5 problems with calorie counting. Hutton Health

5 problems with calorie counting

11th June 2023

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In a mission to lose weight, many people turn to calorie counting as a way to ensure that they are not consuming too many calories.

I am sure you have heard the formula that in order to lose weight, your calories in must be less than the calories out (calories consumed lower than the calories burned in a given day). In order to ensure that you are creating a caloric deficit, there is definitely a temptation to count calories.

It is easy to get fixated on the numbers on a scale. These numbers can dictate how you FEEL about your body and your health journey. When the number creeps up, even by a small amount, it can have a negative impact on your mental health and confidence.

Find out other things to consider on your health and weight loss journey in this blog, Non-scale ways to track weight loss.

Calorie counting has been a popular weight loss strategy for many years, but although it can prove successful in the short term, there are some problems with calorie counting for long term weight loss. 

Here are 5 problems with calorie counting for long term weight loss:

  1. Calorie counting is not sustainable

Calorie counting is exhausting, restrictive and time consuming and it requires discipline and effort that is difficult to maintain in the long run. Taking the time to count the calories in every bit of food and the drinks that you consume is hard!

  1. Calorie counting does not encourage a healthy relationship with food

Counting calories encourages you to label foods as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ based on the number of calories that they have. Rather than enjoying the food that you are eating and the pleasure of cooking, calorie counting creates a feeling of pressure and stress around food.

It is easy to become obsessive on what you are eating rather than enjoying the food in front of you and the pleasure of eating. Calorie counting can make it difficult to have a healthy relationship with food when it is surrounded by feelings of guilt and anxiety.

  1. Calorie counting can lead to weight fluctuations rather than sustainable weight loss

When you are committed to calorie counting, you are likely to lose weight, but if you stop restricting your calories for a period of time, you risk putting the weight back on. This cycle of weight loss and weight gain can knock your confidence and motivation.

Strict calorie counting and restriction can result in a slower metabolism which makes long term weight loss difficult to maintain.

Basing your weight loss strictly on calorie counting makes it challenging to maintain a healthy weight long term.

  1. Calorie counting doesn’t consider the quality of food

When you focus solely on calorie counting to lose weight, you risk missing out on consuming essential nutrients that you receive from nutrient dense food. Processed foods may be low in calories, but they won’t necessarily provide the nutrients your body needs for optimal health. 

Making healthy food choices based on their nutritional quality as well as their calorie count is important in ensuring you are fuelling your body well.

  1. Calorie counting can make you feel like you are depriving yourself

Calorie counting can lead to a deprivation mindset as you are continually focused on everything you consume and likely end up depriving yourself of some of your favourite foods. 

Feeling deprived for a period of time can lead to rebound eating and resulting intense feelings of guilt if you overindulge.

Here are 5 problems with calorie counting for long term weight loss:

Although calorie counting may be a successful weight loss strategy for some, there are other ways to lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way. This recent blog shares 7 tips for a healthy weight loss journey.

Your mind is a powerful tool that plays an integral part of any weight loss journey. Focus on improving your mindset to improve your health and lose weight in a sustainable way. This blog shares tips to reframe your thinking to create a positive weight loss mindset.

Looking to improve your mindset? Check out 'Unlocking your Unlimited Potential'

Check out 'Unlocking your Unlimited Potential'

Download Hutton Health's FREE Meal Planner to help set yourself up for long term success.