In this article I will go over some key points about counting calories. Losing weight in a healthy, controlled manner is possible for everyone and you might not need to count calories. In this article, I will incorporate a real life example from a client's experiences so you can make an informed decision on what is right for you. Let's find out more and see if calorie tracking is the key to weight loss success or failure.
You have no doubt been a calorie counter at one time or another and might have had some level of weight loss success. One of my clients (let's call her Betty) was a religious calorie tracker when I first met her. She tracked everything from breakfast to bed time in a self prepared spreadsheet. It was an impressive amount of information. Even with all of this information, she was only able to lose 15 lbs in 3 months. There was a reason for her limited success but I will go over that later. Even with her success there was a big problem. She was getting tired of tracking all of the calories. It became a tedious and time consuming task. She resented having to track the calories and gave up. Within a month, she quickly realized that all the 15 lbs that she and lost had returned.
So in this case, even though Betty jumped in with both feet with good intensions to track everything, her limited success along with the tedious tracking lead to weight loss failure. The cause of the failure, she made her weight loss experience a job. She turned a need for a healthy lifestyle into work and as many of us know, if you don't enjoy the work you are doing, you are more than likely to stop doing it.
You Need To Be Aware of Calories
In Betty's case, I told her that she needed to be aware of the calories that she was ingesting instead of just counting calories. At first she thought I was just giving her some double talk as she felt these were the same thing. The differences are as follows:
Counting Calories - Lose weight by counting/recording every calorie of every food that you ingest until you reach your daily maximum value. Stop eating when you reach your daily maximum value no matter what time of day it is or how hungry you are.
Calorie Aware - Being calorie aware means making better food choices that are healthier and are naturally lower in calories. Also you watch how much of your favorite foods you eat during a day. It is nothing more than being informed on the number of calories in foods and then making a healthier choice.
Being calorie aware allows you to eat what you want while watching what you eat. Your choices are your own and you know that if you "pig out" you will need to cut back elsewhere to balance your calories. It happens almost automatically as your conscience just knows that you have eaten too much and needs to correct for it in the next meal. Sounds odd yet I have seen it happen many times.
Some will still have trouble with this so I will often suggest a weight loss training program that helps them learn how to make healthier meal choices. I put Betty on one such program and found that her success was almost immediate. After only being on the program for 6 months, she lost over 42 lbs and felt comfortable enough to stop the program and continue on her own. The last time I talked to Betty, she was still off the program and achieved her total 87 lbs of weight loss she had been seeking. When I asked her what she thought about eating now compared to counting calories she replied "I find it much easier now and I'm no longer stressed about what I am eating or having to count calories. I am in a position now that I am able to maintain my weight loss without worries."
And that is the true measure of successful weight loss.