Should you calorie count? If you are trying to lose weight, counting calories could could be hurting your weight loss progress. With all the fitness bands out there like Fitbit and apps like Myfitnesspal, calorie counting is very popular. But just because it is popular doesn’t mean it is helpful towards your weight loss journey.
I recently tested out Myfitnesspal, after hearing many of my clients using it. Here is what happened…
I WAS OBSESSED WITH COUNTING CALORIES AND FOOD! All I could think about was what I ate, how many calories it had, what I can eat next, and how soon until my next meal. Food became an obsession. I was stressed over what I can eat and couldn’t eat. Because I couldn’t eat certain foods (because they were too high in calories), I started thinking about it, and stressing over it… and of course, stress leads to binge eating. Needless to say, counting calories did NOT help me lose weight. It took dieting to a whole new level … I became OCD with food. I thought about
After 4 days, I came to my senses and deleted the app. Here’s what I learned.
1) Calorie counters are great to teach you the calories of certain foods that you didn’t think had much calories… fyi, red wine has about 100 calories in a 4 oz pour. Who knew??
2) Calorie Counters help you understand what proper portion sizes are, since you have to track portion sizes along with logging the actual foods.
3) If you have a tendency to be obsessive, STAY AWAY FROM CALORIE COUNTERS. It will cause you to have more cravings, since you are constantly thinking about food.
If you can use a calorie counter and not obsessive over food, fantastic! If you are like me, here is a great alternative. Use a food diary instead and write down your meals. It causes you to stay accountable without going overboard. Writing it down and reviewing it daily gives you an idea what you are eating. I recommend writing down the emotion you are feeling before and after eating. This will help you figure out why you are eating certain types of foods (sweets, salty…etc) and if you are truly hungry, bored, or if you are eating because of a particular emotion. For most of us, eating is caused by an emotion, filling a void or using it as a reward to make us feel better. Aim to use other ways to reward yourself instead of food. It could be a relaxing walk with friends, taking a long bath, or reading a good book. Developing healthy habits is the key to successful weight loss.
What are you thoughts on calorie counters? Have they helped you or hurt you? I’d love to hear your thoughts!