Today I read this article about counting calories and how "it doesn't matter."
I'm kind of conflicted by it, actually.
I get what the author is saying, in a way. But I also feel like the article is misleading in that its directed at people who are interested in maintaining their weight, not losing.
I think counting calories DOES matter. I have tried every weight loss gimmick on the market and the only thing that has EVER worked for me was counting calories eaten vs. burned.
Working at a calorie deficit works. Its science. And the thing of it is, is that is doesn't necessarily mean working out every day for hours. A friend from high school and I both used this method differently, with similar results. We both counted calories we ate and calories we burned. I did about 30-40 minutes of cardio every day with very little weight lifting and lost 20 pounds. She walked her dog twice a day for an hour or more and lost the same. She didn't go to the gym once. She chose to do longer, lower impact things to keep her moving and I chose shorter high impact workouts and they both worked.
Being mindful of calories is what we both did the same.
When you are trying to lose weight, calories DO matter. I'm not suggesting you kill yourself to account for every sip and bite. But (I think) having a nonchalant attitude about calories is what resulted in me putting back on the 10 pounds I had already lost. A daily calorie surplus of 250 calories each day will result in the gaining of half a pound in a week. I'm not making this stuff up. 250 calories a day may sound like a lot, but its only a small non fat latte with no whip cream.
I am not suggesting restricting anything. As a former eating disordered person, I know that restriction leads people down dark and dangerous pathways, many times without them even knowing it.
I'm suggesting working the things you love into your daily calorie goals. Its a give and take and you can do it without over eating. I remember there was one night where I was just hankering for a soda. I never have cravings for soda but when it didn't go away for three days, I decided to give in. All I did was take the half and half out of my coffee that morning and skipped the feta cheese on my salad. I got to have what I wanted and I didn't blow my day by tacking on extra calories.
Just to be clear, I do not advocate counting calories for a lifetime. (Who even has TIME for that?) But while you are losing, it is the most effective way (I've found) to get results. (Disclaimer: I am not an expert. I am just a regular old person trying to lose weight safely and effectively.)
Once you are in maintenance, then you can adopt the "it doesn't matter mentality" that the article refers to. That's just my opinion but this is my blog, so deal.
Although I am always interested to hear what y'all think, too. :-)