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Should You Count Calories to Lose Weight?

Dietitians debate the pros and cons of counting calories to lose weight, so you can decide on the best approach for your lifestyle

It’s hard not to be at least calorie-conscious these days, with oodles of calorie-tracking apps to download, as well as an abundance of nutritional information on food labels and all over the internet.

But how closely do we need to watch those numbers if we want to drop a few pounds? Is counting every calorie an obsessive waste of time and energy, or the only true gauge for making sure our nutritional needs are met while staying on track to meet our weight-loss goals?


Should I Count Calories? Yes!
“Counting calories provides structure, and that personal tracking is what some people need to meet their health-related goals. People also usually experience success right away when they begin tracking calories, which is a great way to help become more aware of habits and encourage behavioral change.

While calories are not the whole picture when it comes to nutrition and weight loss, for some, counting calories is easier than actually understanding the complex effects food has on our bodies. It’s also especially helpful if you hit a plateau in weight loss; it can help point out if you’re eating too much or not enough. You may ever be surprised at how many calories you consume even when you’re following a healthy diet.

 Many people are also driven to eat for reasons other than hunger, such as stress, anger, comfort, boredom, or sadness—and they don’t even realize realize they’re doing it. If that’s the case, tracking can help you get back in control of emotional eating and seek solutions to change behavior.


Having a daily calorie target can also help identify high-calorie, low-nutrient items, so you can swap them for lower-calorie, healthier options. For example, instead of a low fat milk at 115 calories (250mL) switch to organic almond milk at 60 calories (240mL) or Swap one cup of chocolate ice cream at 285 calories with one and a half cups of strawberries at 70 calories.”

Follow these guidelines to count correctly:

1. Set realistic goals. When it comes to calories, weight loss, behavioral change, and fitness, you don’t need to get to your goal in one big leap, but you do need to sustain change.
2. Pick a tracking method that’s easy. Consider an app like MyFitnessPal, or a website like SuperTracker. Be aware of portion size and read food labels to identify nutrient information, as well as serving size and calories per serving.
3. Don’t rely on it too much. Remember that counting calories is ultimately part of a larger plan to maintain momentum and encourage long-term success.
4. Choose healthy foods. The type of food we eat has a profound impact on our gut health, brain chemistry, and hormones, all of which help to control food intake resulting in weight loss. Maintain a balanced diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats.


Last Saturday we had a small get together and I felt compelled to prepare a healthier side dish to “compliment” the greasy, saucy, fatty, fried (and oh-so-good!) hot wings that made an appearance. And even though it was technically a free day for me, I was still conscious about the calories I took in.

There’s approximately 60-150 calories in each fried chicken wing. However, 1 piece of grape has only 2-3 calories depending on their size/gram, for 100 grams of mango there are 60 calories, for 100 grams of watermelon there are only 30 calories & 100 grams of papaya has only 43 calories. Yes, chicken wings are soooo good and I did eat 1….2….errr 6ish but I really tried to control myself and made sure to fill up on tons of fruits and veggies.

However, the truth is, it is almost impossible to count every single calorie you put in your mouth—especially since most food labels aren’t even able to provide 100-percent accurate information. Aside from that, the act alone of calorie counting can be exhausting, draining, and even disrupt your innate ability to understand hunger and fullness cues. You could even stop trusting your body completely, and rely solely on this calorie system for weight management. This is a real danger for those who have certain personality traits and/or mental health issues, as it can result in an eating disorder.

If you do choose to track, it’s best to exercise the process of counting calories with caution and make sure that it does not become obsessive, nor is it your only source of understanding how proper nutrition works. Ultimately, though, I think the best approach involves more intuitive, balanced eating that includes listening and trusting your body, incorporating a balance of high-fiber carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats at most meals, and allowing occasional indulgences.”


This week my coach had me do more abdomen workouts like weighted crunches, which is basically like regular crunches but you’re upright and holding a 5-10 kilo weight on your chest. It really works the abs and even back.

Weighted crunches – 3 sets – (10 reps each set)

I really felt the burn in my core and the soreness afterwards was intense, but I know that underneath my flabs there are rock hard abs waiting to be revealed 😉 so I will do this for as long as I have to. This session also included other ab/core workouts like side crunches, leg lifts on the pull up bar and planks.

Well that’s it for now. If you missed the beginning of this journey you can read about it here. Until then, stay tuned for more Apple Cider’s Journey to Fitness!


– Apple Cider

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