If you have been following my blog for a while, you might remember that I’ve been using MyFitnessPal to count my daily calories and record how many calories I burn during workouts. When I first started this weight loss journey, I started seeing a nutritionist, and we worked together to figure out how many calories I should be consuming per day. At the time, she suggested that I use MyFitnessPal to keep track of what I’m eating and help me focus on getting the right amount of calories in.
When I was first starting out, counting calories really helped me to be able to figure out what I was eating and what kinds of calories and nutrients I was putting into my body. The thing that I like most about MyFitnessPal is that it doesn’t just show the calories of each food item. It includes things like protein, fat, and carbohydrates as well. I have been working hard to make sure I meet all of my daily requirements for these, so it was really helpful to have a daily food diary that showed that. I have no idea how many calories I was actually consuming before last October, so it really helped to be able to take a good look at what I actually needed every day to support a healthy lifestyle.
I’m sure that you’ve heard how bad calorie-counting can be for people, especially when they tend to be perfectionists like me, but I was lucky enough to be working with a professional on my caloric needs. I didn’t just pick a random low number to base my calories off of. My nutritionist was able to take my personal details into consideration when she figured out how many calories I needed to have during the day. I think this is such an important factor in my own personal weight loss journey. I was much more successful because I was able to strive for a caloric intake that worked for me and my body, instead of pushing myself to eat too little.
That being said, I don’t feel like counting calories is something that I want to do forever. I’ve been on this journey for about 10 months. Even though counting calories is something that has really helped me in losing weight, I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary to continue doing. I have now established a healthy routine for myself, and eating healthy has just become the new normal for me. In the past couple of weeks, I finally decided to take a break from using MyFitnessPal.
The first day, it felt really strange to not be inputting nutritional information after every meal. It was something that had become an essential part of my day, and when I stopped, it really felt like I was forgetting to do something.
But at the same time, it also felt very freeing. I didn’t feel like I was controlled by how many calories something had, and I trusted myself to make healthy choices without writing everything down and calculating calories. I didn’t need a food diary anymore to get my whole grains and non-starchy vegetables in.
The one thing I really worried about before taking a break from calorie-counting was gaining the weight back. With all of this new-found freedom, I wasn’t sure if I would just decide to go crazy and forget about how much I was really eating.
I’m not going to lie. Since it’s summer, I have been eating a little more ice cream, fried food and hot dogs than I would normally. But that’s okay. I’ve mentioned this before, but I try to eat as healthy as possible throughout the day, especially when I know I’m going to be indulging in something unhealthy at some point.
As it turns out, I have not gained all of my weight back just because I stopped counting calories. In fact, I haven’t even gained a pound! Now there have been weeks where I’ve gained a little bit of water weight every so often because I ate something unhealthy, but that has never stuck around for long, and it’s not something that I’m really concerned with. To be honest, what I see on the scale isn’t something that I try to focus on anyway. It’s more important to me that I’ve continued to feel good and get stronger without counting calories.
It’s so empowering to know that I can continue to eat healthy and stay fit without obsessing over calories. Like I said earlier, I think it was extremely helpful for me to focus on calories in the beginning, but I strongly suggest working with your doctor or a nutritionist before you decide to go into calorie-counting. It is so easy to slide down that slippery slope and become obsessed with hitting calorie goals, and I would never want any of you to go down that path! Always remember that no matter what size you are or what you look like, you’re just doing your best. This journey is full of ups and downs, and you will never get to the place you want to be by letting yourself be controlled by calories.
I would love to know your thoughts on this! How do you feel about counting calories? Has it helped you in your weight loss/health journey, or has it just been a negative thing to work through? I love sharing my journey with all of you, and I hope you enjoyed this little update!