Updated: Nov 9, 2020
Counting calories is a debatable topic. Counting calories is the process of tracking your caloric intake throughout a time frame to either manage weight loss or gain. Counting calories is a little tedious but for some, they find it necessary to make sure they are eating enough or depleting their calorie intake.
There are so many ways to count calories, one way is writing everything. You can jot down what you eat, the amount down, and make sure each meal is a specific amount of calories. Another way is using an app like Myfitnesspal that will keep all that data on the app for you to view calorie consumption.
You know exactly how much you are supposed to eat
You aren't eating too much or too little
Control portion sizes
You know all the nutritional percentages of what you are eating
Keeps you organized
Although it's a controls freak dream to calorie count, it is not the most fun thing to do. I found that when I calorie counted I became obsessed with it. I would do portion control to the max and measure out every little thing. I also used calories to count everything and was fixated on the number and how to control it. Literally counting calories and planning my meals consumed my life and not in a good way. It brought me a lot of anxiety and nerve if I went over or under my recommended calories.
It is, however, a great tool to use for certain times, but I find that it is not necessary in the long term. I recommend that you should calorie count if:
You're a beginner:
If you're just getting into fitness and eating healthy, you should start out by calorie counting. Do a little research as too how much calories you should be eating for your weight, height and gender and try to eat that goal daily. It is okay if you exceed the goal or are under it by 50-200 calories. Once you see the portions sizes for your height and weight, you can slowly ween off of tracking your food. This is helpful because you know generally how much to eat and what it looks like visually.
You are cutting:
In the world of bulking and cutting, calorie counting does come in handy. If you bodybuild and want to lean out, calorie counting can help you eat less. Usually, there is a drastic decrease in portions and counting calories can help you keep the portions small.
Because I had such an extensive background in counting calories, I pretty much know the calories of everything I eat now, but I do not record it. I know the general amounts so I can guess how much calories are in certain meals which is a benefit. Having ideas of what you should be eating is enough to keep you on track. I know I aim for 400-500 calorie breakfast, 300-400 for all other meals; varying higher when I am working out on a specific day.
A key to weight loss or gain is in the quality and amount of calories you eat, but you don't need to get completely fixated on it. If you are just beginning, try calorie counting for a month to get an idea of portion sizes and calories. After that ditch the method and just eat using the knowledge you learned. If you are in cutting season, calorie count to decrease your calories but maintain nutrition.
Apps For Counting Calories:
Other Helpful Tools: