‘Why I Stopped Counting Calories For Weight Loss’ – Monica May
Okay, babes, we need to talk.
It’s time for one of those conversations that are on the controversial side.
And to be honest, I am a bit nervous.
Why, you ask?
Well, counting calories for weight loss became so popular that I feel like everyone is doing it.
And I really don’t want to offend anyone or make someone feel small, so please have in mind that I know you’re doing the best you can for yourself.
The thing is, I get tons of emails on a daily basis from women that started my BBB Meal Plan asking me:
‘Isn’t this too much food? I am afraid I’ll gain weight. How many calories I get through this meal plan?’
I read this and I panic right away because the thing is – I have NO IDEA.
I don’t know how many calories are in any of the meals of my 28-day meal plan that I created to help women lose weight and get fit.
And I don’t really have to know, however, coming as someone who’s been on a low calorie diet, I can fully understand all of these concerns.
I know because I was that person just a few years back, and when I finally stopped counting calories for weight loss my life changed completely.
I am the fittest that I’ve ever been, I feel good, I feel strong, balanced, and just happy.
And all of that happened when I stopped counting calories.
So, I challenge you to take a few moments and just hear my story and hear me out.
My meal plan has helped thousands of women to lose weight, get fit, and find their balance, and I really want you to read this.
Stay with me as I go through the reasons why I stopped counting calories, how it helped me get healthy, and what I did instead.
Let’s get started right away!
Why I Stopped Counting Calories For Weight Loss
Reason #1: All Calories Are Not The Same
We’ve been told for years that losing weight is all about a simple math – calories in vs calories out.
It’s a common-sense among everyone that if you eat fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight. If you eat more calories than you burn you will gain weight.
A low calorie diet makes sense…
However, the reality is a bit different, simply because the human body is more complex than that.
I know we’ve all heard it, a calorie is a calorie, and all calories are the same – except that’s not true.
A calorie is a calorie in its most simple form, in terms of measure unit, the same as one pound is one pound.
However, one pound of silver and one pound of gold is not the same – meaning, it’s what’s inside that calorie that makes the difference.
And the main difference is actually in the biochemical reaction that calories cause in the human body.
It’s the biochemistry of the calorie that makes one calorie different than another, simply because not all calories are processed the same way once they are inside our body.
In fact, different calories go through different biochemical processes once they enter our body and a simple example of that is fructose and glucose.
Fructose and glucose are both sugars.
They have the same amount of calories and have almost the same chemical formula.
However, to your body, the two of them are completely different:
Glucose can be metabolized by all of the body’s tissues without causing any problems or risks.
Fructose on the other hand, can only be metabolized by the liver to a certain amount. Anything over the limit causes problems with the pancreas, insulin, and liver function.
Not to mention having different effects on hunger, hormones, and metabolic health.
My point is: yes, we were told that all calories are the same, and it doesn’t matter what the food is as long as it’s low in calories.
However, nowadays, we know for a fact that’s not true.
Burning more calories each day than you consume may have been the diet advice from the past, but that doesn’t work for everyone.
Instead, the focus should be on eating whole foods and avoiding processed carbohydrates — like crackers, cookies, or white bread.
Which brings us to the next reason…
Reason #2: Low-Calorie Food Doesn’t Mean Healthy Food
Oh no, it doesn’t!
Looking back, I can see how I always chose foods that lacked nutrients just because they were low in calories.
And that is the main problem I had with calorie counting.
I would always choose to have a low-calorie drink instead of a smoothie, just because it said on the bottle that it’s low in calories.
Of course, it’s better, right?
Except it’s not.
The few calories of those drinks will never beat the calories of a healthy smoothie made out of banana, spinach, berries, and chia seeds.
You know why?
Because it’s not healthy.
What we often forget when we count calories is that food isn’t made up of calories alone.
And while I’ll get only sugar and sodium out of a low-calorie sports drink, the smoothie will provide me with protein, fiber, healthy fats, iron, zinc, and other essential vitamins and minerals my body needs to feel energized and be healthy.
These nutrients help with body processes from building muscle to improving energy to boosting the immune system to speeding up metabolism and a whole lot of other benefits.
They also help me stay satisfied and full for longer.
So, instead of watching our calorie intake, we should focus on eating healthy, raw foods, loaded with nutrients.
At the end of the day, it’s our health that matters the most.
Reason #3: I Was Feeling Hungry All The Time
Just a few days ago I sat with an old friend of mine at a restaurant.
It was lunchtime, so we ordered some.
I decided to go for my usual:
‘I’ll have arugula goat cheese salad for starters, then chicken fajitas in whole grain tortillas, and some extra guacamole on the side, please.’
My friend just looked at me and said ‘Wow, you’re hungry! I’ll just have a salad.’
After saying that that’s the amount of food I usually have for lunch, my friend told me she could only ever dream of ordering that, because it’s too ‘high calorie” for her and she would gain fat.
My heart cracked, because looking back, I was that girl.
I was dying to order the amount of food that I ordered today.
Not to mention that I literally had the chills whenever I was eating out, being scared to order because I couldn’t accurately weigh my foods or know what was in my meals.
And looking back in the days when I was counting calories for weight loss, I can remember being hungry all the time.
I was never full. Never.
‘What’s wrong with me? When I will adjust to these portions?’
I never did.
And this is actually why low calorie diet doesn’t work for so many people.
First of all, food was actually CONSTANTLY on my mind.
And this wasn’t just exhausting and sad, but it was good for my mental health.
It made me feel restricted and it made me hate dieting.
I was fearing food, and I was obsessing myself with calories and numbers all the time that it started making me sick.
And a healthy diet shouldn’t be about eating less – it should be about eating right.
And anything that feels like malnourishment is just not good for you.
You may not know this but the human body has a thing called “volume counter” too.
This means you won’t get full by eating just calories – they would have to fulfill a certain volume in the stomach too.
This explains the reason why I felt hungry all the time.
Plus, eating less than your body needs will do more harm than you think.
For starters, it will slow down your metabolism, which is not a good thing.
You may lose weight short term, but once you’re done with your diet you’ll gain more weight than you used to have.
This only happens when diet slows down your metabolism, because of eating less nutrients than your body needs for fuel.
Plus, when you’re hungry all the time, you are more likely to reach for unhealthy foods and binge eat at the end of the day, which is exactly what happened to me.
In the end, if your goal is to get healthy and lose weight long term, you shouldn’t feel hungry and restricted all the time.
Losing weight and eating healthy is not about eating less, it’s about eating right, and we have to change that.
Reason #4: It Wasn’t a Sustainable Solution For Me
I just couldn’t imagine myself counting calories for the rest of my life.
It was not a sustainable option for me at all.
I knew I couldn’t go on like this, obsessing myself with numbers and seeing food as simple as banana as sugar that equals fat that equals gain weight.
I was never going to get used to it.
Since obsessing with numbers and feeling hungry all the time was exhausting for me, I was taking breaks every now and then.
I would reach a certain goal, and then I would take a break.
And with every break I took, I was gaining my weight back even faster than before.
I was shocked.
Later I learned that this was due to the well-known “yo-yo” effect many women experience with most of the diets.
As soon as we stop eating less and we get back to our old eating habits, we have all the calories we used to have but we now need less of them.
This is usually due to our slowed-down metabolism that usually happens after a period of not eating enough.
With a slower metabolism, consuming what used to be a normal amount for us is now feeling like overeating to the body.
That’s why I gained more weight after finishing a diet.
And then it hit me.
If I wanted to stay fit long term, I needed a long term solution.
I needed something that wouldn’t feel like a restriction.
And after going through lots of researches and data about calories and healthy food, I started realizing.
It all got clear.
What happened to me!? I became so obsessed with looking think that I completely lost sight of what a healthy diet really means.
I forgot about eating whole, fresh, real foods and most importantly, I forgot how to be happy around food.
And no one should feel like that. No one.
That’s when I started making my changes…
What Happened After I Quit?
Amazing things happened.
I know it can be scary just to think about not counting calories, but I promise you, it will be worth it.
When I stopped counting calories for weight loss, there was not one negative thing that happened.
I didn’t gain weight, I wasn’t overeating, and I wasn’t feeling hungry all the time.
On the contrary, I was eating just enough, the numbers on the scale started going down, I started building some lean muscles, I started getting fit and be more confident about lifting.
And most important of all, I didn’t see my meals as a math problem anymore.
For the first time in forever, I was super excited about eating, I was feeling happy around food, and I was feeling free.
All of the new foods I was getting into my diet made me feel super balanced, happy, and strong inside and out.
There is another way to stay healthy, lose weight once, and get fit for life, and it all starts with falling in love with healthy food.
And all of these reasons start with a single thing you can do – finding the right meal plan that works for you.
What To Do Instead?
Start eating healthy foods, and eat plenty of them.
As crazy as it sounds, eating less is not what it takes to lose weight.
What it takes to get healthier and start losing fat is eating the right foods.
So, start with a plan that focuses on getting you healthy and clean, instead of restricting you to portion sizes.
Don’t force yourself to eat more or less, just eat healthy listen to your body, eat intuitively, and most important of all ENJOY FOOD!!
To help all of you figure out how to eat healthy and lose weight long term, I designed a 28-day healthy food meal plan, called Burn Baby Burn.
In my meal plan, I focus on volume with the perfect formula where you can eat as much as you want without compromising the calorie intake.
Plus, you still have to enjoy the foods you eat at the end of the day, so start a meal plan that’s adjustable and satisfies your taste buds.
Always remember, eating healthy is about creating a sustainable lifestyle you enjoy and that looks different for everyone.
Everyone is different and thrives off different foods and different amounts of food and that’s totally fine.
We’re not made to be the same.
You can also check out my article What I Eat In A Day To Get Fit to learn more about eating healthy and losing weight.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me or comment in the section below.
Till next time,
Hey Monica! This was a great article with great information! I must say that you are 100% right and I think that people should stop focusing on eating less and counting every single calorie and actually what they should to is start eating proper healthy and satious foods. This is what many people get wrong about dieting and weight loss in my opinion. I struggled with weight loss as well and as soon as I started not caring about calories, I saw some changes.