Why I Don’t Count Calories

Why I Don’t Count Calories

I know that this may sound like an odd statement coming from a Registered Dietitian. However, I don’t count calories, and I don’t recommend that you do either. Why? I want to help redefine what it means to truly be healthy and live a healthy lifestyle. I want to help people break free from DIETING and the deprivation and stress that comes from it. Being healthy is not just about what  number is on the scale, because skinny does not guarantee healthy. 

I am often asked, “how many calories should I eat?” and “how many calories do you eat?” So, I felt that a post was relevant, and needed, so here we go.

Calorie counting and diets are dating, they have been for years, and I don’t think it’s going very well for them. All you have to do is look at how many people have tried calorie counting, dieting, and are still struggling with or frustrated with their health. The diet industry is a billion dollar industry, yet we are not get healthier as a nation. Heart disease is the number one killer, and diabetes, overweight and obesity are far too common. Watch the documentary “Hungry for Change” to support my point.

The automatic thought, or old way thought is, if someone weighs “too much” then they should “eat less and move more”. While I like the “move more” part, “eating less” is not always the simple answer, or even the right answer. Eating is good for us! Not only do we need food to stay alive, it also helps us thrive and be happy! Think of all the joy that is associated with food from social gatherings, taking the time to make a favorite dish for a loved one, as well as experiencing the fun of seasonal ingredients such as fresh pumpkin in the fall, and sweet peaches in the summer.

I am TRUE foodie. I love food, now….

In my past, I used to not understand food. When I didn’t understand food and what I was putting in my body, I was always frustrated with food and frustrated with my body. In my past I tried calorie counting and different types of diets, all in an effort to “be healthier”. The only result I felt was stressed, low-self esteem, pressure and cravings for all the foods “diet of the month” said I couldn’t eat. I didn’t even feel good about my body, and I definitely did not have the energy and glowing skin I wanted.

The truth is, counting calories alone is not the answer to being healthier and losing weight, or enjoying life!  I DON’T COUNT CALORIES. The truth is we need to focus more on counting nutrients! I don’t mean that you actually keep a calculator with you and are counting up your nutrients all day long. I do mean that we should switch our focus off of calories so much and switch our attention on to how much nutrition is in the calories we are consuming. For example, let’s look at a pretend case study to prove my point.

  • Case Study Participant: Sally McSallerson
  • Objective: To go on a diet, and lose weight
  • Plan of Action: She hears that based on her height, weight and activity level she should be consuming 1600 calories a day. Sally is a very busy woman, she is business woman, a wife, has 3 kids and often eats fast food, or convenience items in between her appointments, errands and her children’s after-school and weekend activities. She keeps tract of everything she eats, and never goes above her 1600 calorie diet plan. She lost 3 pounds in the beginning of her new diet, yet can’t lose anymore weight, and also does not feel any different. She is still tired, bloated, only goes to the bathroom a few times a week, has dark circles under her eyes, doesn’t sleep through the night, and struggles with acne and breakouts. What’s going on?

This is a classic example of what I see with my clients. It IS frustrating! I hear ya! You are trying to do your best to “eat right”, yet you are not achieving the outcome you dreamed of. What’s going on?

Calories are not all the same. 

While Sally McSallerson may be eating only 1600 calories, what if those calories are purely from fast food, processed food or even unhealthy “health” food such as processed protein bars, sugar-free yogurts, and 100 calorie snacks, void of any real nutrition? Is she truly nourishing her body?

What if Sally stopped calorie counting, stopped dieting, and started replacing her calorie controlled meals and snacks with nutrient rich, satisfying foods that were simple and she felt good about eating and serving to her whole family?

She may experience the same result that I did!

I stopped calorie counting years ago, I don’t spend hours in the gym, my skin has improved, my energy levels allow me to keep up with my busy, busy career, and I sleep great through the night. What do I do different? Am I special? No. 

  • I do not have special DNA or lucky genes
  • I do not make a lot of money so I can afford to eat, “fancy health food”
  • I do not have lots of “free time” in my day
  • I do not spend hours in the kitchen cooking everyday

I do…

  • Eat real food, and I enjoy it!
  • I keep food simple
  • I do not stress about being perfect


  • Have I eaten dark leafy greens today? {kale, spinach}
  • Have I drank fresh water today, and lots of it?
  • Have I had whole-grains today {brown rice, quinoa, whole-wheat}

These are just a few examples, yet they help ME keep on track. For example, if I have been go-go all day and I get to dinner I will ask myself, “have I eaten dark leafy greens today?” If the answer is, “no” than guess what’s for dinner? A LARGE dark leafy green salad (plus other toppings to make it a balanced meal). If the answer is “yes”, than guess what’s for dinner? A dark leafy green salad (the more greens the better!) with what ever nutrient I still need more of that day, which could be a side of brown rice, chick peas, and some avocado. Notice that the foods I rely on regularly are not fancy, they are simple foods that come from the earth. Beans and rice are staples for me, and are incredibly affordable.


What is the result of dumping calorie counting?

Will you balloon up? Thighs swell? Grow a double butt? No! I choose foods my taste buds love, and that love and take care of my body. I also feel satisfied and my body tells me when to stop eating, meaning portion control becomes a more natural habit. I choose foods such as:

  • Rich creamy avocado with heart healthy Omega-3s. Avocados are considered a higher calorie food, but guess what? My body feels full and satisfied from the dense real nutrition!
  • Energy boosting and energy lasting carbohydrates such as brown rice, sprouted whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, quinoa and beans (which are a carbohydrate and a protein!)
  • Refreshing and nourishing smoothies! You do not need a fancy blender to get started. Smoothies are the ultimate fast food, and a great way to blend up protein, fiber, vitamins and mineral from yummy fruits and vegetables to kick-start your day!

I could go on and on- and my website here has many additional recipes!

What Improved?

  • My Energy Levels
  • Skin
  • Body Confidence
  • Mental Focus
  • Weight
  • Attitude and Passion for Life
  • Digestion
  • Bathroom Regularity (important for optimal health!)
  • … just to name a few…. are all fantastic!

There is NEVER a quick fix or magic pill for health and weight loss. However, if you do want to achieve real health, and have it last, and even feel better, fast, then eat more NUTRIENT RICH, REAL, WHOLE, PLANT BASED foods. Dump the fear of calories, dump the rules of dieting, dump diet foods that are, “sugar-free or fat-free” and get back to eating REAL food. You are a real person after all, and your body CRAVES real nutrition. You deserve to eat well and take fantastic care of your body. Watch the documentary, “Forks Over Knives” to support this point!


While nutrition is one aspect to overall health, don’t forget health is a WHOLE body approach. Reducing stress, more exercise, fresh air, movement, love, releasing anger and bitterness, there is so much that affects our health!

One question I like to ask my clients is: HOW DO YOU FEEL? Sure feelings are fickle and fleeting, however often we get so busy with the rush-rush of the day we often forget to check in with what our body is trying to tell us.

Ask yourself! Do you feel your HEALTHIEST? Why not? What do you feel you need to do or change in order to feel better? The body is VERY smart at giving us clues and signs of what we need; rest, water, GREEN vegetables.



I encourage you to keep learning, reading and educating yourself on how to naturally and truly nourish your body. My website is a GREAT place to start.

My “Brain-Food” blog posts include educational information about popular nutrition trends such as information on artificial sweeteners, foods to eat for pregnancy, and top GMO foods.

“Recipe” blog posts include simple, healthy and nourishing recipe inspiration.

So if you are feeling frustrated with your diet, and your body, instead of reaching for a snack that “fits your calorie budget”, reach for a snack that nourishes your body, such as a piece of fruit, a handful of nuts, or a little green smoothie!


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