5 Reasons to never use a calorie counter to lose weight

Whole foods

I am all for using gadgets and the latest apps to help track fitness and weight management goals, but in my book a calorie counter shouldn’t be one of them.

Why you shouldn’t count calories.

Counting calories makes you feel deprived and restricted.

You focus on what you think you can’t do or have, rather on nourishment, adding value and improving food quality and you bet as soon as your brain thinks its being deprived, it’ll want to do exactly the opposite – rebel, “be bad”, and “break the rules”.

Counting calories doesn’t tell you about food quality.

Calorie watching won’t tell you if the food you’re eating is adding value to your body.

You can get 2,000 calories from healthy nutrient rich meals spread over a day.

Frappuccino and danish pastry

Or you can get it from a large Frappuccino and a couple of pastries. (Which one would you think is a better choice?)


As the saying goes, a high quality machine needs high quality fuel. If you’re working on building your body or a strong performance, put premium gas in your athlete tank.


Counting calories is inaccurate.

Calorie counts on food package labels are often wrong.

and calories are just a measure of energy. They don’t count, for instance, for the way that our bodies, digest, absorb and use this energy.

500 calories from a block of wood isn’t the same to our bodies as 500 calories from a stick of butter.(Leave the wood to the weight conscious termites.)

Researchers estimate that even meticulous calorie counting can be up to 25% off. That means if you try to eat 2,000 calories, even if you do it “perfectly” you could be eating anything between 1,500-2,500 calories. (And who counts calories “perfectly” anyway?)

Counting calories is a pain in the arse.

Unless you’ve got a food scale and meticulously weigh and track every morsel of food that goes into your body, you have no real idea how many calories you’re actually consuming.

what exactly is a “medium sized” apple anyway? What’s a “large serving” of Quinoa?

Do the bulk rolled oats you can get from whole foods contain the same calories  as the rolled oats from my local grocery shop?

Really, you’re just guessing, which kinda  defeats the whole purpose of counting calories.

To be honest? Just eat the bloody apple and forget the details.

Don’t be that obsessive calorie counting freak who nobody wants to have over to dinner.

Counting calories doesn’t focus on building habits.

You want to get in shape, feel good, and stay that way for life right?

Counting calories

A strong, lean, healthy drop dead gorgeous body doesn’t come from obsessing over a calculator. (You really can’t get that time back you know.)

That fit healthy body and lifestyle come from showing up and doing what matters, over and over.

You can get the body you want without ever being that meticulous.

I don’t believe in counting calories and neither should you.

Awareness beats calorie counting

You should to be aware of what food you are eating. why you’re eating it. When you’re eating. how you’re eating. how that food fuels your performance.

You should  be aware of what you’re thinking, doing and sensing.

Aware of your patterns, habits and triggers. Aware of what’s around you. and aware of what you’re doing well.

If you’re aware, you’re in control

You always carry your awareness around with you.

You probably don’t carry a food scale and calorie list. (And if you could, would you want to?)

Awareness is the only true way to get healthy and fit for life.


If you found this post helpful please leave a comment below or if you have any handy tips to keep you aware of how you fuel your body for fat loss or performance it would be great to hear them






  • Rachel

    Reply Reply October 28, 2016

    I love how you said “if you’re aware, you’re in control”. That is so true not only to your calorie intake but to life in general. I also agree with doing what matters for your body and not wasting time on counting calories. Great post!

    • fitbodycyclist

      Reply Reply October 28, 2016

      Thanks for that Rachel! I think we all could do with being a bit more “present” both physically and mentally.

  • Nnamdi

    Reply Reply October 29, 2016

    Wow! I guess you made a point there when you said one should depend on or make calorie counter a way of life. Because as losing weight is concerned it is a lifetime thing which means it is a way of life. So, if you keep on using calorie counter that means your life is kind of programmed and restricted as you rightly mentioned and therefore your effort at losing weight may not yield any positive result.

    Thank you for this insightful article

    • fitbodycyclist

      Reply Reply October 29, 2016

      Nnamdi, thanks for your feedback!Short term I think there can be a place for calorie counting, as a way of confirming your awareness to how you are reacting to the different demands of your lifestyle be it eating for performance, weight loss or trying to bulk up.

  • phil

    Reply Reply October 29, 2016

    Stan, thanks for the information. my weight has yoyo’d over the last few years. when i was at my largest i was the most inactive, so i found that even though i did not eat any more i was putting on weight.

    in my opinion it all comes back to balance. energy in and energy out, if you consume more than you need then you will put on weight. become a food accountant, as you say be aware of exactly what you eat and if you are putting on weight then eat less. leave a couple of forkfuls of food and see what difference that makes – or become more active
    – i can recommend the 5bx routine the canadian air force uses for men – it only takes about 5 minutes. there is a xbx for women.

    if you achieve balance in your life not only will your weight be stable but you will be healthier and function better.

    if you do more you can eat more, if you have a relaxing day eat less, very simple but effective.

    it is, as you say not worth counting the calories as it is very difficult to count how many you have used, so use a bit of common sense and eat what you need not what you want.

    • fitbodycyclist

      Reply Reply October 29, 2016

      Spot on Phil! I can think of 4 occasions in the past when I have experienced a substantial amount of weight gain (for me) and all of though’s have been due to a decrease in my activity for one reason or another, so I think you are absolutely correct.

  • Alham

    Reply Reply October 29, 2016

    This is so true I am a fitness guy who really loves doing sports and colorise does not make sense to me at all a workout a lot and at the same time I eat a lot so like this I stay healthy in shape and eat whatever I want thanks for the wonderful info.

    • fitbodycyclist

      Reply Reply October 29, 2016

      Great to hear from a fellow sportsman Alham. Keep seeking out healthy nutrient dense foods, stay active and you won’t go far wrong.

  • Steve

    Reply Reply October 30, 2016

    Ouch! You’re stepping on my toes. But really, I had been trying to make better choices with eating nutrient rich foods, but I kind of slacked off. Thanks for the reminder and encouragement.

    • fitbodycyclist

      Reply Reply October 30, 2016

      Not to worry Steve, there is plenty of room for the both of us! I’m looking forward to your stuff keeping me honest too.

  • Arthur Siew

    Reply Reply October 30, 2016

    Calories does not matter really in my opinion. What matter is what goes into your digestive system. You can either eat 2500 calories of hamburger or 2500 calories of grilled fish with a nice side of caesar salad.

    • fitbodycyclist

      Reply Reply October 30, 2016

      That’s the difference between calorie dense and nutrient dense foods Arthur! Thanks for your view point, it is much appreciated.

  • Linda

    Reply Reply October 30, 2016

    Very good article. As a Health Coach, I see it all the time how people are obsessed with counting calories. Too often doctors say ‘calories in and calories out’ and people still believe that myth. You have to live fully to have a full life and eating well and moving every day are part of living a full life. Good information!

    • fitbodycyclist

      Reply Reply October 30, 2016

      Thanks for that Linda, coming from a Health Coach it means a lot. We have a lot of conflicting information in my industry (fitness) at the moment, nice to see that we are on the same page.

  • Katie

    Reply Reply October 30, 2016

    I love this article. I used to be obsessed with counting calories but the realized that was a waste! There are so many people out there that still believe this, do thanks for writing this!

    • fitbodycyclist

      Reply Reply October 30, 2016

      You are welcome Katie! I really want to promote being aware of how, what and when you eat rather than obsessing about the numbers. Please keep in touch.

  • Brianna

    Reply Reply November 9, 2016

    I’ve never used a calorie counter to lose weight but I have to gain weight. I am underweight and wanted to count my calories to see if I was eating enough. Turns out I was only eating about half the amount of calories I was supposed to be in a given day. So I started to count my calorie intake. At first I loved it and I did start meeting my goal even if it was hard but after a while it was becoming such a pain. No matter if your trying to lose or gain weight I completely agree with you that counting calories is a complete pain! Every point you’ve mentioned I completely agree with in the sense of trying to gain weight as well. Great article!

    • fitbodycyclist

      Reply Reply November 11, 2016

      Thanks a lot for your comments Brianna! It just goes to show that creating awareness is important whether you are trying to lose or gain weight.

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