Why I Stopped Counting Calories

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Do you obsess over calories? Do you not care at all? Either way, calories are very real. But they are also different from one another. 200 calories of broccoli is going to treat you body much better than a 200 calorie candy bar.

I used to count calories on MyFitnessPal. It’s an awesome app filled with recipes, blog posts, and every tool you need to start a healthier lifestyle. It really helped me realize what I was eating and what I thought was a great healthy day, actually had treats and snacks that I had completely forgotten about. Go figure. Writing down what I ate gave me a great sense of my overall health and what I was putting in my body. It helped me pass up a second helping, or second treat if I had already had something “bad” that day. But it also made me completely obsessed with counting calories. On all calorie counting apps and devices, it generalizes what your body needs and how much you burn on a personal level. I was constantly worried about going over my “recommended” amount of daily calories to stay “on track”. What does that even mean? I would reach my recommended number before the end of the day, and still need to eat dinner. This would always consume my thoughts and I would worry about being in the red on my app.

I stopped tracking what I ate and stopped focusing on calories. With a much clearer head, I now focus on what I’m eating, not how many calories I’m going over my limit. I focus on eating real food, made from real ingredients. You can’t really go wrong with that. By sticking to mostly veggies, proteins and whole grains, I don’t feel the need to rack up the calorie count. I still like to use my app, to continue getting the whole picture of what I consume in a day. I don’t look at calories, but at the foods I log. It helps me stay on track and see patterns in how I feel, what food make me crave others, and what times of day I eat. Which are all helpful things to keep in mind.

If you don’t write down what you eat, try it! Without focusing on the numbers, take a look at everything you eat in a day- maybe even record how you felt that day. Were you tired? Did your stomach ache? Did you feel energized and happy? These can all reflect what you ate.  It’s fun to see the patterns and how food affects you.

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