No matter what, counting calories always works. That being said, it sucks. It can be demoralizing. It can take the wind out of your sails. It can send you to the fridge sooner than you can go over your calorie limit by a mere one calorie.
It also requires work. Heck, you have to look up stuff on food calculators. You have to figure out what your levels should be, if you really want to lose weight. You probably need some kind of app tracker, maybe a food scale, measuring cups… Yes, it sucks… But, guess what?
Counting Calories Works
You can lose tons of weight by tracking calories - it is still the root reason of why every diet works in the end.
Make no mistake about it, however, if you reduce calories you will lose weight—be it on Keto, Vegan, Fasting and whatever. It is that simple. Most of the other playbooks on The Football Fan’s Diet ultimately come to down to reducing calories in the end.
With that in mind, what counting calories is missing in terms of a simple dieting plan is that many of the other playbooks make it easier, or more optimal to consume calories. For example, the intermittent fasting protocols purportedly put your body into this highly metabolic state where it wants to chew up those calories that you give it.
So after fasting for 20 hours, your body wants those calories to use immediately versus storing them as a fat. Still, it all comes down to calories.
Coach’s Thoughts on Counting Calories
Scratch has had one of his best weeks of intermittent fasting only when he decided to count the calories that he ate during his intermittent fasting window. When he didn’t count calories, he tended to over do caloric beverages like beer and milk. He also didn’t realize how many calories were packed into the condiments, which he would slather onto sandwiches.
A key to successfully counting calories is portion size or being able to recognize what a serving actually looks like too. For the untrained and the morbidly obese, that is something that can be difficult to do.
Should you count ‘Net’ Calories?
Most app calorie trackers let you subtract physical activity namely in the amount of calories that you burn. So if you burn 300 calories on the elliptical machine, you can subtract that from your total calories consumed.
Alternatively, a lot of app weight trackers might let you set an activity level to estimate your calories so you don’t have to bother with tracking net calories.
Scratch finds subtracting exercise and activity calories highly motivating. He derives a lot of satisfaction in seeing how many calories he burned by being physically active. Therefore, it encourages him to be more active.
Subtracting calories for activity is especially motivating when you are faced with an event, where you know you might have a high amount of calories—picnic, wedding, party, etc. For instance, Scratch likes to hit the gym early and make sure he gets an hour of cardio in at the gym or at least a half hour. Then when he sees that he burned 500 or sometimes up to 800 calories, he realizes a few beers later in the day, is not going to significantly impact his weight loss plans.
On the other hand, counting calories for everything you do, can make a cheater out of you too. You might overestimate what you did and how many calories you burned. Ultimately, the scale is the barometer of how true you are to counting calories.
More About Counting Calories
The following articles published on The Football Fan’s Diet discuss counting calories.