Why Counting Calories For Weight Loss Doesn’t Work

(This is a guest post by RawRitta from www.rawritta.com)

Our ancestors were never told what to eat or how much to eat. Animals don’t think to themselves “hmm, what should I eat today and how much?” They just sniff the food and use their instinct to determine whether they want to eat that food or not. Isn’t that how humans should be also? I mean you don’t let anyone tell you what hobbies you should have, what kinds of music you should listen to, how to raise your children and so on. So why let others tell you what and how much to eat?!

Are you driving yourself insane with counting every single calorie that goes in your mouth? Are you using food and fitness trackers to figure out how much you’re eating, should be eating, and how much allowance you have left? I get it. I was once in your shoes. In fact, I used to enter more calories than I actually ate, just to “play it safe.” Let’s say I’d eat half of a small avocado, I’d instead enter half of a medium avocado because, in my head, I’d rather be safe and starving than full and satisfied. Do you or have you ever struggled with that as well?

We forget to have the connection with our heart and body.

I know how easy it can be to get addicted to counting calories and using fitness and calorie trackers. What happened to just eating whatever and whenever we wanted? What happened to our senses of just eating when we’re hungry, craving something, for fuel, for nourishment, and for joy? The short answer to that is simple. All day every day we are taught by the media to eat a certain way, look a certain way, be a certain way, basically be and do everything that’s not YOU! We’re also taught the whole idea of calories-in-calories-out. That more food means more weight. That we should fear certain foods. We forget who we truly are. We forget to have the connection with our heart and body. We forget to listen to our bodies and force it to eat and do things it’s not meant to do. We begin to trust a food app to determine our hunger and how much we should eat, over our own bodies! It’s kind of like saying that the app is smarter than your own body! Isn’t that ridiculous?

It’s hard to answer yes to this question when you are just focused on calories, exercise and so on. Or maybe you know you shouldn’t be doing it but it’s hard for you not to. Because you’re afraid to let go. Afraid that you’ll eat too much and end up gaining some weight. The truth is the whole, the calories-in-calories-out thing isn’t exactly great for our bodies. When you do the math it makes sense on paper, but it doesn’t make sense for our bodies. I know a woman who used to eat the cleanest diet and track every calorie, exercised every single day but she still held on to some belly fat. As soon as she reduced the time and intensity of her workouts, she finally shed that little extra fat she could never get rid of. You know why? Without getting too scientific about this I just want to briefly explain something to you, that’ll open your eyes.

Our body likes to hold on to fat when it’s under a lot of stress to protect you.

The Autonomic Nervous System has two branches. Sympathetic Nervous System (fight/flight mode, red zone) and Parasympathetic Nervous System, which is responsible for digestion, repair, rest reproductive system. When we’re in the red zone (which most of are most of the time, stressing, deadlines, work, mile long to do list, too much exercise, too little eating), your body only uses/burns glucose for fuel and not FAT. It likes to hold on to fat when it’s under a lot of stress to protect you. However, when we’re in the green zone our body uses fat as a source of fuel properly! So when she reduced her exercises, which caused so much stress on her body and lead her to be in the red zone almost all the time, she finally gave her body a chance to spend more time in the green zone, which resulted in her getting rid of the extra belly fat. That’s why calories in/out is NOT true for everyone!

Don’t be afraid to listen to your body and feed it when it’s asking for food. Don’t be afraid to trust it, let go of counting calories, because you’ll be surprised how much more you can actually eat to just stay the same weight, and even more if you want to gain some weight. I remember when I was recovering from my exercise addiction, I reduced my workouts and increased my calorie intake. I was surprised how much I could actually eat (without having to “make up for it” by working out extra or eat less the next day), and still maintain my weight. In other words, if you want to maintain your weight, you can do it two ways. The hard way or the effortless way! And even if you do gain some weight, it’s because your body needs it. It’s healthy weight. And it won’t continue. It’s just temporary. Give your body a chance to “trust” you, and in return, it’ll help you find your own unique balance.

Your body is smart and knows what to do if YOU let it!

You can do that by saying NO to letting a number on the scale and calorie track app determine your self-worth. Once you treat your body right and develop a good relationship with it on the inside you’ll start to glow on the outside. Your body is smart and knows what to do if YOU let it!

I know so many people try to fill themselves up with low-calorie foods, to trick their bodies, and it might work for some time. But it’s just not sustainable. Because we are naturally pleasure-seeking creatures. A meal of resentment, conflict, and rebellion and lacking in flavor will force you to continue to seek satiation even when you’re physically full. Make sure you’re eating intuitively with the thought that you’re worthy of the food and make sure it’s full of flavor!

Here’s another ‘aha’ I want to leave you with; Wanting to get to a certain weight is a lot like wanting to get to a certain height. If you’re 5’2 you are never going to be 5’8. Same thing with weight. If your average normal weight is 155 lbs, then it’s just not going to happen in this lifetime for a sustained length of time for you to stay at whatever unhealthy weight you desire to get to. If you’re big-boned, your family is big-boned and heavier then you’re never going to be a tiny person. I think everyone can agree with me on that. Comparing yourself to others is never going to get you anywhere. There’s always someone that’s going to be prettier than you, fitter than you, taller than you etc. Perfection is impossible and also very boring! Aim for progress and results and only compare yourself to YOU. Plus there’s only one YOU in this world, so don’t forget to be yourself!

If you feel like you’ve tried everything to recover, but keep on relapsing, or don’t even know where and how to start your recovery journey, I offer free 50-minute health consultations, so we can finally sit down and focus on you and your goals. You can find more on that here.

About our guest author:

I’m a holistic health coach on a mission to help women develop a good relationship with food, body, and exercise, so they not only get their period back but also live a meaningful life that’s so much more important than counting calories, obsessing over food and working out all day long!


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