Monday, July 5, 2010

Pros and Cons of Counting Calories for Weight Loss


It can help you to get a reality check of how many calories you are actually eating.

It may help you to identify a problem area so that you can move past a plateau.

Some people may find that this regimented style helps to keep them on track.

Using a computer/internet program to log your food and calories will usually also give you a breakdown of other nutrients that you are ingesting. This could help you to identify areas where you are lacking and areas where you are overdoing it.


Calorie counting can be very time consuming.

It can be too regimented making the process of eating a very negative experience.

It makes you rely more on numbers and less on your natural instincts of hunger and fullness.

Unless you are taking the time to focus on what those calories mean (ie how full/hungry you feel, what the portions look like on your plate, etc), calorie counting will not teach you anything in the long run. However, paying attention to those items can make it a great learning experience.

Does anyone else have any pros and cons they would like to add to the list?


  1. Counting calories can make you realize exactly how *many* you are actually eating, vs. what you think you are eating. That's one benefit I've found.

  2. I like to enter what I have eaten in It keeps a running tally of how many calories I have consumed for the day and how many I have left. This teaches one to make choices that allow them to eat enough to not feel so hungry, and how to space out the food throughout the day. At the end of the day, you can look at a pie chart to see what you might have overdone and what you may need more of. If I don't journal, it is so easy for me to eat without thinking about it...therefore running up my calories and getting an overdraft (which means more lbs or at least no weight loss) I think of the number of calories I start with each day as a bank account. Every time I eat something I am making a "withdrawal" The trick is to get to the last meal of the day with enough calories left in my account to be able to eat a good evening meal and end up with a zero rather than a negative balance. This process may seem cumbersome at first, but as you get more and more foods listed in your favorites list, it is not that time consuming. If it is really will do it.

  3. Diane: Absolutely! It can be very eye-opening!

    Erin'sMom: These are some great thoughts and it is good to hear which website you use. I appreciate your insight and experience!