The body needs a certain amount of fuel for you to function each day.
Then a certain amount of fuel on top of this in order to do the things on top of simply ‘surviving’.
Things like exercise, working, chatting with your friends, sex and shopping.
Plus I am sure there are many more but let’s just focus on the important things, for now, shall we?
It gets this fuel from the food you put in in the form of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins which each contain calories.
Carbohydrates and protein have 4 calories per gram and fats 9 calories, this isn’t going to be a deep science lesson so I will leave it at that for now.
When someone looks to track their calories it can take multiple forms usually tracking macros too but I have seen simple calorie counts, protein counts, carbohydrate counts and so on, this allows you to know what you are intaking roughly per day.
Given that calories are going to vary depending on specific portion sizes and even the labeling laws state that they have to be within around 10% one way or another (basically they could be a little wrong).
When you start tracking calories along with your weight you can see what impact a certain amount of calories has on your weight as you go through time e.g has it increased it, decreased or kept it pretty steady and adjust accordingly to get your desired outcome.
The problem with calorie counting is it can get a little obsessive and while I do really like it I do find that people who have a tendency to suffer with anxiety and other similar traits such as myself can get very anxious and obsessive with this.
What I find is great to do is to follow certain guidelines throughout, know what is in my food and be lenient on the intake throughout the week.
I will base my meals around protein as a general rule, only eat when I am hungry unless it is before or after training which are also the meals I will have my main carbohydrate intake included within.
And then put some fats into the other meals around the day. This is all very good however I do need you to know that calories DO matter and me saying you don’t need to count calories is not me saying that calories do not matter, let me please make that clear.
These are simply two ways of getting results depending on what works for you.
The tracking works well if you have a phone with you a lot of the time or are quite new.
And the intuitive eating method if we wanted to give it a name can work well if you really are getting on top of your nutrition and have been tracking in the past.
The thing I find pretty bad is when people say you have to be intuitive straight away.
Personally, it took me about 7 years of tracking before I felt comfortable to do this every day, even now I will track some days if I have a specific goal or endurance event in mind.
And there you have it, tracking calories isn’t the be all end all, it’s a useful tool but if you simply stay in a caloric deficit for weight loss and manage the levels of stress you are under then you will get the results you desire.