Do I need to count calories?

“I need to lose weight.

Do I need to count calories or can I do something else?”

The short answer is:

You don’t have to count calories. But you cannot ignore them or think they don’t exist.

The basics of weight loss are:

Energy in must be less than energy out.

Yup. That’s the basic equation.

Now, to achieve the energy in vs energy out requires consideration of a lot of different variables.

And one of the major variables is: how much are you consuming – aka how much food are you eating? One way to measure that is: measuring the amount of calories you are consuming.

How do you measure the amount of calories? Well, most people weigh and measure their food and then compare and contrast to what is on a nutrition label or stored in a food library (think: MyFitnessPal, etc). However, where a lot of people get frustrated is: calorie counting is an imprecise science.

What is stored in a food library is imprecise and how you weigh and measure food is imprecise, and what you actually absorb is also imprecise.

So, overall, the entire process has a level of variation that can lead people to believe that calorie counting doesn’t work for them.

However, that is separate from the fact that reducing your calories (food you consume) to levels where you lose weight, is universally proven to be a process that works.

So, what can you do if you hate and/or don’t want to count calories?

You can do something as simple as being consistent with how much you’re eating from meal to meal.

One of the most common and successful methods of that is – use your hand to estimate amounts.

For protein – use the thickness and diameter of your palm (not including your fingers) to portion out any kind of protein source.
For vegetables – use your fist to estimate the amount you should eat.
For starchy carbs or fruit – use your hand as a cup.
For fats, the diameter and length of your thumb is a great way to portion healthy fats (nuts, avocado, etc).

You can also go a little more extreme and follow a diet plan like keto, paleo, atkins, south beach, carb backloading, carb nite, etc that removes whole macronutrients or types of food from your diet which causes you to consume less food without counting calories.

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