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Why I Don't Recommend Calorie Counting for Weight Loss (I'm a Doctor)

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If you've ever found yourself trapped in the endless cycle of tracking calories, obsessing over fitness apps, or following point systems to lose weight, this blog post is for you. 

I’m Dr. Sasha High, an obesity physician specialist, and I'm here to share my insights on why calorie counting isn't the path to sustainable weight loss for women and what you can do instead.

The Pitfalls of Calorie Counting

Calorie counting has been the go-to method recommended by the diet industry for years. It's based on calculating your basal metabolic rate and adjusting for your activity level, resulting in a daily calorie limit. The premise is simple: create a calorie deficit, and you'll lose weight. However, it's a flawed approach for several reasons.

Firstly, it oversimplifies the complex processes of our bodies. Not all calories are equal; different foods elicit different metabolic responses. For example, the impact of eating a chocolate brownie versus a meal of chicken with peppers is vastly different due to their effects on blood sugar and insulin levels.

Moreover, relying solely on calorie counting strips you of power and self-efficacy. You become disconnected from your body's signals, forced to adhere to external rules, and ignore your own hunger cues. This lack of internal guidance can lead to constant hunger, cravings, low energy, and even weight gain in the long run.


What To Do Instead:

So, what's the alternative to calorie counting? The answer lies in nourishing your body. Instead of obsessing over numbers, focus on the quality of your food choices and how they make you feel. Here are some key principles to follow:

  1. Prioritize Protein

Make each meal protein-forward, aiming for 20-30 grams of protein per meal. Protein helps you feel full and satisfied, reducing hunger and cravings. Don't hesitate to use tracking apps initially to gauge your protein intake and make adjustments as needed.


  1. Half Your Plate in Veggies

Load up on vegetables and fruits to provide essential nutrients, fiber, and energy. These foods promote fullness and provide a steady source of energy throughout the day. Aim to fill half your plate with veggies and fruits.


  1. Follow the Hunger Scale

Learn to distinguish between physical hunger and psychological hunger. Understand what true physical hunger feels like, so you can respond to your body's needs appropriately. This is a crucial step toward intuitive eating.


  1. Focus on Satisfaction, Not Restriction

Leave each meal feeling satisfied, not deprived or wanting more. When your meals are well-balanced and nourishing, you won't constantly crave extra snacks or desserts.


Take Action:

Now, it's time for some homework. Put away your calorie counting app for a week and focus on making your meals protein-forward. Pay attention to how you feel: Are you more satisfied? Do you experience fewer cravings? Are you naturally eating less? These observations can be eye-opening.

I understand that change can be uncomfortable, and trying something new may seem daunting. But remember, personal growth happens when you step out of your comfort zone. If you're ready to break free from the cycle of calorie counting and embark on a journey toward sustainable weight loss, consider joining us inside Best Weight. Together, we'll build self-efficacy, nourish your body, and achieve long-lasting results.

I hope you found these insights valuable and actionable. If you found this helpful, you will love episode 85 of the High On Life podcast

You have the power to transform your relationship with food and achieve your weight loss goals without the constraints of calorie counting. Here's to your journey toward a healthier, happier you!

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