Calorie Counting For Consistent, Maintainable Weight Loss Leading To That Sleek Sexy Body You Want

by | Apr 7, 2019 | Macros, Weight Loss Success Path | 0 comments

Calorie counting does get a bad wrap.  Many people don’t want to “live that way.”  I have lost 100 pounds 3 different times, and the only time I have been able to maintain it is with calorie counting and tracking.  This does not mean, I live in a diet mentality.  I choose to count calories, because I have issues stopping when it comes to eating.  I love food!  Which is fine, but there are a lot of foods out there that trigger me to eat A LOT.

Over the last few years, I have been able to turn weighing and measuring my food into a habit. I only eat what is on my plate.  Today we are going to discuss all the reasons calorie counting does work, why it may not work in some cases, and I have a special freebie for you today!  I created a step by step guide on how to put your favorite recipes in MyFitnessPal. My goal is to solve the issue of how to determine calories in soups, stews and pasta sauce, or any other one pot meal!  So let’s get to work.  😉


Does Calorie Counting Work?

Calories counting does work!  I have used calorie counting for my entire journey.  I do advocate tracking your calories, and here is why. Those little handfuls of food or pieces here and there really add up.

An additional much less talked about reason for tracking that has little to do with calorie counting is the habit factor.  Creating habits in our journey really make a difference, and tracking calories is a habit that gives a sense of satisfaction.  Just like marking an item off our to-do list gives us a little rush, it gives that same rush to complete the days calories. And finally, calorie tracking also provides instant feedback.

Calorie Counting Provides Feedback

The feedback and sense of satisfaction are both key factors in positive reinforcement!  Did you know the repeated actions when creating a habit, actually create and change the pathways in the brain? When I read this (I don’t remember where), I was like, I knew I was different.  Hahah! Another piece to this reinforcement is that it also creates a sense of achievement. So you get a win without the scale.

These factors make tracking an important part of behavior change, but it’s important to not fall into any of the tracking  traps. We will discuss this more later. However, it’s important to know less (calories) is not always better! And perfect is not required on this journey!

The biggest mistake is feeling bad about what you eat.  The goal of tracking is not judgement! It is really meant to provide you with the information you need to keep your journey going forward.
Tracking food should be considered a tool, not a judgement against you as a person!

If you are having issues judging yourself on this journey, make sure you check out my post about self-love while losing weight.  You can access that here.


Why would calorie counting not work?

Calorie counting shows us what goes in.  So if it ‘s not working, this usually means we are eating more than we are burning. But there are some other possible reasons.  I know it’s never easy! Let me provide some possible reasons, but you should always go back to am I eating too much?

If calorie counting isn’t working then there is an imbalance somewhere!  That imbalance can be calories in vs. calories out… But it can also be any of the following items.

    • Hormones
    • Lack of sleep
    • Stress
    • That time of the month–yes ladies it can make you look like you’ve gained 10 lbs overnight!  Don’t stress, because then you really can gain 10 lbs.
    • Lack of sleep
    • Not enough water

Don’t play the how low can you go game

Another issue I see is trying to see how low you can go.  Eating too few calories can slow your metabolism and you may gain weight before you lose it.  Or you could end up needing to lower your calories sooo low that you aren’t getting the nutrients your body needs to be healthy. This goes back to knowing how many calories you should be eating.  We will address this in a future post. 🙂

Don’t “forget” to enter foods

And yet another issue I see, “forgetting” to enter foods, nibbles, and snacks, and being confused by the lack of change on the scale. And yes, I know I stated, going over or under by 100 or 150 isn’t going to show on the scale as long as your eating in a deficit.  But consistently going over on calories and consistently forgetting enter foods will leave you with an equilibrium on the scale OR it could cause the scale to go up.

So what is the big mistake here?  The big mistake it lying to yourself.  Using calorie counting as a method of being aware is the goal.  And using calorie counting to support your habits is an amazing way to positively reinforce your new changes. But lying to yourself, doesn’t serve your goals.

What about intuitive eating?

Research shows that people who track calories to lose weight, lose more weight overtime and maintain that loss longer.  I would love to be able to eat intuitively, and stop when I’m 80% full. Unfortunately, I don’t have that skill, it’s not that I haven’t tried.  I have tried, but my need to clean my plate overrides my need to be healthy. So I had to find a method that worked for me long-term.

What Counting Apps Are Best For Calorie Counting?

Over all the app you choose is personal preference.  There are several apps available. I use MyFitnessPal because it links with my Fitbit.  It is also good for tracking MACROs. Since I pay attention to these, MyFitnessPal is my personal choice.

Here are the three I usually recommend.

    1. EatThisMuch-This app is nice because you can set it up for meal planning.  When I am looking for new ideas or combinations I use this app to come up with ideas
    2. MyFitnessPal
    3. Fitbit

And here are a couple of popular apps that I don’t use, but some of my clients have in the past:

    1. LoseIt
    2. MyPlate

How to Count Calories with Homemade Food

Calorie Counting Meal MyFitnessPal
One challenge I hear often is how can I calculate the calories in homemade food and soups, sauces and stews.

The process isn’t too bad in MyFitnessPal after you get used to.

Do this during meal planning so you don’t have to try to do it on a busy week night!

I have created a great step by step guide for creating a reusable recipe in MyFitnessPal.  Go here to get it!


So if eating intuitively, doesn’t work for you, I suggest tracking.  I also suggest measuring/weighing your food. It takes the guesswork out. You can also check out this article by AceFitness this article discusses both intuitive eating and self-monitoring (tracking).  Working toward a new lifestyle is work in the beginning, but once you find what works for you it’s a lot easier!

A little story on measuring for you… last summer I fell in love with Kodiak Cakes.  They are sooo very awesome!  I was diligently measuring everyday.  One day I decided I would weigh my normal serving, and to my surprise, I was actually make 2.5 times a serving.  So be very careful when measuring! This little experiment taught me a very important lesson. Weighing out does measuring every time!

Let’s wrap up calorie counting…

Overall, I am a huge fan of calorie counting.  I am aware it can become an unhealthy habit.  In my opinion it is more healthy than being 100 pounds overweight.  For all of you that have issues with trigger foods, and feel that eating intuitively is failing you I do recommend you give this a try.  Now overall eating intuitively is the end goal, feeling in charge of your choices is key on this journey.  Do what works for you! 🙂

Sending love & hugs to you on your journey to healthy!

Coach, Personal Trainer, Author

Michelle Thomas is an ACECertified Health Coach, a certified Precision Nutrition Level 1 Coach and she is a Certified Wellness, Nutrition and Fitness Coach for people who have 100 pounds or more to lose, she coaches them and gives them the tools to change their habits and change their lives forever.

Through her passionate and open hearted Online Wellness classes, Nutrition Challenges and Coaching, she’s here to inspire you to change your approach to weight loss and wellness—while making it all feel like a natural part of who you are.

And when she’s not coaching you can find her lifting heaving things(often her teens), creating new healthy recipes or researching new techniques.

Calorie Counting For Consistent, Maintainable Weight Loss Leading To That Sleek Sexy Body You Want