Written by: Bailey Brown
I get asked a lot about calories. How many I eat, how many you should be eating etc. The truth is, I never count calories. WHY? For the most part I eat a very healthy diet and I’m active so even when I do eat a pan of brownies or a tub of ice cream I know it’ll balance itself out. Plus the brownies are typically gluten-free and vegan, so whatever.
As an experiment I tracked my calories for a week on My Fitness Pal. Okay, almost a week because I got bored after 4 days. What I learned.
1) It does make you think about what you put in your mouth: aka do I really want to put goji berries, flax AND chia seeds in my oats? UGH thats so much tracking! Not in a good way either. I like adding nutrition to meals wherever I can.
2) It wants me to eat A TON OF FOOD: I was getting anxiety over not being able to stomach 2500+ calories it wanted me to shove down my throat just to maintain my weight… I mean am I starving myself?! Hell no. I don’t think my body will evaporate on what I feel good eating in a day MFP, so chill. Some days I’m hungry, some days I’m not, and some days I eat more than the guy on Man vs. Food.
3) It may not be accurate as people think: Sure you can log your workouts, but unless you wear a Heart Rate Monitor you can only have an estimate of your calories burnt through working out. I think that people work out more so they can eat more, but you shouldn’t look at exercise as an excuse to eat, you should do it because you like it and it’s good for you, not because your App told you to.
4) Nutrients matter more than calories: Calorie counting when you’re trying to lose weight makes people think that they should eat something with less calories because it will make them skinnier, although it may not be the healthier choice. For example if you want dessert you may go eat Tasti D-lite, a chemical shit storm, because it’s 100 calories a service INSTEAD of organic coconut dream ice cream, which is full of healthy fats and probiotics, but 280 calories for the same size serving. I will always pick the option with more NUTRIENTS regardless of calories.
Another reason, my OCD would be off the charts if I started tracking every morsel that went in my mouth. It would take the fun out of food.
A lot of people find it helpful to track their food and exercise intake, through many of the Apps available, because it keeps them accountable. I encourage a lot of my nutrition clients to send me a 3-5 day diet diary before I put together a wellness program for them. That way I can see what food they like, what foods trigger them to eat more, what time of day they experience an energy crash, when they’re likely to give in to cravings etc. Once you’re used to eating healthy though I recommend you just go with it because you’re body is a lot smarter than any App.
What about you guys? Do you count calories? Keep a Food journal?
Until next time…x
Natural Nutrition Student