September 22, 2017

Is Calorie-Counting For You? By Danielle Prestejohn

For a very long time I was convinced the answer to my weight loss would come down to math. If I could just figure out the perfect amount of calories to eat then I could finally lose weight for good. Problem with this was I got a bit carried away and dipped into some dangerously low calorie counts in the process. When I started to learn that my weight or life for that matter, wasn’t all about the number of calories I consumed I started to get a little less strict.

Eventually I gave up calorie counting all together but in the process I came across a minor hiccup; I knew how many calories were in just about everything. Even now I can easily rattle on the calorie contents of dozens of foods. It seems to be something I retained and have never forgotten. As you can imagine this made taking a blind eye to how many calories I was consuming rather difficult. In the process I developed some strategies to help me get away from the structure of my calorie counting diet and they have brought me tons of success in moving away from such a rigid diet.

Eat out. This was one of the scariest things for me but eating out helped me immensely because I learned to give up the control of my food. Someone else was preparing what I was eating and I had no clue how many calories I was consuming. Was it frightening? Absolutely. Was it worth it? Totally.

Cook. During the deepest of my dieting days I would rely on packaged foods that had a definite number of calories. Things like bars, shakes, and frozen dinners were perfect because they had an exact number of calories. No thinking included. When I started cooking this all became a little less obvious. Sure I knew how many calories were in a piece of chicken, but when I added peppers, spinach, and unknown amount of oil, I had no idea how many calories I was getting. This brings me to my next point…

Don’t weigh or measure a thing. For a very long time my food scale was my best friend. When I threw mine away I took away the knowledge of just how much I was eating. Suddenly I was estimating portions and slowly forgetting what exactly 4 ounces of chicken or a tablespoon of peanut butter looked like.

Cook in batches. I started experimenting with things like soups, stews, and chili because I could throw a ton of ingredients in a bowl, mix it up, and take out a portion without knowing exactly how much of anything was in that meal. I was really hesitant about this one but this ended up being one of the secrets to learning how to listen to my hunger cues again.

This article is written by Danielle Prestejohn, M.S. Applied Nutrition. Sign up for Danielle’s free guide to ditching the diets and ditching the misery via For more information go to and

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