Today I explain why I don’t count calories and why I traded it for focusing on eating nutrient-rich, real food! And what’s improved since I have!
Some of you may have noticed I don’t include a calorie count on my recipes. And since this is a health blog you may be questioning why not. The answer is quite simple:
I don’t count calories.
I have counted calories in the past. Whilst the practice can be helpful in knowing what foods to eat and what to avoid, I find the whole process to be not only tedious but also detrimental to my mental health. Whilst tracking calories I found myself becoming engrossed with making sure every morsel that I consumed fits into this perfect number that I’m not even sure is correct because is there really a magic number of calories that we must consume every day?
Your health is not just about the food you consume. It is your state of mind. I know I’m not the only person who has taken obsessing over food too far. When I was counting calories I also didn’t have a diet as rich in nutrients as I do now. After all, if you are strictly focused on how many calories are in every mouthful of food you eat, you soon become accustomed to shaping your diet around foods that fit the numbers, not foods that are best for your health.
The result of this was that I was always hungry and I focused solely on what I couldn’t have. I wasn’t satisfying my hunger or nourishing my body enough and I wasn’t even losing very much weight.
Nowadays I adopt the Just Eat Real Food (or JERF) approach to diet. I feel my best and look my best when I just keep it simple – eat as many whole foods as possible and try to keep sugar out of my diet as much as possible. I don’t believe that carbs are evil. I’m yet to be convinced that vegan or vegetarian is the way to go full time (and I have tried stints at both). I won’t give up sugar entirely and will damn well enjoy a donut if I want too!
So, the simplest way that I’ve found to maintain my weight and feel my best is to eat real food the majority of the time. I listen to my body and give it what it wants. And I try to pretend that I never knew what a damn calorie was in the first place.
I’ve found since ditching counting calories and focusing on eating nutrient-rich foods that:
- I’m happier
- I feel more nourished and satisfied by my meals
- I obsess less about food
- I maintain my weight easily (initially I lost weight but now it’s stabilised at a healthy level)
Not counting calories has worked for me! But that doesn’t mean that you can’t count calories!
There are some fantastic apps out there that allow you to enter a recipe and get the calories as well as the nutritional breakdown, such as MyFitnessPal and Lose It!. If this helps you on your healthy journey, use it! It’s all about what works for you.
My goal for Be Forever Healthier is to provide you healthy and simple recipes that you can prepare without stressing over numbers or time! These are recipes you can feel good about making and good about eating. So, tell me –
Do you count calories? If not, what works for you?