Hormonal and Psychological Effects of Calorie Counting

Discussion in 'Diet, Nutrition and Supplements' started by fluteangel, May 24, 2009.

  1. fluteangel

    fluteangel Well-Known Member

    I posted this in my journal but would love to get some other thoughts on this. It's an observation I made when it finally hit me WHY my cheats seem to snowball when two years ago I was trimmer, ate less, and had no problem with "cheats". Then again, I didn't necessarily think of them as cheats....:scratch:

    I Had a cheat today and of course, it snowballed. I didn't even want it to.

    I think I've figured out why I have more problems with free meals now, and two years ago I had no problem eating what I wanted, not totally counting calories but just making healthy choices.


    Counting calories.

    It really works (mentally) for some, and others not. Is it a necessary evil? Sometimes, yes, I think so, because otherwise, how will you know if you're hitting your numbers? However, when I know I have to hit x amount of calories/protein/fat/carbs, etc. that doesn't leave me much freedom to choose to eat what I want, nor to eat intuitively. Does it help me reach my goals? Absolutely it does, but at what cost? I think for me, it's not going to be a lifestyle thing. I don't want to be told what to eat all my life, nor do I want to count calories all my life just to hit numbers correctly, but I hate to sacrifice muscle for freedom. I'm just thinking that there has to be a happy medium somewhere?:scratch:

    I think that for me, the counting makes me feel deprived in a way, at least subconsciously, because I make up my own meal plans right now, and I choose what to eat, but I think when I say hey, I'm not going to count this meal, no figuring calories, at that point, my brain says "you're not counting, so go as high as you want! You're going to be counting for awhile afterwards". :blink:

    Love to hear your thoughts on this.

    I hate this. There has to be a happy medium somewhere. I know that in the meantime, I'm going to continue what I'm doing, when I'm optimized I'll trust Noel to get me where I need to be, but then after that, can I go back to not counting or do I risk losing muscle? I'm really interested in the hormonal science behind this. I think I may be buying Leigh Peele's books after all. :morning:
  2. Original Kloe®

    Original Kloe® *sizzle*

    If counting cals doesn't work for you, then don't do it.
    If not counting cals works for you, do it.

    Personally, I used to have a huge problem with over thinking everything. The more I learned about sports nutrition, the more I obsessed and got tripped up in all the macro minutia and timing. I drove myself insane!

    When I think back to when I was my leanest, I had a general idea of calories but didn't care about macros and timing (with the exception of keeping things lower carb, higher protein). Without even knowing it, I was doing everything right...I even did refeeds without realizing that's what I was doing (I had a weekly date with Marble Slab ice cream!) Point is, my body just knew what it needed, and I took the cues. I didn't over think things, because I didn't even know about any of this stuff.

    Ignorance is bliss sometimes!!! :blondmoment:

    Do what works for you. If you know you struggle with cal counting, back off. You know it leads to mental strains and binges, so why do it? Why DELIBERATELY put yourself in a situation that, as past actions indicate, will lead to an unfavorable outcome for you? Try something new instead of forcing a certain diet set up.
  3. fluteangel

    fluteangel Well-Known Member

    That's how I used to be - didn't count, ate healthy, and when I do that, I tend to eat less when I know what I'm doing.

    However, I was also doing the bodypart split training 5 days a week with 30-60 minutes cardio 6 days a week. :shrug: I know that isn't the right way and I know I wasn't eating nearly enough protein. I guess that's what concerns me. Once I get down to where I need to be, can I maintain it intuitively?
  4. Sandy

    Sandy Well-Known Member

    I can relate to the bolded part. I am working on retraining my thoughts around food that lead me to binges (I recently posted about cognitive reconstruction in the disordered eating thread). I mentally rehearse what I WANT my thought response to be in those situations. So far it is helping.

    I don't plan to always count calories. I need to for dieting and when I eventually do a bulk, I will count. When I go back to maintenance I don't plan to keep counting after a couple weeks. Maybe just the occasional check-in.
  5. Scarl3tbutt3rfly

    Scarl3tbutt3rfly Motivated and ready!!

    This is an interesting thread. I have thought about stuff like this on occasion as well. I honestly have stopped, over the last year and a half, counting calories per se. I do weigh my food (at least some of it), but I dont know the exact amount of my calories ever. If Im dropping carbs for some reason, to further my weight loss progress for example, Ill just decrease the portion size, but not exactly always knowing how much calories that is. I do the same when Im increasing calories, I just increase the portion size or add more of something, not knowing EXACTLY what the calories are. I think this has helped me with dealing with something I can totally do for a lifetime and not feel like Im being tied down to calculations on macros or calories. I definitely am not one of those people who enter all my food into fitday everynight. I dunno, I guess this is a form of counting, but not quite as strict. I have no idea how many calories I ate yesterday!!

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