Calorie counting or otherwise artificially reducing your food intake is a waste of time and life


Just waiting for post 4 of 4 where we see the ‘proof’.

While I think this topic is very interesting, and it has some really good practices to follow I can only see it working for maintaining your weight once you reach it. If you are fully aware of your bodies needs surely you eat precisely what your body needs to maintain status quo.

Although again I think you should focus on highlighting the advantages of this approach rather than debunking others approaches which you can see has worked for them.


[quote=“Jaxom, post:12, topic:5708”]
That will be difficult because i haven’t been following a calorie restrictive diet. I haven’t been going to the gym and exercising, I haven’t been eating organic nor altering my protein or carb intake. But I’m still losing an average of 2lb a week.

I eat all foods, nothing is forbidden, I eat the foods I like and as much of them as I want. [/quote]

Well I didn’t say it was your bubble did I? In fact that sounds a lot closer to mindful eating than I’ve seen most, good for you.

Luckily I know they aren’t.

Your calorie usage changes dramatically every day, you have no way of accurately tracking what you have burned and nor does anyone else. You may think you are religious at counting but studies say… you are not.

Common misconception, you’ll actually naturally, smoothly and healthily return to your ideal weight.

No part of Mindful eating is calorie counting.

I’m not. Although you would reduce your blood pressure and find it easier to identify your triggers, notice them at the time and decide to act on them or not.

Excellent. I think thats the right, sustainable attitude so you can one day leave any thoughts of worrying about food entirely behind you.

I’d hope so. Although, thinking for yourself and self determination is another myth…maybe save that for another topic.

The greater subject of mindfulness is essentially practicing concentrating. The longer you practice, the better you get at being conscious, not on auto pilot thinking about the past or the future, but the right here and now. That enables you to better see the triggers that encourage you to think you are hungry (boredom, loneliness, anger, whatever) and act accordingly.

The idea that the brain becomes less and less able to change as it gets older has been thoroughly and completely debunked with the general theme of neural plasticity. You can learn to notice your urges and be completely conscious of them and act as you want to. It takes practice and effort but the approach is very simple.

No one could ask for more :slight_smile:

Sorry about that - nothing personal - but I get fed up with the world of weight loss, peoples attitudes and all the cultural garbage that goes with it. If you look at the long view I am explaining - I hope it gets clearer.

This sounds a lot like mindful eating to me.

No. Calorie counting only works if you think that “worked” means calorie control for the rest of your life, depriving yourself of food your brain most definitely does want.

Indeed not - but I would strongly argue that you’re not in control if you have to calorie count, or cut out food X, the food is in control, the habits and urges are in control, not you.

It only “Works” if you feel that “Works” means calorie counting and watching what you eat until the day you die. I don’t think that’s a good definition.

I think you need to re read what I have said and how I’ve outlined that you might lose weight, but you are not cured - it only worked if you’re prepared to be afraid of salad bars and be a slave to My Fitness Pal for life.

Yep i know that.

Fortunately that is completely incorrect. Your body will actually happily burn your fat reserves, all whilst not being hungry until you reach your ideal weight. You just need to know what hungry actually feels like without getting it confused with a dozen other emotions.

This is true.

Sadly however there have been frequent and numerous studies that prove beyond doubt that you (and I mean the greater you, you personally could be the 0.00001% exception I suppose although the odds are against it) do not accurately record your food, either the portions or the frequency. It’s so inaccurate as to be worthless.

If you have to have an allowance you have failed.

Do you really think that people get fat because they make conscious rational choices? Do you think people smoke because the message that it gives them cancer has somehow passed them by? Do you think people crash their cars speeding because they din;t know the rules of the road?

We are not rational creatures - not even slightly.

Hilariously - we think that we are. We each think that we are special and clever and always in full control of the things that we do and the choices we make but we are not - not even slightly. You had no control over your genes, your parents, your environment as you grew up or your environment now. You aren’t capable of sitting still and concentrating on something as simple as a dot on a piece of paper for longer than 3 seconds before your brain is off on a mystical journey through “I wonder what I’ll have for dinner” or “I wish I had said something slightly different and cooler and funny at that meeting I just had”.

If you’re still tracking your calories - tell me how you succeeded? Tell me how you aren;t still a slave to food?

Maybe you should learn what it really means when you think your body is telling you it’s hungry. Maybe it’s telling you something else.

So who’s with me? Any of you or all of you, especially the ones who disagreed? I said (in an earlier post) that I’d even pay for the books if you got to the end and thought it was a waste of time so what’s holding you back? :smile: Side note, I do really want to do this with motivated people who want to discover more, not just someone who wants to be bloody minded (oh the irony) so think about that before saying yes :slight_smile:


evidence or argument establishing a fact or the truth of a statement.

I’ll repeat my last question, how does it help you lose weight?


A lot of words but nothing much added IMO. I’m very happy to learn more and if there’s anyone on this website who can agree with you on neural plasticity its me…but most of your counter-arguments don’t seem to get anywhere other than telling people they have ‘not succeeded’ because they haven’t done it your way…


Because you eat less? We’ve already established that one. Maybe you missed that point at the beginning.

It’s not that calorie counting doesn’t, sometimes, for some people, get them to lose weight, it’s that it never fixes the problem.

If you’re still calorie counting or in any way following a diet, you haven’t succeeded, because you’re still in thrall to your urges.


But that’s your definition of ‘success’ only.


You think calorie counting until the day you die is a success?

I’ve got better things to do with my life than worry about food - like enjoy it for one.


No, and I’ve never said that. But to tell a chap who las lost 42lbs that he hasn’t succeeded just because you say so isn’t particularly insightful.


I’m not concerned if you think I’m insightful or not :slight_smile: It’s still not success.


So what is your definition of success? I’m genuinely intrigued. Making positive changes and meeting one’s goals isn’t success?


Never having to give food a second (negative) thought again. Not having to calorie count, not having to follow any diet at all.


Great, so again, we’re back to ‘all of us need to meet your nebulous requirements otherwise we’ve failed’. A lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing…


Sound like you’re not up to giving it a go - that’s fine, can we keep space here for those who might please?



I see what you’re saying but I disagree.
I’ve been overweight for 5 years due to excessive eating or poor diet decisions.
I spent 6 months calculating a reduced intake to lose weight, but I obviously don’t naturally/instinctively know what is the correct amount to maintain my current weight. I’ll certainly relax on the tracking when I get a handle on how much I should eat (as in, not like a greedy pig) without gaining or losing weight.

As to whether I’m a slave to food? Lol no, today I’m within my caloric allowance and have had a bacon Bagel, a prawn red Thai curry and a bottle of Adnan Atlantic beer. Everything in moderation.


Well I for one don’t want to count calories for the rest of my life (I don’t now, but you know what I mean) and do want to become more mindful in my eating, so I’m interested. However, I still maintain that the process of ‘dieting’ or denying oneself is a means towards becoming more mindful. Experiencing hunger or withdrawal from alcohol teaches you a great deal IMO.

You mention a couple of books. Care to share?

In the meantime, you might want to try “how to win friends and influence people” :wink:


I’ll repeat my question for the third time, and it is absolutely key. How do you lose weight eating what your body needs, my body needs (according to the dietician) 2612 calories a day. If I eat that every day as my body is telling me that’s what it needs, the days I exercise my body asks for 3500 which I eat, other lazy days it asks for 1800. All I’m doing is mindfully eating what my body needs so how can I lose weight? I don’t understand that element where the rest makes sense.

I hit my target weight I then reintroduce more food, I monitor and learn what I can eat and if my weight creeps up I spend a few weeks lowering my intake.

For people who have battled weight problems all their lives to think it isn’t a lifestyle change that needed is fooling themselves.

I’ve lost 18lbs in a month through dieting, I’m confident I’ll lose the rest and even more certain I’ll maintain it b


Well, it sounds like @Tetsugaku is onto something here…it’s not a new concept, and does have some bright minds behind it. So I suggest that he and the new group try this approach and report - both what works well, and what might not - back to the rest of us. It’s certainly not how I lost, but I would never claim that my way works for everyone.

He’s good at pointing out what doesn’t work with the calorie counting methods, and I agree that they have their weaknesses. Like @Kookalamanza, I used the classic energy balance approach. A machine measured my BMR, and then I worked with a personal trainer to plan out a meal plan that included a caloric deficit. And while I’d love to tell you all that from that day on I’ve counted exactly - to the calorie - what I have eaten everyday, after a few days of food journaling I was going crazy. I hated it, and I realized that I couldn’t keep it up indefinitely, certainly not for the rest of my life. And of course you never really know the real caloric content of food or how much you expend doing exercise.

So it’s a conundrum…the energy balance is a true concept, the caloric deficit is the way the body loses weight, but you have a bunch of very chaotic factors involved that make the whole thing messy. So what I went through at first with the personal trainer was more like understanding better what a day’s worth of food looks like for me to lose weight (with macro-nutrient balancing built-in). I was able to work out a pretty standard menu that I ate (and enjoyed!) on a regular basis, three snacks and three meals a day with some variety built-in. I actually never felt hungry. I guess you could say I wasn’t in touch with my natural bodily cravings, but then again I never felt deprived or the urge to binge. So how did we know whether we had measured the BMR correctly, or whether the meals I ate and my exercise actually added up to a deficit? We measured. Each week we measured my weight, body part measurements, and my body fat. If it looked like things weren’t working, we knew what we could adjust (and it wasn’t always just reducing calories, in fact my caloric intake sometimes increased as I lost weight). And I lost consistently, 2 pounds per week, for about 7 months. That’s the key to managing the messiness of the energy balance equation - measurement. After a while everything just becomes innate so you don’t even have to think about it and it’s all just a habit, a routine. It has to be that way if you’re going to do it indefinitely.

I’d be lying if I said I never do food journaling, I do it once in a while just to double check my “innate” sense of what I can eat in a day, which tends to drift. And to be honest, the best thing about food journaling is that by writing down what you eat, you are being more conscious about what you eat, and you tend to eat better. So it’s not that you’re recording your intake, it’s more that you’re paying attention to what you’re eating.

So long story short, I’ve learned what a normal, healthy day of eating looks like. And I don’t count calories. And I eat yummy foods. And no food is forbidden. And I rarely get hungry. I work out 5 days a week for an hour. And I continue to measure body stats and make adjustments as necessary. That works well for me, I can live like this indefinitely and I’ve maintained my 75 pound weight loss for a couple of years now.

Am I saying that this mindful eating won’t work? Of course not. I think the more weapons we have in our arsenal, the better chance we have of finding something that works for each individual. I only share my experience for those who might benefit from a similar approach.

I look forward to hearing the results! And I’m sure I’ll learn something new that I might be able to adopt in the process. Good luck!


I’m out. Have been following the conversation with growing frustration and I’m afraid my patience run out. Like many people I require some form of evidence based retoric before I’ll accept certain things. Simply telling me it is so because your right and I’m wrong is bullshit. As it currently stands I’m no more convinced of anything I’ve seen or read here than I am of the exisitance of the yeti monster.
Here’s what I do know; 8 months ago I was horrendously unfit, overweight and I couldn’t see my pecker. Now I can run indefinately, dead lift 200kg Bench press 120kg’s, I can see my privates, I have a six pack abdominal area and three note books of diet and exercise notes to prove (to myself cause that’s all that matters) how I did it. I didn’t need to count calories but i did and I learnt a huge amount about my body because I did for the second half of that time period. Please don’t flame other peoples methods just because you wouldn’t do it that way or disagree. Push your own methods as hard as you want by posting YouTube videos or articles. All the info is great but lay off people man. We can be quite delicate at times in the weightloss journey the last thing we need is someone trolling our methods. SUPPORT is what we need.


Congratulations. No really, you achieved something. But there was an easier way. That was is learning to really listen, by concentrating, on the signals your body is always giving you.

But regardless you’re out, please give us some space for the few who do want to give it a whirl, good luck with the rest of your journey.