Home Debunking The Myths Understanding Calorie Counting: The Payoff – Why Am I Doing This To Myself?

Understanding Calorie Counting: The Payoff – Why Am I Doing This To Myself?

by Erika Nicole Kendall

For our first series ever, Black Girl’s Guide To Weight Loss will be explaining calorie counting, and ways to win the war. This is post 4 of the series – post 1, Defining The Basics of Calorie Counting, can be found here. Comments are always welcomed, and questions will always be answered to the best of my ability. :)

What do you get from calorie counting, you may ask? Let me tell you what it did for me (really, that’s all I can do at this point, LOL.)

Calorie counting reinforced my ability to be a conscious consumer. Meaning, I am much more able, now, to really take a good hard look at what I’m eating and gauge exactly how much I’m putting into my mouth. I no longer have the insane portion distortion from which I used to suffer.

Calorie counting gave me the ability to say “No.” Checkers? “No.” Big greasy 2,000 calorie lo mein platter from PF Chang? “No.” Eating half a box of fried taquitos in one sitting? “No.” Firecracker Stuffed [with cheese and everything else under the kitchen sink and fried] Jalapenos wiiiiiiiiiiiiith the entire thing of Chili Con Queso (1,950 calories, 134g of fat, and 6,540 milligrams of sodium) from On the Border? “Hell No.” I haven’t even BEEN to Checkers in 7 months. I’m starting to think I’d like to keep it that way. My newly developed self control allows me to follow through on that thought.

Calorie counting taught me how to gauge what’s in what I’m eating, thanks to all the looking up I did. (Note: Mind you, I OD’d on the looking up, thanks to that Lose It! app for the iPhone/iTouch, of foods just because I could.. no one has to be that obsessive with it to be successful. Looking it up the night after is just as effective.) I can now gauge how many calories is in that alfredo dish at Olive Garden. I can guess how many calories are in that KFC macaroni salad. I now know to avoid most dishes with a creamy consistency because of the potential fat levels, and that’s without even looking it up. I now know to avoid most salads at restaurants without telling them “cheese, avocado, dressing, and any other fattening mess on the side, please.”

Calorie counting taught me how to be more aware of what I was feeding my family. Please believe that it’s made me a more watchful cook for the people who eat from my kitchen. This has resulted in us all becoming healthier.

Calorie counting has helped me to understand my limits. I can’t control myself when it comes to goldfish crackers. I can control myself if I have ginger snaps in the house. My daughter might despise me for not keeping goldfish in the house anymore, but she’s happy with how I doll up her ginger snaps. Less sodium for her, too.

Calorie counting made me aware of the empty calories I was eating or specifically for me… the empty calories I was drinking. I eventually gave up sodas, except for mixing them with my alcohol… but then I eventually gave up alcohol. I occasionally had pop when I had an ice cream float, but then I stopped eating so much ice cream! It just became less of an indulgence for me. If my favorite soda was 200 calories in each time I drank it, and I’m only allowed 400 calories for lunch… what on Earth am I supposed to eat with it? Two pieces of cardboard? Pfft!

As I think of more benefits, I’ll probably edit this and add more.

Looking for other posts in the Understanding Calorie Counting series? Check the links below!

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RL February 7, 2011 - 8:36 PM

So true. For me, calorie counting is an essential part of choosing a healthy lifestyle. It’s a tangible way to keep track of what I consume without relying on gimmicky plans or force feeding myself bland, pre-packaged meals and shakes. No disrespect to those who have had success with plans like Weight Watchers, but if you practice nutritional intelligence (e.g. counting calories, reading labels), you can save a ton by skipping the point system and keeping your own score. The best part is that nutritional info is readily available on most food packages and the internet. No need to rely on a third party to interpret it. After awhile, you rarely have to things up. You just know.

Mary Ann MacKay February 14, 2012 - 8:58 PM

It’s true that calorie counting becomes a lot easier as you familiarize yourself with the basics. And that awareness of how much I am actually eating is a great deterrent to ingesting more!

Let’s see, that 400 pound burger at the restaurant will take how long to burn off on the treadmill/elliptical? No thanks! I’ll have the salad!

Instead of calorie counting, I like to call it calorie awareness. It sounds like a lot less work for people! This awareness also helps to realize that not all calories are created equal, either. But that’s another topic. 🙂

Pinkdiamond734 March 25, 2013 - 8:33 PM

Love this post! so true everything you said…I used to ate to count calories now I enjoy it because i have a stop button whereas before I didn’t know when to stop.

Atten June 27, 2013 - 5:31 PM

I’m new to calorie counting and a healthy life style. I’m still trying to take all of it in. So do you still eat 3 meals a day or do you eat what you want until you reach you calorie intake for the day?

Erika Nicole Kendall June 27, 2013 - 11:00 PM

Three meals a day, sometimes more. Either way, I try to stay under my goal.

Chante Chanel June 18, 2014 - 12:29 PM

I’ve tried calorie counting from time to time, and I agreed that it’s good and helps but for some reason I just can’t stick to it. I’ll do it for a while then fall off. What kind of routine do you have that allows you to keep up with it?

Erika Nicole Kendall June 30, 2014 - 1:11 PM

I snap a photo of whatever I’m eating prior to eating it and, if I have time, I’ll input my info into my calorie counting app right then. That way, I can at least compute everything at the end of the day and tabulate how I did.

I build it into my schedule, so that I, without thinking, flow right from one activity to the other, not even thinking about it. Keeps it simple.

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