I have made various comments regarding counting calories. I have offered wisdom to those who ask and I have my own personal story, but now I will share exactly why calorie counting doesn’t work for long-term weight loss. There are going to be people out there that read this and feel anger, resistance, fear, or many other emotions; this, however, is normal.
1. It is a stressor. Thinking about how many calories you eat, or writing it down, becomes a stressor in your life. We were never meant to count our food and exercise, we were meant to depend on our bodies’ natural wisdom. Therefore, this task becomes a stressor. Stress signals our body to store fat and burn muscle.
2. It has to be a lifestyle change. If you lose weight counting calories, then you are pretty much held to counting calories the rest of your life. If that is something you wish to endure, then you are fine. If you don’t wish to log your calories the remainder of your life, it is time for another solution.
3. What you resist will persist. If you continue to think about how many calories you have left in the day, and how you can’t eat X, Y, and Z, all you will be able to think about is how much food you want and need to consume.
4. Where attention goes, energy flows. When we continue to think about calories, calories, and calories, our entire energy shifts into little calorie counting machines. Now our lives become about numbers and have just a little less room for bigger, more amazing things to take place.
5. What’s with the skinny human garbage disposals? I know you know people who eat whatever they want and don’t gain weight. We tend to think they have some supergenes or supermetabolism, guess what, they don’t. It is impossible for me to say why thin people don’t gain weight without knowing the person, but there is a reason and it has nothing to do with their eating or exercise.
6. Weight gain happens for a reason. We don’t just gain weight because our bodies hate us. We gain weight for a reason, to teach us something. If you don’t take the time to learn what that is (and for some of you it might just be more self care, self love, less stress) your body will not be able to drop the weight for good.
7. I am living proof. I worked out seven days a week, high intensity (sometimes two times a day), I counted my calories (and I tried various different numbers from 1200-2000) all I got was a constant gain on the scale. I stopped working out, stopped trying to lose weight (I was injured), and ate whatever I want and lost the weight.
8. It is not an exact science. We like to believe it is, because it would be an easy way to gage our weight fluctuations, but it simply isn’t. You can log everything, be perfect, and the scale can go up then do the same thing next week and it can go down. Weight loss is not simply a numbers game, it isn’t food and exercise, it’s bigger and smarter than that.
9. When we act out of fear, we get fear-based results. Many people will count calories or log their food out of fear (I know I did!). We are afraid if we don’t count we will gain (and we might) we are afraid if we don’t work out every single day, we will gain (once again, we might) but we are not gaining because we aren’t hard enough on ourselves, it is just the opposite.
10. Thank goodness it doesn’t work! I am so grateful that weight loss and weight gain doesn’t work in this manner. I am so happy that I can have my favorite beer, I can enjoy wine with dinner, I can have cookies everyday, I can choose to cook healthy meals with olive oil and other delicious flavors, I can do yoga and enjoy every minute of it without worrying about other exercises I don’t truly enjoy. Every person out there has the freedom to simply live and lose or maintain their weight. You can very easily eat whatever you want, and work out whenever you want, you just have to want to change your thinking.
It’s not too good to be true. There are tons of professional weight-loss coaches like myself that are here to help people lose weight without the torture of dieting, extreme exercise, and punishment. We are here to teach you that “no pain, no gain” isn’t the answer, we are here to teach you how weight loss can be fun.