4 Reasons Counting Calories is Bullshit and 1 Reason To Try It

Seriously, stop counting calories. It's bullshit.

1) Calorie information on labels is not required to be accurate.

Wait, what?

It's true. You should assume that all posted calorie information is at least 20% off. Sometimes up to 70%. If you are awesome at spreadsheets and numbers and are as diligent as a human can be, you will never be accurate because you aren't starting with accurate numbers.


2) You can't really track how many calories you burn.

But I have a thing that does.

Exercise machines and monitors are guessing. Not about heart rate, about the specific number of calories. Yeah, maybe you can put in your age, gender, height, and weight. But what about your ethnicity, health history, medications, and how much sleep you get? All of that matters.


3) A calorie is not a calorie. Never has been.

But, I heard somebody once said that it is.

Well, that person was wrong. Just think about that. 100 calories of ice cream cake will behave identically to 100 calories of celery? Or think about it this way. Protein is digested in the stomach and carbohydrates are digested in the intestines. Both require different processes and thus, burn calories differently. Or think about it this way. It's easy for your body to store sugar as body fat and it's hard for your body to store lean grass fed beef as body fat.

In the human body, regarding food, a calorie is not a calorie.
In a controlled laboratory setting, a calorie is a calorie.


4) Up to 98% of people counting calories for weight loss fail long term.

But it worked for me and this other guy.

Sure, there is almost always short term weight loss. There is almost always long term (5 years) weight gain. The idea is pretty simple: we eat crappy food and gain body fat, we eat less crappy food and lose some body fat, we feel good about the fat loss and continue eating crappy food, we gain body fat.

Perhaps the solution has something to do with crappy food...


So, counting calories is bullshit. We are now on the same page. However, there is one good reason to try it short term.

1) What the Hell are you eating?

Um, I don't know. Stuff.

If you give yourself 2 weeks of attempting to track the calories you eat, yes, the numbers will ultimately be bullshit but, maybe for the first time you will take a few minutes to stare at your plate and contemplate what you are eating. Think about portion size. Identify foods that are high in calories and decide if you need to eat them as often as foods that are lower. Are you eating wheat at every meal, cuz that's bullshit? Vegetables?

Think about it as a short term experiment. Be meticulous for a little while, learn something, and then remind yourself that counting calories is futile and you have enough futility in your life so screw counting calories!