Going on a Diet: Do You Need to Count Calories?


When it comes to losing weight, we all want to do so quickly, painlessly and with the minimum amount of effort possible. We want to close our eyes for a couple of weeks, and then open them and see a perfectly svelte new us in the mirror. Due to that impulse many of decide to ‘wing it’ when it comes to dieting, not bothering to actually count calories but rather do our best to control what we eat and limit the more egregious kinds of caloric rich food that we normally consume. Is this an effective way to lose weight? Can one accurately diet without counting calories? In today’s article we’re going to take a look at the reality of the situation and see what your best option is.

The greatest risk with not counting calories is that studies have consistently shown that people tend to underestimate how much they are eating by about 50% and overestimate their activity level by 50%. This results in a huge imbalance that can lead to endless frustration since at the end of the month they will not have realized their weight goals while believing they have followed their diet plan accurately. This results in people making ludicrous claims about dieting not working and the like, when in truth the problem lies with their methodology.

The reason people count calories is because it gives them an objective point of reference from which to gauge their progress. If you limit yourself to 2,000 calories and yet are still not losing weight, then you know you need to try dropping to 1,900 calories and see if that makes a difference. However, if you are determined to not count calories, or simply find it too tedious or awful to do so, then you simply need to substitute another objective scale into the place of caloric counting.

The best replacement is to measure your body fat percentage on a semi-weekly basis. Get yourself a hydrostatic scale and then weight yourself at the same time every day, and take note of your how your body fat percentage is changing. If you notice it creeping up, then be more strict with what you are eating. Doing this will allow you to skip counting calories while still keeping an objective eye on the reality of your diet on your weight. Remember, be consistent and always weigh yourself at the same point in the day!