So, should I be counting calories? My answer is a yes and no. For a short period of time counting calories may be beneficial, but I don’t encourage it long term.
Calories (or kilojoules) are the amount of energy in the food we consume. Some foods can be low in calories while others exceptionally high. Excess calorie intake often leads to fat storage and is typically why most people focus on counting calories.
Positives of Counting Calories
Initially I get my clients to use apps such as My Fitness Pal or similar ones more so for education. Knowledge is our greatest asset and I encourage my clients to learn which foods are healthier than others. Often foods are more calorie dense than we realize or we consume more than a standard serving size. Learning which foods have quality protein, fats, carbohydrates and calorie density is valuable. Counting calories can also be beneficial for accountability.
Negatives of Counting Calories
However, typically I only recommend this for a short period of time. Counting calories can tedious and mundane and many people fail to continue after a week or so. More importantly, the calorie amounts listed are not always completely accurate, as processing, water, soil quality, storage, packaging and production can vary the calorie density. So exact calorie intake can be a little hit and miss a lot of the time. Once we add in exercise, daily activity, metabolic levels, muscle mass, illness and hormones, gauging exactly how many calories are needed becomes complex.
So, therefore, my advice to clients is to log foods and learn which of the foods are generally good to have regularly. Acknowledge foods that are best to only enjoy occasionally and take some time to learn a little about what is in the food consumed. But, it need not become an obsessive, time consuming task that rules every meal and snack you choose to enjoy.
To help manage my nutrition I choose to use quality products that are nutrient dense and lower in calories. You can learn more here: https://beckurtz.com/simple-nutrition/