Calorie counting is a weight loss tool. And it is a very valuable tool. There are many people who have successfully lost weight by doing nothing other than learning how to count calories and adjusting their diets accordingly. However, in my mind Calorie counting should be used as a tool, not a crutch. You should be learning from calorie counting. In fact, after 2-3 months of Calorie counting you really shouldn’t need to count Calories anymore.
Because if you’ve been counting accurately for a couple of months then you should now know what the ‘right’ amount of food feels like. After 3 months, you should know what ‘right’ feels like while eating a wide variety of foods, on the days you workout vs. the days you don’t, on weekends, on weekdays etc. i
Calorie counting can be an excellent tutor – something that helps you learn about your body. OR, it can be like that shy kid you took advantage of in math class that did all your homework for you… great for homework, not so great when it comes to actually writing the exam 😉
Another way to think of calorie counting is as if it were like training wheels.
Sure, you could keep them training wheels on your bike for your entire life, but you’re probably better off using them to get the feel for riding a bike… Then you take them off, and you ride by feel. Yes, you’re going to fall a couple times, but you’ll eventually get the feel for it. And it really is just a ‘feel’. If you’ve ever tried to explain how to ride a bike to a 6 year old, you know how difficult it can be, it’s hard to describe it because it’s just something you do… and you do it by feel.
Eating isn’t much different.
We all need training wheels at some point, some of us will need them longer than others, but the goal isn’t to keep the training wheels on for the rest of our lives… it’s to eventually be able to do this whole ‘eating thing’ by feel.
We will all make mistakes with our eating now and again, just like how even the best bicyclists fall, but in the end, I’d like everyone to be able to eat by feel.
If you are having problems figuring out how much you should eat in-between your fasts then please feel free to use calorie counting software until you get a feel for how much you can eat…. Remembering that the goal with Eat Stop Eat is to eat as much as you can in-between your fasts WITHOUT gaining weight (basically eating at maintenance), learning what this feels like as opposed to what it looks like on an excel spreadsheet is just another step towards diet and weight freedom.
Feel free to use calorie counting to figure out what maintenance feels like, but after a while, don’t be afraid to take the training wheels off and see what happens.