Counting Calories vs. Intuitive Eating for Fat Loss – AFL 2.2
In this video, I go over whether you should track your calories or intuitively eat for fat loss.
In order to lose fat, you need to be in a caloric deficit.
Do you need to track your calories to be in a caloric deficit?
No, not necessarily but tracking your calories can help ensure your dietary success.
While I do go into much greater detail about how to properly count calories in the freebie eBook I created, Counting Calories 101, I use this video and post to focus on comparing and contrasting the differences between tracking calories and intuitive eating in respect to your accelerated fat loss success.
In order to put emphasis on which method might be best for you, I want to relate counting calories and intuitive eating to the analogy of having an accountant.
If you hire an accountant you expect them to manage your finances and help you keep an accurate account of your financial records; where you are spending your money, paying your taxes, etc.
Are you capable of managing your finances without an accountant? Sure.
However, having an accountant means you’ll become aware of your spending habits and will ideal work towards holding yourself accountable to a budget that you and your accountant set. Ideally, instead of letting your money burn a hole in your pocket and splurging on unnecessary things you want, you’ll spend it on things you actually need or that are useful and stick to said budget.
The same can be said for a calorie accountant, with the small caveat that more often than not you will be your own calorie accountant. Holding yourself accountable to your diet, controlling your caloric intake and expenditure, and managing your nutrition.
As a calorie accountant, you not only keep a detailed account of your dietary choices/habits, but you gain insight into your positive and negative dietary habits that allow you to be successful or put a thorn in your progress.
While there are numerous ways to hold yourself accountable to your nutrition program one of the easiest ways to become your own calorie accountant is to count your calories using something like MyFitnessPal.
NOTE If you find yourself getting in your own way when it comes to being a calorie accountant then you may want to pass the responsibility to someone else. For example, a close friend/family member or hire a coach to create you a meal plan and help hold you accountable to your nutrition program.
Intuitive eating, on the other hand, is the equivalent of not having an accountant and spending your money as you see fit. Providing you with dietary freedom and less accountability that you don’t find in strict calorie counting.
In this case, you tend to only see the outcome of your dietary choices somewhere down the line. For example, losing fat, gaining fat, etc.
While it is entirely possible to reach your goals and intuitively eat unless you have unparalleled self-control the likelihood is small. More often than not you’ll find yourself either not making progress towards your goals or going in the wrong direction.
However, while intuitively eating for your goals is difficult to master, I do fully believe it is something to strive for. Primarily because tracking your calories 24/7 365 is time-consuming and can get in the way of enjoying some of the finer things in life. Mastering intuitive eating won’t happen overnight, however, in the long-term gaining heightened body awareness and self-control will allow you to hold yourself accountable to your diet without the need to track everything that you consume.
2 Methods for Transitioning to Intuitive Eating
At this point, I want to introduce two methods that take the good qualities of counting calories and intuitive eating and pairs them together to give you the ability to expeditiously reach your goals without having to track your calories indefinitely.
No. 1 Track and Sit Back
The first method I want to introduce is called Track and Sit Back. This method involves you tracking your calories only when you have a specific goal you hope to accomplish.
For example, lose 10 pounds in 5 weeks or lose 5% body fat in 5 weeks.
Once you’ve reached your goal you can take a step back from religious calorie counting and transition into intuitive eating.
This way you only utilize counting calories as a tool to improve your dietary accountability and help expedite you reaching your goals.
No. 2 Track till Comfort
The second method is called Track till Comfort. This method involves you tracking your calories till you feel comfortable with you eating habits and caloric intake and then transitioning into intuitive eating till you reach your goal.
This allows you to understand how your dietary preference might be working for or against your physique goals. Wherein you can go ahead and change your eating habits and/or intake to more closely resemble a goal dietary budget, track for a while, then ween yourself off of tracking. After which you continue your positive eating habits through intuitive eating.
Additionally, since you are aware of how your body feels with your budgeted intake you have less difficulty sticking to your nutrition program; this is because rather than going in blindly to intuitive eating fat loss you have an idea of the caloric and macronutrient content of what you’re eating.
Finally, when you reach your goal and want to change your intake you repeat the process of tracking till comfort with your new caloric intake.
In summation, you can utilize both tracking calories and intuitive eating for fat loss.While counting calories will hold you more accountable to your nutrition program you will sacrifice leniency and freedom in your diet that you get from intuitive eating.
While counting calories will hold you more accountable to your nutrition program you will sacrifice leniency and freedom in your diet that you get from intuitive eating.
If you’re still not sure which method is best for you, take a step back and think really hard about how you respond to dietary freedom or accountability. Do you need that accountability to reach your goals? Or does a strict plan feel stifling and make you uncomfortable?
Once you’ve made an assessment of how you respond to dietary freedom you can devise your plan of attack. Whether you choose counting calories, intuitive eating or somewhere in-between, know that what you select will best represent what you need in a program to achieve the success that you crave.
I want to mention again that the freebie that comes with this post is the Counting Calories 101 guide; this free guide was designed to help you expeditedly reach your fitness goal through mastering your nutrition and counting calories. Click on the box below to get your free copy!
Finally, I want to thank you for taking the time to go through this AFL post.
Mastering intuitive eating or counting calories is no easy feat, however, once you gain control of your fat loss nutrition you’ll be able to reach your fat loss goal with ease.
I wish you the best of the luck with your fat loss journey and look forward to seeing you in the next post.