Why you should stop counting calories……lets try this again

I had several people tell me that this blog post did not show up in their news feed so I thought I might try posting it again.  As one of my first blog posts I considered writing about my most recent bodybuilding competition.  However, my main goal of this site and blog was to help others and since I don’t think giving you all the sappy details of my trials and tribulations leading up to my win is very useful information, I decided to pass on that.  But….if you would like to hear about it, leave a comment and I’d be happy to give you that story anytime.  OK, so back to information that could be useful to you.  I thought I might address some food issues.  I felt very timid about dispensing advice about nutrition since I have not graduated from school yet, but I decided to just go ahead and go for it.  I’ve completed nutrition courses, read numerous books on nutrition, and have plenty of experience with changing up my own diet.   A lot of people in my industry tell you what you should do based on their own personal experience & working with others rather than scientific research. While I can totally appreciate others experiences; I like to draw from both.

I would like to discuss why you should stop counting calories.  I know that this goes against My Fitness Pal & Weight Watchers, but I just want to give you a different perspective.   Just hear me out.  My main reason for this is simply to focus on WHAT you’re eating rather than how much you’re eating.  A person gets so focused on how much they are eating that they’ve probably been robbing their body of vital nutrients found in whole foods.  Here’s why not all calories are created equal.  You can get a pretty filling meal with 4oz of lean, grilled chicken breast & a huge pile of broccoli. That meal will come out to approximately less than 200 calories. Now, let’s say you get a soda & drink that, worth approximately 200 calories? What do you think the difference those two options are going to make in the way you feel and function throughout the course of your day?  Not to mention how do you think those two options are going to satisfy your cravings & hunger for the rest of the day?  In reference to where I obtained this knowledge, pardon me if I come across as cynical, but it’s pretty much common sense. As most of you would agree that chicken and broccoli are a much healthier option than a soda.  OK, so then why do so many people choose the latter?  Convenience?  Cost?
Prep time?  I don’t really know.  I personally despise soda.  If I’m going to have some liquid calories I would like them to come in a paper cup from my local coffee joint “Two Rivers” and be mixed with sweet syrup and milk that’s been steamed and foamy on top.   That’s my little cup of heaven.  But that’s just me.  That example was pretty black & white.  How about we try to look at another example from a greyer area.   It’s 2:00pm and you’re at your desk starting to feel hungry.  You choose a granola bar and yogurt.  Is this a “healthy” option?  IN MY OPINION, no!  Why??? For a couple of reasons  One, it’s highly processed,  and two, both probably contain tons of added sugar.  A much better option would be an apple with a handful of almonds.  In my “nutrition tips” portion on my website I stress eating “whole foods”.  I use this term because I hear too often “clean eating”.  While I appreciate the positive connotation that one would associate with clean eating I don’t think it’s specific enough.  When I think of eating whole foods, the first thing that comes to mind (besides the grocery store) is your basic fruits, veggies, meats & nuts.  You don’t need to worry about how many calories you’re consuming if you’re staying active and eating whole foods.  I hope this information has been at least a little helpful to you and you weren’t sitting at your computer thinking “duh Leanna!  Everyone knows chicken and broccoli are healthier than soda!”  My main point is this; we all have a daily caloric need, yes and if you’re trying to lose fat it’s a simple equation of calories in/calories out.  OK!  Got it!  But don’t obsess over calories.  Determine how many calories you need each day and try to stay within that neighborhood.  If you are new to dieting and find that you are constantly hungry, your body might be needing those extra calories (especially if you’ve just started an exercise program) so drink some water, then eat to satisfy the hunger.  Don’t sit there counting the minutes on your clock till it’s time to eat again.  No diet is effective if you’re not able to stick to it.  If you are miserable from hunger all the time, chances are you wont be sticking to that particular diet for very long.  Just be careful of WHAT you’re eating.  Make sure you’re feeding yourself the right kind of foods.  Your body is a well oiled machine, (even though it might not always feel like it) it isn’t trying to work against you.  Give it those healthful foods it craves.  Your body knows exactly what to do with it.  Watch and see what happens.  And if you just don’t know what to eat, ask me, and I’ll post a sample diet.  So, there’s me on my soapbox, ranting about nutrition.  I could go on for hours, but I’ll just stop here.  Nutrition is my passion and even though at times I might seem cynical, my sincere heart’s desire is just to help others.

Stay crazy, healthy and happy,


About the Author:

I'm Leanna Jensen. I'm a NPC Bikini Competitor, Personal trainer, fitness writer and mother of two. I am on a mission to help and serve others by sharing my knowledge of all things health and fitness.

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  1. Sandy Preslar January 13, 2014 at 2:51 am - Reply

    and if you call the broccoli “Trees”, it’s much easier to like and eat them….

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