Is counting calories helpful?

Guest post by Siya Natseva. Follow Siya on her blog, PumpUp (@cinnamonontop), and Instagram/Tumblr cinnamonontop8.

To almost any woman, counting calories is second nature. It’s what we do. Checking and double-checking, calculating away. And wincing throughout the process, as if the mere thought of Ben & Jerry’s instantaneously added a few inches around our waists! For the other half of the species – and, yes, every rule has an exception - the business of counting calories isn’t a matter of life and death. If you questioned the average female on this, though, she’d tell you that: ‘What do men know about food and calories?! Is this a legitimate enquiry?’

But, as has repeatedly been demonstrated, much of our health knowledge is incorrect. In fact, is counting calories really helping us? Or is it a scam, something we’ve conveniently been tricked into swearing by? And, no, this article is not purely intended for Venuses.


(Image c/o Rebloggy)

Obsessive? Navigate away from calorie-counting

Subjectively, as someone who has struggled with her weight over her teenage years, I’m palpably against counting calories. Past struggles notwithstanding, it’s in my character to obsess over insignificant issues like the total sum of calories I consume on any given day. It’s an easy trap I fall into and avoiding it at all costs is crucial for my peace of mind. Eating healthy, maintaining an active lifestyle and embracing a positive mind-set is where my focus is. If you worry too much about digits and tend to turn health into a Math class, you’re better off without a calorie calculator nearby.


(Source: Tumblr)

Calories aren’t nutrients

Calories are units of energy. We eat a meal and, in exchange, we receive energy to support the body functions and get on with our errands. But for health enthusiasts, it’s clear that calories aren’t the only paramount piece of information on a label and, even if they were, quantity doesn’t ensure ‘quality’. Yes, quality of calories is a thing! This is an article of its own, but ‘calories’ aren’t synonymous with ‘nutrients’. A 52 g Snickers bar will provide you with, I don’t know, 245 units of energy, but what else? Apart from the instant energy and refined sugar, there’s not much in the way of nutrition in a Snickers bar. Simply ‘collecting’ calories doesn’t reflect a healthy lifestyle. The aim should be to eat a varied and nutritious diet, without a particular concern for calories.


(Image c/o wifflegif)

It’s a waste of valuable time

Counting calories is a lengthy and dreary activity. You could spend said time either working towards your fitness goals or another venture, or even indulging in a favourite pastime. Once we immerse ourselves in the world of calories, it’s a mental exercise of enormous effort to find our road back out. Humans are wrapped up in the hype of calorie restriction and the bad effects of carbs. Before you know it, your whole existence is defined by logging every single food you eat. Ultimately, a healthy lifestyle shouldn’t be a chore. It shouldn’t be a task of monumental importance, but entirely devoid of pleasure. Where’s the fun in that?!

Yet, there are circumstances in which one can benefit from keeping track of their calorie consumption. Depending on the nature and stage of your journey, your personality and the projected outcomes, you might find it useful. If you aspire to shed a few pounds, acknowledging what and how much you eat can be a good solution. If you don’t suffer from obsessive tendencies and aren’t in danger of losing the plot, a food diary may not be as detrimental. Finally, if you have a very specific objective, linked to an exclusive meal plan, recording your calorie intake will surely assist you.


Howdy, PumpUps!

My name is Siya. I’m 27 years young, with a passion for a healthy lifestyle, including a love for nutritious food and an active routine. Having struggled with my weight for years, it would be incredibly rewarding to me to support others and inspire them to prioritise their health instead of their appearance. I’m currently working out at home and can relate to those on a tight budget. An aspiring blogger and writer, I’ve recently started a blog where I share simple recipes and exercises, and promote a positive body image. I welcome advice from like-minded fitness enthusiasts, for I believe one can never know enough. Hit me up and let’s ace this!