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


I do exactly the same - a little bit of this goes a long way and gets me drinking about 3L of water a day - better than the 5-6 cups of tea I was drinking before with prob 2-3 sugars in each.


Ever heard of lifestyle change?


@mikechristopher you’re right, a little does go a long way. I drink at least 4.5 litres a day… I have a 700ml of water at the gym in the mornings, then work my way through a 1.5l bottle of squashed water in the mornings and another in the afternoons. Then I usually have at least one more 700ml bottle over the course of the evening. I also usually have a berocca in about 200ml of water first thing each morning!

Not only did I have the sugar in the tea, it was more often than not accompanied by a biscuit or two (or eight!)…


Look… we’ve basically got our bodies into ‘debt’… some of us sever debt that will negatively affect our future & our families future unless we get ourselves out of this ‘debt’

we can bury our heads in the sand & tell ourselves that 'things will work themselves out & think nice happy fluffy thoughts, (which is how we got into debt in the first place)

OR… WE can accept that in order to get out of dept, we need to put a plan of action in place & follow that plan to get out of debt, THEN once the balance is zero we can decide what to do going forwards.

We wouldn’t expect our financial issues to just ‘go away’ or a business to just ‘work itself out’

so why do we expect our bodies to do so?

I would argue that sorting this issue out (our health) is VASTLY more important that any financial or business issue… without your health, there are no other issues, because you’re dead.


Excellent. To the point. Succinctly put. :dart:



I know this is an old thread, but the ridiculous title caught my eye…it was nice to see that there was a ridiculous premise behind the title too.

Not saying that the OP’s approach to weight loss is ridiculous, because, hey, if it works for them that’s great. But, “mindful eating?” Seriously?

Isn’t any diet plan one follows a form of mindful eating? The very definition of mindful is paying attention. When we diet, whether we count calories, count carbs, restrict certain foods, or whatever, we’re being mindful of what or how much is going into our bodies.

To say that we just need to recognize when we’re full or when we’re actually hungry doesn’t really make sense either…at 300 + it takes a lot more for someone to feel full than it does for someone at the same height at 150 lbs…generally speaking. So, if the 300 guy only eats when he’s hungry, and eats until he’s full he’s going to continue being overweight.

I can, however, see where this theory would be good for someone who eats for emotional reasons…stress, depression, etc…but for those of us who are overweight because we simply have a love for food, I don’t see it as a good idea.

I’d be interested to know how this approach worked for @Tetsugaku, but if it was posted anywhere in this thread I missed it.


The simple reality is you need to eat less food to lose weight, so you WILL have to face & deal with hunger, as you’re not eating as much food as your body wants/needs to stay in its current condition.

If you eat intuitively or until you feel full often while you’re overweight, you’ll be eating what your body wants/needs to stay overweight, meaning you won’t lose weight.


eat less,
lose weight,
deal with hunger the best you can,

Its like telling a person in massive financial debt not to pay attention to whats going in & out of his bank account & to just spend money until he feels satisfied


That’s a lot to digest. A veritable feast. I once bought my wife a copy of Why French Women Don’t Get Fat. It didn’t go down too well but it encouraged this holistic approach to eating - the whole process from planning to shopping to preparing, serving and consuming.
There must be a downside to living with a thin French woman, but I can’t put my finger on it.




All summed up in three lines.
Brilliantly concise.



In all seriousness, while I think @Tetsugaku is right on the merits - every body is different and your body SHOULD be able to tell you when it is full - I’m with @maxnas on this.

Speaking for myself, I didn’t get to where I am because I listened to my body. I got to where I am because I consume more calories than I need. It’s the “original sin” that I was born with, that my body is corrupt and DOESN’T work the way it should.

I have a friend who is 6’2" and skinny as a rail. He has always been able to eat a lot - and eats a lot of crap too (like an entire package of cheap hotdogs and a Jack’s pizza as his dinner). He recently started tracking his intake on MFP and found that he consumes 6,000-8,000 calories a day to feel satisfied. He obviously has a high metabolism (and maybe some sort of problem)!

Other people I know simply don’t get hunger pangs. They eat small meals, sometimes skip meals, or even go to a restaurant and just eat half the meal and LEAVE THE REST ON THEIR PLATE AND LET THE WAITER TAKE IT AWAY! Shit, if I don’t finish the food on my plate, I get a to-go box. My mental block won’t allow me to let food be taken away from me like that.

Should I be jealous of these people? Should I try to be like them? Well, I don’t think there is much of a point in trying. There is no way I’m going to be able to raise my metabolism to the point where I can eat 2x the amount of calories in a day and be skinny. It’s just not the way my body works. I don’t think I will ever overcome my addiction to food in such a way that I will be able to comfortably allow a waiter to just take it away from me and toss it in the garbage. That’s why I am trying to train myself to do things like not eat the french fries that came with my burger, so I can take them home and cook them up as hash browns the next day, thus spreading the calories across a timeline I can manage.

My body and mind are corrupt. I cannot rely on them to do what is right when it comes to consuming the right amount of food. However, I can force myself into a system where I can compensate for that corruption through mindful eating and lifestyle changes… and overwhelming evidence shows that the BEST PRACTICE is to track food intake so that a caloric deficit can be achieved.

Maybe someday I will get to the point where I can do this intuitively. But you’ve got to learn to play the piano before you can tackle Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. That’s just the way I see it.


I am late to this party. I agree with many aspects of the original post. it may seem contradictory to say that i do not agree with dieting but given the 41 years I have developed a poor relationship with food (it is not impossible) but i am too lazy to try to eat intuitively. i have spent too may years restricting and binging to even bother. I did try and trust me when I am saying that it was a comic scene. me sitting there putting my fork down and asking myself if I am full after every mouthful.

So whats the alternative…?

I would love to be in that place where I can eat when hungry and stop when full but I am being realistic now when I say to myself that the best I can do is eat sensibly (whatever the fuck that means) I hope its ok to fucking swear. Now I have to track to ensure that I am eating enough. I eat everything. There are no bad foods or good foods. Some are supposedly going to allow us to live longer but I will debate anyone who thinks they can show me proof this will happen. I do not restrict food, fun, freedom. As Original post said…that is no way to live. However I have to monitor. We arrive here from different places. My story is the athlete who over-trained and under-ate and walked myself into obesity when the age finally caught up with me. Many of us will have eating disorders and who knows what other issues but some will just be poorly educated. Asking us to eat mindfully after years of disordered eating is like asking salad cream to be peanut butter.

I am ranting now so I will leave it with this…energy balance is king. You can eat whatever you like, whenever you like but the ‘energy balance piper’ has to be paid. Eat, enjoy life and do whatever the hell you want as we are all heading for the same place.




For anyone that is scientifically minded there is a great book called Big Fat Myths, by an Australian man named Ruben Meerman. He explains exactly where the fat goes when we lose weight (we breathe it all out!).

Personally I wouldn’t say calorie counting is a waste of time, at the end of the day the only way to lose weight is to expel more carbon atoms than we take in. The big unknown is how many calories each person burns each day, some of the formulas used to esimate this can be out by several hundred calories, so even when counting you can get it wrong.


Yep, initially estimating can be way off for some people, this is why the estimations are just a rough guide post to get started with, after that it’s all about tracking your results & making changes accordingly.


An interesting thread to read for a Newbie like me.

Has got me thinking about what my approach will be. My main problem is being “mindful” about portion size. I know that I’m eating too much, but I’m greedy. Knowing how many calories are on my plate is irrelevant when I already know I shouldn’t be troughing anything like as much as that.

Calories in vs calories out is like an undeniable law of the universe. Knowing that equation for me is not a eureka moment! Because the emotional side is so important too. Thanks to @Jaxom and @Nemo in particular for their input.
The phrase “my relationship with food” has been very helpful for me to ponder. My Dad was overweight and because as a child he was from a poor family where bread and dripping was a staple, when he was older and wealthier he would always entertain with loads of food and use the phrase “if you go hungry it’s your own fault” - I became conditioned that having anything I wanted in regards to food was not such a bad thing, it was something to rejoice about - no one talked about the consequences. Also as my parents grew up in a time of rationing, we were always taught that waste was bad and to finish everything on our plates. So becoming an adult meant having everything I wanted food-wise and not leaving any of it! Luckily I’ve always been quite active, but alas as I reach 50 it’s beginning to tell.

So I do need to be “mindful” of my relationship with food if I’m to succeed in losing wait. Personally the calorie deficit for me will not be achieved through lots of counting, but continuing to be active and just not being such a glutton and learning to control portion sizes and being more “mindful” of my food choices. By far the hardest part though will be managing the hunger pangs. Hopefully this is where MAN v FAT can help as I will have the added motivation of not letting my team down…


Hey, whatever works for you! The whole relationship with food thing is very crucial, it really is the basis for a lot of us trying to lose the weight.
My one suggestion is that while you know you need to cut down portion sizes, using something like myfitnesspal to record calories will give you a visual reminder of where you’re at, and what you have left.
Maybe even for the first month, that way you would learn what good boundaries look like.
I only suggest it cause for me, having that visual is what I need to help me realize when I’m pushing my limits, and also, to balance out my day.
In the end however, that’s all just a suggestion, and I would say start wherever you want. Weight loss is a journey, both public and very very personal. If you don’t do what’s right for you, it won’t work.


I agree with you in part. I don’t believe in counting calories either, as a rule. Don’t get me wrong, it works for losing pounds. I’ve certainly proven that over and over again. But it does not create the sort of change in me that I venture we would all like to have. It doesn’t give me the freedom of an alcoholic who can walk into a bar. What I also know is that I can’t eat whatever I want, at least in the short term, and expect to make a lasting change. In order to lose weight, we do need a calorie deficit. It’s just the science of the matter. And in a normally functioning body, eating naturally occurring foods, I believe that waiting to eat until one is hungry will naturally cause us to move toward a healthy weight. The problem is we have way too many foods available to us which are artificially high in simple sugars and carbs, which easily break down into simple sugars. Those foods spike insulin and cause our bodies to start storing fat. From experience, I also know that those foods have addictive properties which will cause me to believe that I am hungry over and over again in ways that meats, fats, and complex carbs (veggies) will not. So, I think you’re right that we don’t need to count calories, but ONLY under the condition that we avoid sugar and simple carbs. Otherwise chemistry and biology will fight against us, and will power and our hunger responses become unreliable, ultimately defeating our intent.