When it comes to whether or not you should count calories, there’s quite strong views on both sides of the debate.
Some say that you absolutely should, some say that it doesn’t work can possibly cause more harm than good.
Well, like I always say, it depends!
Let me give you my perspective and experience on this…
For *most* people I believe calorie counting is a solid strategy to use, and one I recommend but ONLY if done so in the right way.
The right way I hear you ask?
Yes, in my opinion there’s a right way and opposite to that, there’s a wrong way.
The right way includes using the numbers and tool as a guideline.
It is never going to be perfect, and quite honestly it doesn’t need to be, but it does need to be consistent.
When I work with a client, I encourage them to view calorie counting in the same way that they would view a bank statement.
No emotion, just numbers that are part of a much bigger picture.
Those numbers can help us make any adjustments necessary if we aren’t getting the results we’d like.
It should only take 3-5 minutes per day to track your calories, so in that respect it’s very manageable and not too much of a time commitment.
Another benefit of tracking calories is the educational element of it.
Most clients that track food for the first time report back to me that they didn’t realise what was in certain foods when it comes to calories and macros.
So let’s look at the possible pitfalls of calorie counting…
Firstly, if you’ve not got a level-headed coach by your side to provide context to the numbers, it can quite easily become quite an obsession.
With that being the case, if you have an eating disorder, paired with an obsessive personality, tread carefully.
Some people don’t want to track food because they’d rather not know the details.
That’s fine, but if you’re not getting results and not tracking calories, it’s going to be a guessing game as to what to do next.
Some people are ok with that and as long as they’re happy, it’s all good.
In my experience, tracking calories can only really go wrong if there’s too much emotion involved.
You don’t need to obsess about every single calorie to the point it’s taking over your life.
It’s only a tool and should always ever be treated as such.
Food should not be emotive.
You are not a better person for eating a salad, and you’re not a piece of shit for eating a pizza.
Lighten up, treat it as a game.
Some days you win, some days you lose.
You may calorie count for a short period of time to help educate yourself and then go to a more ‘intuitive’ way of eating.
For some people this works well.
You may calorie count for the long-term, I do and the reason I do that is just to take the guesswork away.
For less than 5 minutes of my time a day, I can make sure I am fuelling myself properly.
There’s no emotion when I track food, I view it in the same way I view brushing my teeth.
Just a consistent habit I can commit to that’s not too time consuming that will help me look, feel and perform to a level I’m happy with.
Nothing more, nothing less.
Some of my clients calorie count, some don’t.
When I start working with someone, I will outline the pro’s and con’s of it, and from there I will let make them make their own mind up.
Have a think if it’s a strategy you want to use, be it for an educational reason or to help fuel your performance and results.
Thanks for reading, have a great day.
Do you need confidential help with your health, fitness or nutrition? I have a range of services available, with Personal Training in my Private Gym in Manchester, also at your home or workplace in the surrounding areas. For clients further afield, I provide Online Personal Training, Nutritional Consultancy & Private Fitness Holidays.