For years and years, even long before my time, we have been taught that if you want to lose weight you have to count how many calories you are taking in and how many calories your burning out. Better known now as CICO (calories in calories out). I started with this method when I was in my twenties and I found that as long as I was diligently calculating I would indeed lose weight. The issue is that the second I would get a little slack I would gain back what I lost and then some. It was a vicious cycle that I fell in and out of from the age of 21 until the age of 35. So what changed when I turned 36? I realized that I was focusing all my energy on calories and none of the other important nutrients that I needed. I also found myself chasing an endless cycle of hunger, as well as being constantly discouraged because I was following the “rules” and they were not helping.
Enter controversy…. STOP counting calories. I haven’t counted a single calorie since May 29, 2018 and I have now lost 65.7 pounds and over 97 inches off my body. I found that after my initial adaptation period to my new way of eating that I did not need to focus on my calories due to the fact that by the time I focused on the macronutrients I needed each day I was full! I actually felt full and satisfied and not left craving more! There are days that I know I went over my calories and there were days when I know was under the calories, as far as a standard suggested calorie intake was concerned. It didn’t matter I started to listen to my body and I simply stopped eating when I was full.
It is not easy to take on a new way of eating no matter what it is, and I see so many people struggle because they make it so much harder on themselves than they should. There comes a point where you become obsessed with every detail of every food and exercise and you find yourself not living but only functioning to achieve one goal. I spent a few weeks at best learning what I needed and what worked for me and then I just did it and I’m living while I do it. I don’t stress out when something comes out and I have to change my eating plans because I know it will be okay. If I was focused on CICO it can become super stressful when you have to go off plan. Guess what stress causes cortisol levels to spike, and high cortisol levels will prohibit weight loss. So less worry about calories, could mean less stress, which means less cortisol, which means better chances of losing weight.
I’m not by any means saying that if you want to count calories you shouldn’t. I think you should do what works for you and if counting calories makes you happy then continue. All I am is saying that it is something that is not longer important to me because I’ve learned my body and know what it needs. It’s been months since I’ve over eaten anything and it feels amazing. Happy NOT counting to those who feel this way, and happy counting to those who don’t.