Weight loss Wednesday Counting Calories, Or Rather Not.

Hello and Happy Wednesday! I started my day with an easy 8 mile run (easy as in pace).

counting calories

Then, I came home and ate a grapefruit while making breakfast…


Which brings me to the topic of the day – How do I count calories?

Someone asked in the comments yesterday how many calories I eat. I really don’t know. I keep meaning to count for a few days to share with you, but this is what happens in my world…

I run. Then, I eat.

Then, I’m like “I wonder how many calories I just ate…”

Then, I go back and check the label of whatever I ate and since I have it in my hand I eat more. #Fail

So, I don’t check.

diet cards

But I thought I’d do a lil guestimate for today so far and this is what it is:

Breakfast – 1/2 grapefruit, eggs, tortilla, laughing cow, sriracha = 305

Coffee w Milk and stevia = 40

should you count calories on a diet

Random nuts and a PB Protein Cookie while making a 2nd cup of coffee = 300

how to count calories in a day

how to count calories in a recipe

Total for breakfast: 645 calories

Mid-post grabbed an apple from the kitchen = 100 calories

Pre-lunch Calorie Count = 745

I also drink A LOT too,

how to count calories blog

but outside of champagne  and vodka try to stick to calorie free drinks. (But I drink a lot of these things as of late.)champagne diet

Question: Do you count calories? Sheep? M&Ms??


  1. Kathy says

    Try the Lose It! app. It lets you search many different ways, scanning the UPC, search by word, by brand, by restaurant food. I don’t keep up with it well on the weekends when I am going out with people or eating out more, but it’s great for getting an idea of how much you eat. I accidentally discovered which meals were delicious but surprisingly fewer calories that I realized (and those that were the opposite), so if not for dieting it’s at least good as a temporary educational experience about the way you eat!

  2. says

    I would get a little TOO into calorie counting and other numbers (number on the scale, number of miles run, number of hours working out…), so I try to not get into the numbers. I just try to focus on having all the “food groups” and fruits/veggies and such.

  3. says

    Counting calories is so hard, and I think it is easy to mess with your head!
    I think we know when we’re eating too much or poor food and we know when we should change our habits. (I still can’t get enough of Easter chocolate and know this has to stop!)

  4. says

    I never count calories! Such a waste of time! I know that if I were to count how many calories I consume in a day it would be more than I want it to be…. not that I want it to be low…?
    Basically, I have better things to worry about :)

  5. says

    OMG, those cartoons are hilarious. I’m counting weight watchers points right now….I’d like to think by the time I get to my goal my healthy habits will be fairly engrained so not every morsel that goes in needs to be ‘counted’. But for now, it is. Cracking the champagne to that! Have a great Wednesday.

  6. says

    I’ve never counted calories. I stick to whole, healthy foods and stop eating before I feel full. It works and I don’t have to do math. Win.

  7. says

    I do count calories. It makes me very nervous not to track my food. I know that I won’t suddenly become 245 lbs again but I don’t want to get outside of my happy zone. I typically eat 1,800 to 2,000 a day – more if it’s a long run day or double workout.

  8. says

    i used to count calories a lot but lately I haven’t. I think I just got tired of it. I try to just portion myself and run a lot… It seems to be working. Those cookies look delicious btw!

  9. says

    I used to be on myfitness pal and tallying it all in like a champ (also lost weight and kept off previously with WW). Which made me neurotic. so many numbers!
    Running avg 40 m/week, plus lifting a few days, swimming a few days…so while I want to lean out a little – I just focus on making sure that my meals are balanced, I am not starving myself, eating crap or eating just for the hell of it (boredom eater over here!).
    I swear so much common sense can be put into weight loss, and accountability. I may marathon train a ton but I know sitting around with a spoon in the almond butter jar and eating ALL the carbs will derailed any weight loss effects of my training.

  10. says

    I used to be obsessed with counting calories, but I stopped when I started training for marathons. I usually do an estimate for the day just to make sure I’m not way over or way under, but I try not to stress about it too much!

  11. says

    I’m actually trying to ween myself away from counting
    and just focus on eating clean.
    However because I have done it for about 3 years
    most of it is just 2nd nature.
    I want to only count when I add new things to my eating.
    Other than that I can naturally usually conclude how much I ate
    in a day without actually writing it down.

  12. says

    I use Sparkpeople.com to count my calories. For me, it helps me get a well-balanced diet and watch my numbers–calories, sodium, calcium, etc.–and keep me on point. I lost 15-20lbs. just by monitoring and reducing my caloric intake last year and that was without adding in any exercise. I know some people can get incredibly intense about but for me, it is accountability. And if I splurge, I know how much I need to work out to work it off :)

  13. says

    I used to count calories but it got way too obsessive in an unhealthy way so I try not to focus on calories and just eat intuitively.

  14. says

    I find counting calories tedious, annoying, slightly dangerous, but really effective. Last summer I did it for a month and dropped 8 pounds. I stopped and 6 of the pounds came back. I think it works for some people, but those with obsessive tendencies or eating disorders might want to consider other options.

  15. says

    I do roughly estimate my calories. I eat pretty much the same food daily, so I know my #s. I hate it, though. As a p-trainer I help my clients track their cals, so I def practice what I preach.

  16. says

    I tried counting calories with the barcode scanner on my phone a couple of years ago but there would always be things I would forget to input and then I would be really under my allowance and upbeat UNTIL I remembered what I missed off in the middle of the night and realise I’d actually ended up going over! More hassle, more stress! Now I just try to eat a little healthier and not as much!

  17. says

    I never counted calories before. Then I gained a lot of weight and joined a weight loss challenge and started journaling my food. Then I started counting calories. It was the only way that I was able to lose weight. I’ve lost 32 pounds since last year. I used to hate counting calories but now I feel like it helps keep me in control or I know I will overeat. I don’t usually count calories on the weekend though.

  18. Sarah says

    I used to count calories for years. But then it started working against me and I was gaining weight and tearing my hair out. Now I focus my energies on eating clean, whole foods, at least 50% raw. This is more about nutrition and intuitive eating than weight loss and I’m finding it way more sustainable. Plus, the pounds are slowly moving in the right direction :)

  19. Jen says

    Every so often I’ll count calories, just to get an idea but like others I agree it can get obsessive very easily. I’ve found it to be a lot healthier to make nutritional goals, like to eat 2 servings of dark green veggies, 3 servings of calcium, grams of protein etc. That way too I can’t talk myself into skipping a meal to make up for that extra large sundae (and hey the ice cream can count towards my calcium serving!)

  20. says

    I counted calories for a while – but after about 6 months of really getting everything down I kinda had it figured out so that I didn’t need to do it anymore. I could estimate and follow my same patterns that I established and end up being fine.

  21. Denise says

    I count calories every now and again. I usually get screwed up when it comes to dinner and I’m not counting things like olive oil or making a recipe that is divided by 5 people and I have to figure it all out and it gets complicated.

    After my 3rd baby, I wanted to loose those last ten pounds and went on weight watchers. I use to get so mad because I was allowed something like 20 points. If I ate a yogurt it was 3-4 points BUT if I wanted to eat some chocolate kisses it would be like 1 point. It made no sense and the program would put like a sad face if I went over my points eating whole foods. wth?

    • says

      That was my frustration with WW too. I never drank diet soda until I started WW. I kinda feel like it taught me a few bad habits. I know it works great for some people, it just didn’t do that much for me.

      • says

        Actually, Weight Watchers has changed their plan so that people make better choices. Almost all fruits and vegetables count as 0 points and they’ve adjusted the way they calculate points to take calories out of the equation and take carbs and protein into account, not just fiber and fat. So it actually works out that I find myself making MUCH better choices. I fill up on fruits and veggies and complement my meals with lean protein and healthy fats. Sound familiar? :)

        On the old WW plan, if I wanted a snack, I could choose between a large banana or a 100-calorie snack pack for the same amount of points. I’m a total volume eater with a sweet tooth, so on the new plan, I can have not only the banana (0 points) but throw some PB2 on it for a total of 1 point.

        Also, the way they calculate points now, no one is below 26 points. That’s the minimum ANYONE will eat on the plan. Not to mention the activity points and the 49 weekly points.

        It teaches me healthy habits without making me freak out about calories or “going over”. I have my 49 weekly points to fall back on.

        In just over 2 months, I’ve lost 20 pounds while still enjoying every food I love (hell, I just ate a giant beef burrito). As for cost? I don’t do meetings or the online thing. I downloaded an app for $2.99 that has a point calculator, meal builder, and huge database of foods. So I am good to go.

        (I am totally not shilling for WW. I just love it because it is the only plan I have stuck to for more than a month or two and it has really transformed how I look at food and plan my meals.)

        • says

          Weird question, but on the new WW plan, couldn’t you just have the large banana AND the 100 calorie snack pack for the same amount of points? If a banana is 0, then it would seem like you could have both instead of choosing one, which you had to do before.

  22. says

    I never count. As long as I’m eating on the clean side and exercising, I don’t worry about it unless the dryer keeps shrinking my pants. ……..

  23. says

    I have counted calories in the past, but then I got WAY too obsessive about it. Now, I just focus on eating what I crave/want, being sure that I’m getting those fruits and veggies and protein everyday, but not obsessing over it. I’ve been doing IF for a few months, and it’s really made me highly aware of what I actually want to eat, which has turned out to be plenty of leafy greens, broccoli, fruits, etc. It’s pretty amazing! :)

  24. says

    I use MyFitnessPal, but take time away from logging calories and weighing myself whenever I start feeling too obsessive about it (or my hubby points out that I’m being obsessive).

    However, I’ll be starting to use the BodyMedia later this week. I’m interested to see what it says!

    • Steph says

      I’ve been using bodymedia link for a year now. I took a break for awhile during the holidays from my food tracking but still monitored activity and sleep. I do get a little obsessive checking it some days when more active or a longer run or different workout. The most surprising thing I learned was that when I was trying to eat healthy I was not eating enough calories. The best thing I feel like I’ve learned is a healthier balance of carbs, fat, and protein. It also makes me so much more aware of how little I move during the course of an 8 work day at a desk job.

  25. says

    I count calories when I’m really trying to get the weight down or training for something. I usually stick to 5 small meals a day and eat 300-400 calories for each meal. When I”m not worried about my weight, I just try to watch what I eat and limit the junk.

  26. says

    I was training for a marathon on a vegetarian diet and started using the MyFitnessPal app to track my protein, which is really convenient for counting calories, too. I stopped using it because I started to focus on calorie reduction and honestly lost more weight than was healthy. But, to anyone looking for an easy way to keep track of calories, macronutrients, etc., MyFitnessPal is definitely worth checking out.

  27. says

    I have honestly wasted way too much time counting in my head or using an app! I just gave it up about a month ago & it’s marvelous. Trying really hard to focus on eating when I’m hungry. Duh, what a novel concept. I like food & I like wine even more. That.Is.All :)

  28. says

    I count calories at the moment because I’m on a dedicated track to losing weight – and the most efficient way to do that is calories in v. calories out. So I have to know my calories in. That being said, it’s not always the most fun way to be and I catch myself sometimes getting too concerned with it, trying to manipulate the math, etc. I fully intend to go to the point of eating whole foods and stopping/not eating when I’m hungry as soon as I’m in the range of my goal weight!

  29. says

    I seriously think counting calories IS THE DEVIL. But that’s just me. When I did count, it was too obsessive of a behaviour. Now, if I just eat what I’m craving, it usually doesn’t take much for me to feel satisfied and bang! Done eating. :)

    And I don’t count sheep…I count birds. BAHAHAHA.

      • says

        Today I have counted 10 different species…and that was just walking down the street. Hopefully more later when I head to the beach and see some seabirds.

        And I spell behaviour like that because I took almost 8 years of french…I’ve been practicing lately. hahaha

  30. says

    Counting calories made me a crazy person. When I stopped a couple years ago I actually lost about 10 pounds and I think I gained about 10 million times the mental health and stability.

  31. says

    I’ve never been a calorie counter – sometimes I check the calorie content in certain foods but rarely. I’m too lazy to track my calories!!

  32. says

    Counting calories makes me absolutely bonkers. Plus I HATE HATE HATE that most apps include calorie content for fruits and veggies. Please. Those are total freebies in my book.

  33. Melissa K. says

    Glad i could inspire your post :) i appreciate reading all the comments and ppl opinions on it! I dont obsessively count but i do try to keep a close coun through the week at least. Im just getting frustrated bc i eat healthier and work out more than i ever have but i cant get rid of the 10-15 lbs i gained in the past 3 yrs. Doesnt sound like a lot but im short and it shows on me even if its just 5 lbs. blah. :(

    • says

      Of course! It was a good question :)

      I would step away from the scale for a little bit and just focus on how you feel. Eat healthy, move, and focus on the good stuff. The rest will follow (and if it doesn’t then you can go back to counting for a bit).

  34. says

    I try not to. But I usually reflect at the end of the day on how many fruits and veggies I’ve had, protein, and carbs. Then..if I was off..I’ll work on doing better the next day.

    Counting calories just makes me hungrier.

  35. says

    For me, strict calorie counting is the only way I lose weight. I’m just broken and eat too much if I don’t no matter whether it’s carrots or carrot cake. I’m proof that you can have a super healthy diet and train for endurance races and totally still gain weight. 😛

    I plan out my meals for the week and spend some time pre-tracking what I’m going to eat, so I have a general idea of what my week will be like. Then, if something goes awry, I can go “ok, I was going to have black bean soup and a salad, but I’m going out to eat, what’s the same amount of nutritional value/calories/protein/etc”

  36. says

    I hate counting calories! I’ve been able to maintain my weight just by listening to what my body wants. Counting calories made me feel fat and depressed. When I stopped, food tasted better.

  37. says

    I typically don’t weigh myself or count calories. When I do, I get too focused on numbers and it makes me go bonkers. I try to go based more on how I feel rather than “calories in, calories out.” It works out much better when I do that.

  38. says

    I’ve lost over 50 pounds doing Lose it, my husband has lost almost 70! It’s such an easy tool to use.

    The hard part is now that I have 5 pounds left that I want to lose and am running and biking like crazy to find the correct amount of calories to eat to keep losing. I just upped them again after checking the scooby bmi site to get a better idea of how much I should be eating with all the exercise I’m doing.

  39. says

    Nope, don’t count calories. I try to eat “healthy” during the weekdays and maybe have a nicer meal (ie go out for dinner) on Saturday or Sunday.

  40. says

    I don’t count calories, they are just numbers and do not indicate how much nutrition my body is getting. I hope that by “calorie free” drinks you mean water :)

  41. says

    I don’t count calories but I do count stairs. It doesn’t matter if I already know how many are there I still have to count them both going up & down. Even the stairs in my house. I’ve lived here almost 12 years but evey time I have to count them. Going up there are 10 which takes you to the landing and then there are 5 more. What’s wrong with me!?!?!?!?

  42. says

    I’ve never been a calorie counter – sometimes I check the calorie content in certain foods but rarely.I focus on eating healthy, whole foods.However,this article is great

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