Why Counting Calories isn't the ONLY Way to Lose Weight


Do you count calories?

There are so many books and apps and weightloss programs focused on the NUMBER of calories that goes into your body everyday.  You need to take in fewer calories than you burn every day in order to lose weight.  That's a pretty good rule, and definitely one of those "duh" statements.

But I personally see two problems with strictly counting calories.

1.  Calories are not all the same!  If I eat 1200 calories of donuts and Mocha Fraps, is that the same as eating 1200 of fresh fruits and vegetables and lean proteins??  NO, of course not!  Maybe many people would choose the "healthy" foods if they're going through the trouble of counting calories,  but I think many would also say it's easier to "cheat" if you know you're within your calorie range.

2.  What happens when you have an unhealthy relationship with calorie counting?  Personally, I have a history that includes an eating disorder.  I counted calories to the extreme, and even though I've recovered, I still have a tendency to see EVERY food as a NUMBER.  I start agonizing over the size of an apple because I know that a small apple is roughly 53 calories but a large is closer to 95.  I start playing games with myself, either OVER eating to compensate for what my mental darkness wants me to do, or letting myself feel super guilty when I feel like I do the wrong thing.  I just get all messed up in my mind, and I KNOW that some of you reading this are nodding your head in agreement.

So what do we do instead??  Everyone uses that fun MyFitnessPal app but it just doesn't work for us.  Do we just have to "wing it" or "eyeball" our food choices??

I found an alternative that works for me.  Again, I have two parts.

1.  I stopped buying "processed" and "packaged" foods.  My kids and husband still request cereal and certain snacks (it's hard to keep kids away from their Goldfish crackers), and that's ok with me, but for the purposes of family meals and my own weightloss, I had to find another way.  I logged onto 100daysofrealfood.com and learned some new rules for transitioning from white flour and sugar to wheat and almond flour and natural sweetener.  I learned about the benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables and shopping from the "outside" of the grocery store (produce, meat, dairy aisles are all on the "perimeter" of the store, with all those silly boxed meals and cake mixes on the inside aisles) first, before picking the few things needed from the rest of the store (beans, etc.).  I followed the couple of mealplans she offered on the site and started noticing a difference right away in my energy and digestion.

2.  I took it a step further and found Shakeology and the 21 Day Fix.  Shakeology includes all the nutrients my body needs every day, and curbs my cravings for those not so good processed foods and makes me feel AMAZING in so many ways.  The 21 Day Fix is an exercise and nutrition program that changed the game for me.  Suddenly I was introduced to these little colored containers that helped me learn how to eat the correct macros in the correct portions.  WOAH.  I calculated what calorie level I needed (ONE TIME) and then started thinking in COLORS rather than NUMBERS.  For me, it means I could safely lose the weight without obsessing.  I did my workouts, drank my shake, ate according to my goals with the containers, and guess what--LOST THE WEIGHT!  Now I'm able to maintain almost 10 months later because I still follow the macro and color formula.



There's my big "secret" for how I lost 20 lbs and 10 inches, after recovering from anorexia and gaining almost 60 lbs with back to back pregnancies.  You don't have to starve, and you don't have to calorie count.  You CAN lose weight, or just get healthy (hello, muscles anyone? they're my favorite summer accessory) without resorting to the things that make you uncomfortable.

Do you want to talk more about it?  Please find me on Facebook at fb.com/shannonambrosonCOACH or fill out the contact form on the right of this page.  I would love to hear YOUR story!