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Do I need to count calories to reach my goals?

Let's talk calories...

I often get asked about calories. Do I need to count calories to lose / gain weight and reach my goals? And I dare say no, not really. It can be a very handy tool, but it isn’t necessary.

Over the last week I did a little experiment and counted my calories. Just to prove that it is not necessary to count calories 😀

I logged all my intake of the day into MyFitnessPal in the evening after my last meal, so I wasn’t influenced by the numbers before eating.

As you can see, the intake was pretty much the same every day, around 2900 calories (which is my energy requirement for the day to stay on the same weight I am now = maintenance calories).

I believe that unless we have some very specific goals such as a body building competition etc., we generally don’t need to count calories to be well and reach our fitness and body goals. But that said, we definitely need to have some knowledge about nutrition.

I don’t like strict rules, but having some system can help us to see what we’re aiming for with each meal without feeling too restrictive. To be well we need some knowledge about the food we are putting on our plates. Most of us don’t need to count every calorie and weigh every gram of food. But we should know some basics to support our wellbeing and our goals.

Maybe it isn’t the worst idea to log your meals for couple of weeks to learn a little bit about your intake - how many calories there are in foods that you eat and if that’s supporting your goals. However, counting calories can lead to unhealthy obsessive behaviours around food.

That’s why I really like the idea of hand portions when it comes to the energy and macro nutrient intake. It’s simple to use and we are not just leaving things to their own fate.

I also need to mention, the more real unprocessed food we eat (meat, eggs, vegetables and fruit), the less we need to worry about the numbers. Our bodies are pretty smart and it’s hard to overeat things like steak and vegetables (of course sometimes you might eat a bit more and there is also some adjusting time, but generally you wouldn’t be able to “go crazy” on those foods).

Because our nutrition isn’t only about calories / energy, but also about the nutrients themselves. We need certain macro and micronutrients to support a healthy body function.

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