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Stop Counting Calories to Lose Weight

Lisa Eirene

About Lisa Eirene Lisa lost 110 pounds through calorie counting and exercise. She swims, bikes, runs, hikes and is enjoying life in Portland, Oregon. Her weight loss story has been featured in First Magazine, Yahoo Health, Woman's Day and Glamour.com.

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24 Comments

  1. Carrie @ Season It Already!

    I am with you. I’m overwhelmed with it all. Counting calories is simpler. The all or nothing approach does not work for me either! It’s too restrictive. However, I do try to incorporate fruits and vegetables into my day as much as possible as well as make sure I’ve got protein goin’ on. I’m not sure intuitive eating would work for me either. I think I’d have a lot of other food issues to overcome first…
    Carrie @ Season It Already! recently posted..Surdyk’s Flights – Getting to the Airport

    1. Lisa Eirene

      I never feel badly if I go over calories with fruits or vegetables. In my mind, that’s ok.

  2. K @ Finding a Skinnier me

    I worry more about carbohydrates than calories due to my health condition but I agree it is all very overwhelming. Especially since there are so many different opinions about the right amount calories to eat etc. I just try to concentrate mostly on no processed food (hard one for me), eating regular meals/snacks and eating mostly veggies, fruit and meat.But counting calories has helped me realize how many are in fast food meals or eating out which has been very helpful in losing weight and why I continue to count!
    K @ Finding a Skinnier me recently posted..Oh How Pinteresting Wednesday and WIAW

    1. Lisa Eirene

      I think you just have to find what works for you. High protein diets don’t work for everyone (diabetics for example) but it works for me.

  3. Biz

    I do think calories matter too. When I first started WW, those Bakers Breakfast Cookies came out and because they were so high in fiber, they ended up being 1 point each – they were huge and filling!

    Fast forward a couple years, and they changed their labeling – calling 1 cookie 1/2 a serving and it ended up being a 300 calorie cookie! Sometimes I ate two because I was only “using” 2 WW points.

    I use fatsecret.com to track my calories and to get nutrition labels for my recipes – love it!
    Biz recently posted..Almond Poppy Seed Pancakes

    1. Lisa Eirene

      Interesting! I wonder if other people feel the same way comparing calories to points?

      1. Karen P

        Ha! I remember the Baker’s breakfast cookie calorie “bait and switch”. I would order half a case to put in the freezer. Probably explains why I found it “so hard” to loose weight. :0
        Karen P recently posted..June 2013 challenge and the official start of Summer

  4. Roz@weightingfor50

    I count weight watchers points….and though it is a tiring and boring exercise at times, its something that works when its done properly. Its very obvious that all calories aren’t created equal, and I feel so much better spending points on filling healthy foods rather than junk. BUT…I had to go through all kinds of trial and error to reach that conclusion. Thanks for the through provoking post Lisa, have a great day.
    Roz@weightingfor50 recently posted..The Daily Goose

    1. Lisa Eirene

      I do too! “Spending” my calories on something worth it is what helps me.

  5. Deb

    I totally agree with it that learning to eat the right kinds of foods is a huge boon to the undertaking. I’ve found the better I eat, the less processed foods, the easier my losses are. I’ve also found healthier foods are not always more expensive.

    I also very briefly tried the intuitive eating thing and my intuition told me to eat everything in the house… lol. Like you, I couldn’t trust my body to say it had had enough thanks to years of bad eating habits.

    And yup. WW is totally calorie counting, though don’t ask me how many I eat in a day. I honestly don’t know or care as long as the scale keeps moving. 🙂
    Deb recently posted..Ten Things Tuesday Day 591

    1. Lisa Eirene

      I’m sure with time and practice we learn to trust our bodies and maybe then intuitive eating works…right now, it doesn’t work for me.

  6. Lori

    I think you have to count something, whether it is portion size, calories, points, whatever. You just have to be aware of what you are eating. I think people can get really obsessive with exact calories and those people should stop counting. I have no problem with numbers and understand that they are an approximation at best.
    Lori recently posted..Tippy Pot Tutorial!

  7. Michelle @ Eat Move Balance

    Similar to how people have different learning styles, I think people have different eating styles as well. As a result, effective methods for losing weight can be varied.

    For me (and it’s taken some time to figure this out), it’s a blend of paying attention to calories, serving size and macro-nutrient ratios. And the overall theme that seems to impact things the most is sticking with whole, healthy foods 85% of the time.
    Michelle @ Eat Move Balance recently posted..KISS: Baked Salmon over Lightly Seasoned Spaghetti Squash

    1. Lisa Eirene

      85% of the time is a good number.

  8. Karen P

    I have found eating whole foods, removing grains & dairy, and looking closely at carbs to be absolutely key in weight loss/maintenance. My carbs in weight maintenance are very, very narrow- so my weight can be effected by eating too much fruit on low activity days.

    I wish I had understood this all the times I yo-yo’ed around. I can eat on the higher end of my calorie range on more active days- and a few more carbs, too- but there is a very fine line cut-off.

    I track on MFP about 80% of the time. Keeps me on track.
    Karen P recently posted..June 2013 challenge and the official start of Summer

    1. evilcyber

      As long as you stay in your “calorie range” you won’t gain weight, it doesn’t depend on what you eat. That you are more comfortable staying within that range by limiting carbohydrates is another matter.
      evilcyber recently posted..Bite-Size Candies: Your Weight Loss Enemies

    2. Lisa Eirene

      That’s interesting about the fruit!

  9. Diane Fit to the Finish

    Calories absolutely matter. That being said, I counted (or monitored) fat percentage which in essence had a similar affect. Fat has a lot more calories than carbs/protein so I naturally began to eat fewer calories. I also became a dedicated measurer of foods to help me control my portion sizes. We all have to find what works and for me, intuitive eating did not. I had too many emotional issues tied up with food to make that work for me, but I admire people who make it work.
    Diane Fit to the Finish recently posted..Entitled Eating: Satisfying the Now

    1. Lisa Eirene

      How do you feel about eating GOOD fats? Like avocado is really healthy but high in fats.

  10. evilcyber

    To be honest, I dislike the idea of “intuitive eating,” as choosing foods “intuitively” is what I reckon made a lot of people overweight in the first place – when I was overweight, my intuition told me that it’s quite alright to eat a pizza and then, as a late meal, have nachos with cheese dip.

    Other than that, I agree with you: counting calories worked for you (and for me), and while limiting calories is behind every successful loss of weight, counting them does not work for everybody.
    evilcyber recently posted..Bite-Size Candies: Your Weight Loss Enemies

    1. Lisa Eirene

      Yep! Your “intuitive eating” sounds like mine! 😉

  11. Jess

    I lost nearly 50lb through reducing my portion and limiting junk. I am more of an intuitive eater, I guess 🙂 I counted calories a few times, but not religiously. I mainly did it for a few days at a time to check myself, making sure I was eating what I thought I was. I eat similar foods most days so calorie counting every day would be redundant. I actually had my biggest problem when I got to my goal weight. I increased my intake, but not enough. I have lost around 4lb in 3 months because I guess I am eating just under maintence. Some people would love that problem, I’m sure, but I had just invested in size 10 stuff(which was a little loose) but the 4lb along with the weights I do has pushed me firmly into a size 8, and I can’t afford to buy new clothes.

    1. Lisa Eirene

      Limiting junk is half the battle! And that alone can make a huge difference. I totally understand the quandary about clothing sizes. I went through the same thing. Just as I thought I’d be ok for awhile at one size, I’d get over the plateau and lose more. Not that I am complaining but buying new clothes is expensive!

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