There is a reason why so many people recommend calorie counting for weight-loss. It’s because it actually works. You’ll hear conflicting advice on this all over the internet, from the media, from people at your gym, from your grandma….. you get the picture.
It’s often recommended that a person shouldn’t have to count calories in order to be healthy. I agree, you can be totally healthy and not count calories. You may even lose a few pounds by not tracking your food and just eating a very clean diet. This is obviously the most recommended route because the goal is to eat whole, natural foods.
If you are eating the same healthy, portion-controlled meals consistently and you rarely deviate from what you normally eat (no eating out frequently, trying new recipes, or eating treats) then this approach would work well for losing weight without calorie counting. It’s incredibly rigid and limits what you can eat and the amounts, but it works if you happen to be perfect.
BUT if you live in the real world where people actually eat at restaurants, enjoy a sweet treat once in a while, and celebrate holidays that involve eating many different foods, you need to track calories in a food log so that you are staying on track with your weight-loss goals and health.
If you are trying to lose a substantial amount of weight, it’s almost essential to track the food you are eating and knowing your calorie intake limits. More importantly, it’s great to track your macronutrients instead of calories, because not all calories are created equal. But that’s a subject for another time.
Being someone who has maintained a 125+ pound weight-loss for the last 6 years, I will tell you that I always tracked my food during my weight-loss journey, because my food choices were not the best at first. They got better as I realized how I was really eating and how much of it. I only came to this realization because I was tracking the food I ate by writing it down.
As someone who is maintaining my weight-loss, I go back and forth with food tracking. IF I were trying to lose a bit more weight, I would go back to tracking my food intake. IF I am maintaining, I stop tracking most days. I only track when I need to start holding myself accountable again or if I want to lose 5-10 pounds.
It’s not something you have to do all of the time when you are maintaining, but it’s important for losing weight and for checking in with yourself if weight starts to creep back on.
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