Why NOT To Count Calories

Calories. A word that many of us dread, count or say far too often in one day. The basis of what you should consume on a day-to-day basis, right? 2,500 for men and 2,000 for women if I remember correctly. But what do calories really say about the quality of your diet? In my opinion, not very much.

Although I’ve never been a calorie counter, others counting calories had never bothered me. That was until the day one of my friends told me that she would have to be sick (yes, sick!) if she ate my 650 cal pasta salad, simultaneously pointing to the nutritional information on the packet. Well, you can imagine my horror. Not only had my friend just insulted my meal whilst openly suggesting that she has an unhealthy disorder- which she doesn’t, by the way- she had made me question whether what I had thought to be a relatively healthy meal was really any good for me at all. What’s more, my super-healthy-calorie-counting friend then proceeded to demolish her 450 cal mini portion of chip shop chips…

Of course, what was I thinking? Only 450 calories in a (mini) bag of chips is way better than a nutrition-packed 650 cal pasta salad. Pfft, best get down to the chip shop every day- four bags and I’m still under my recommended daily calorie intake. Wooohoo!

The truth is, that it’s not so much about the calories, but about the nutritional value of you food. Two meals with the exact same calorie count can have very different impacts on your body. 

Not only that, but we all burn calories differently- some quicker than others- and the amount of calories that we burn also depends upon how active we are. Did you know that roughly, it takes around 25-30 minutes of running to burn just 300 calories? With 2000+ calories a day to burn, we’d all best get moving! 

Don’t get me wrong, calories aren’t all bad. They can be used to help guide how much food you are eating and therefore influence the maintenance of healthy consumption levels. However just remember- it’s not always about how much you eat, but about what you eat. Perhaps next time I hear somebody complaining that they’re not going to eat something because it has ‘too many calories’, I’ll send them in the direction of the local chip shop. 

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