Count on Counting Calories for a Limited Time, Not Every Day for the Rest of Your Life
I haven’t written down or recorded calories in well over 18 months.
I’m going to start doing it again eventually on a limited basis for the purpose of showing people what I eat every day, but for the reason of losing weight, tracking what I eat, etc, I haven’t counted calories since late 2009.
You know how Neo looked at that screen in The Matrix and didn’t see line sof code, but instead a landscape, people, etc? That’s how you’ll get after you count calories for a little while. You will be able to look at a plate of food and the size of the portion and be able to fairly accurately estimate how many calories is in that meal.
Well, you’ve looked up the calories in the meal before, probably a few times. You’ll always try new things and find new restaurants, but let’s be honest, we’re creatures of habit. We repeat the same 10-15 meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and once you memorize the calories for them, you don’t have to look them up again.
Tracking calories is like studying for a test. With enough studying, by looking up calories enough, you won’t have to do it again.
I know the combo I get at Chic-fil-a is about 960 calories. I know the meal I get a Chipotle is around 700. I know a serving (cup) of Raisin Bran is about 140 calories, not including milk (which is 110 calories).
I didn’t just look up these figures, but I have before and won’t need to again.
Now, do I still watch the amount of calories I eat and count calories to some extent? Absolutely, but it’s a running tally in my head. And rarely do I try to hit exactly 2,400 calories a day — I just eat in moderation, smaller portions throughout the day, and stay conscious of calories. It all works out in the end.
If you are still in the beginning stages though, or aren’t anywhere close to reaching your goal weight, I would still strongly recommend meticulously tracking calories just to make sure you’re developing good habits. It’s a hard to eventually keep a running tally of calories in your head and make progress if you’re underestimating your calories by a few hundred every day.
Until you see progress, you should definitely track your calories using whatever means are at your disposal — pen and paper, MyFitnessPal, etc. Just know that one day you won’t have to invest so much time into counting and tracking calories.
It’ll be like Neo looking at the Matrix, pardon the nerdy reference.