coaches can help. We provide one on one coaching (you can start with a Free Trial, Custom Meal Plan and make sure to ask about our weekly challenges) simply click the link below
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Even the programs that reverse don’t do a good job because they cave to the fear of their clients or they let AI (artificial intelligence) do the work.