Why Count Calories? Because Health is Wealth

Many people try to avoid counting calories when trying to achieve weight loss. There are so many new weight loss methods today that it might seem like this is actually possible, especially when some diets specifically advertise that you won't have to count calories at all. In my opinion, this is like a financial self-help book that claims you can get rich without paying any attention to how much you earn or spend. Would you be tempted to believe such a claim?

Calorie counting is budgeting for the body
Even if you have no idea exactly what percentage of your income you spend on your rent, chances are you do keep a budget in your mind, if you're the average responsible adult. This means having a rough idea of how much you can splurge before it's going to land you in trouble. You've probably experienced both sides of the equation-getting into debt as well as having a savings account. The more experience you accumulate, the better equipped you are to judge how much you can spend and how much you need to save. You just can't get away from the basic truth that earning more than you spend equals savings, and that spending more than you earn equals debt.

Weight management is just like that. You have total freedom in deciding what, when, and how to eat your food, but you can't escape the basic truth that eating more than you burn equals weight gain and that burning more than you eat equals weight loss. It's not a theory, a special dieting method, or something someone invented to make you miserable-it's just plain physics.

Calorie counting is NOT a weight loss method
Surprised to hear that? Well, it's true. It could help you lose weight, gain weight, or maintain your weight, but calorie counting is not a weight loss method the same way budgeting is not a way to get rich-it is simply the foundation and basis for weight management the same way budgeting is the basis of money management. It's a tool you can use to see where you can improve your lifestyle choices to achieve what you want to achieve. Feel free to try any diet that sounds good to you-calorie counting still applies. Feel free to try out the latest fitness routine-calorie counting is as important as ever. While you can change your diet and fitness habits without counting calories, you'll be at a loss if for some reason they stop working. You won't know where it went wrong. At the end of the story you could have twenty diets that "just don't work" for you without having any idea why they failed. To use a financial analogy again, it's like buying and selling stocks without ever looking at the stock market. If you wouldn't entrust your finances to Lady Luck, why entrust her with your health?

Calorie counting is not an extreme last-resort measure
If the word "budget" revives in you traumatic memories of math class in grade school, consider this: you probably budget without ever realizing it. Unless you go through life blissfully unaware of the cost of foods, furniture, clothes, and so on, you probably frequently make choices based on what you think you can afford. If you ever treat yourself to something, whether it's an ice cream or a spa treatment, it's because you know that doing it on a daily basis would break the bank. That's budgeting!

Similarly, calorie counting can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. Some people, like athletes and body-builders, want to know exactly where each calorie is going. They may spend hours planning the week's menu or reading and calculating fat percentages. For other people who have no issues with their weight, it may be enough to know that some foods, like chocolate-covered donuts, are very high in calories and low on nutrition. However, most people fall somewhere in the middle. We need to have a rough idea of how much we are actually ingesting per day and compare it to a rough idea of how much we are burning. If you fall into that group, there's great news in store for you.

Calorie counting is so much easier today
Even just a generation ago, no one had mobile devices that could keep track of calories in and calories out. There was no "app" for anything-a notebook and a pencil were your best bet. Besides that, calorie counting usually meant reading nutrition labels, doing the math, and looking up exercises in some kind of chart to calculate calories burned. Today, there are online calorie counters with huge databases of food items and activities so all you have to enter is how much you ate or exercised. That's it! In return, you get all kinds of charts and graphs showing you your progress and what you need to do to achieve your goals. It doesn't get much simpler or easier than that.

It's been said that "Health is wealth," but I would go even further to say that health is our greatest wealth. Responsible money management is all well and good, but your weight management is far more important. By budgeting for your body, you can avoid the high health risks associated with being overweight, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer. A few minutes every day on your computer or mobile device to make sure you're nutritionally on track-wouldn't you say it's worth it?

About the author: Varsha Aditya is a writer for the popular calorie counter website CaloriesAndMore.com which promotes healthy and sustainable weight loss without all the impossible rules of fad diets. Visit us to find more articles about sustainable weight loss, and see how CaloriesAndMore.com's huge database of foods and activities can make calorie counting a breeze.

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