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Wellness

3 reasons you should stop counting calories

Psst, what you should be doing instead is way easier.

Your diet is imperative when it comes to achieving your body goals — be it losing fat or building muscle — but counting calories is definitely not the way to go about controlling what you eat.

Basing your food choices on caloric content isn’t just tedious, doing it can also be counterproductive to your health and fitness efforts. Below, we break down the reasons why you should stop counting calories, and what you should be doing instead!

1. Math is tiring

A big reason why most of us can’t stand counting calories is the amount work and math it takes to log down every single thing we put in our tummies. When you take into account the fact that calorie counting doesn’t even work as you read on, that amount of work suddenly seems even more pointless.

2. Calories aren’t created equal

Let’s say a bag of chips and an apple both contain 100 kcal — does that make both food items equally good for you? Of course not. 

Therein lies the biggest flaw in calorie counting: Not all calories are created equal. 

There are many low-calorie foods that aren’t necessarily good for you, and there are also plenty of wholesome, healthy foods you should be eating that are high in calories. This is especially so for high-fat foods. 

Fat largely contributes to a food’s caloric content, and natural produce like avocados, fish, nuts and eggs contain substantial amounts of (good) fat and therefore, calories. A diet based on calorie counting would mean avoiding food like these but you shouldn’t because they contain essential nutrients that your body needs to function. 

3. Labels aren’t completely accurate

You read that right. In Singapore, food manufacturers and distributors are allowed a variance of up to 20% between the declared nutritional value and the food’s actual nutritional value.

If everything you ate that day has 20% more calories than stipulated, that means you’d be eating 400 kcal more than the recommended 2000kcal a day for females — how’s that for counterproductive? 

What to do instead

Now that we’ve established calorie counting isn’t the best way to go about managing your diet, here’s what you should do instead:

1. Be mindful when you eat

In our busy, modern world, we tend to multitask all the time. However, when it comes to dining, sit down and take the time to focus all your attention on your food. Being mindful of your meals allows you to be clearer about when you’re really full and keeps you aware of what you’re putting into your body.

2. Go natural & nutritious

Instead of measuring your day’s meals by their calorie count, make it a point to make most of your meals with natural, nutrient-rich food. This way, you ensure you’re feeding your body with everything it needs to not just function, but help you work towards your body goals.

3. Listen to your body

Besides being mindful of what you eat, pay attention to your body as well. Listening to your body allows you to better understand when you’re really hungry or when you’re having an emotion-fuelled craving, and can even alert you to certain food groups you may be lacking in your diet. Having control over your body is half the battle won when it comes to a healthier diet.

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