>U Mom Knows Best: Why I Don't Count Calories Or Macros~ Diets Don't Work

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Why I Don't Count Calories Or Macros~ Diets Don't Work

I gave up counting calories and my body looks and feels better 

 So many people think that the only way to be healthy and lose weight is by following a strict diet. The problem is that these crazy diets that have you counting calories, carbs, and macros don't really work for most people. Sure, in the beginning, you may lose weight but the diet plan can eventually drive you crazy with the food logging and counting the calories. So you give up and go back to your unhealthy way of eating and the weight comes back on. Or you restrict your calories so much that your body goes into hibernation mode and that can cause your metabolism to slow down. Which in turn halts the weight loss and makes it hard for your body to lose any more weight. I have seen this happen to friends who are on the keto diet or the Atkins diet. They lose a bunch of weight and never seem to get that last 50-100 pounds off their body.

Find out why diets don't work

 I understand the diet culture as I too fell victim to it but I am happy to say that for the last five years, I changed the way that I look at food and realized that it is not about counting calories or following a special diet but rather eating food that nourishes your body and listening to your body. It is about how you fill your plate at each meal, selecting delicious food that your body will crave once you start treating your body with the food that makes it happy.

 To help you understand how I realized it is about the type of food that you eat and not calories, I will share with you what I overcame with my fight with food. I will also share my thoughts on why extreme diets don't work. This post goes more into detail about my fight with food and my body image problem.

Why diets don't work

 I remember when I was a young adult and I counted my calories. I did not count macros as I had no clue what they were, I had to just now look up what macros were. Back then, I did not have a phone with a fancy app to log what I ate. So I pretty much stuck with the same boring food day after day so I did not have to obsess over counting calories. My diet consisted of a lot of low-calorie food like vegetables and food that was labeled low calorie or fat-free.  I remember the stress that I went through when I went out to eat and selecting what I ate based on calories and not taste. That usually meant that I ordered a salad. So eating out was not enjoyable. Or if I did allow myself to indulge in something like pizza, I restricted my calorie intake the next day to overcome the guilt of eating too many calories. Sure, I had a nice body but I was not enjoying food. I had to learn to not let the scale define who I was. Read more about that HERE.

Who has time to count calories

  After I had my second kid, I did not have time to count calories or macros. I did try the Slimfast diet for a day after I had my second child but found that unsatisfying. I instead gave into the thinking that low-fat food was best and I cooked and baked without any fat. I am sure many of you remember the low-fat diets and low-fat foods like low-fat cookies. As long as it was labeled low-fat it was ok, I am glad that I now realize that thinking was wrong. The sad thing is while I was following the low-fat diet, I had gained 10 pounds.

Low Carb craze

 Then the low-carb craze came in but I did not follow that one as I am a girl who loves bread, crackers, and other foods with carbohydrates. Many of my friends who were 200 pounds or more overweight lost 100 pounds but their bodies never lost the rest of the weight. Sadly my friends kept driving themselves crazy with counting carbs because they were afraid to eat carbs as they had a fear that they would gain the weight back. I was following the high carb diet and I can look back to see that I was not eating a whole lot of protein or fruits and veggies. My weight was fine as I was running 5 miles a day but my body was flabby. I enjoy bread and love baking Focaccia Bread Flowers.

The big 50 was my turning point

 Then I turned fifty. My body started to turn on me. I had a couple of injuries from running that were not healing. Through my research, I discovered that my joints and muscles were prone to injury due to my age. I discovered that what my joints needed to heal were protein, collagen, vitamins, and minerals. So I added more protein to my diet with protein powder and collagen. I also started eating more fruits and veggies. I started researching about healthy food and made a decision that I wanted my family to have healthy bodies. The younger boys seemed to have a lot of illness and stomach aches so I knew that a healthy diet would help them stay well.

Teaching my kids about nutrition

 I wanted to teach my kids about healthy eating in a positive way. So I started looking at food in a new way. I did not want any food to be good or bad so I taught my boys and myself about what the different foods do to our body. I wanted to make healthy eating simple to my boys so I did not talk about the calories in food but rather the nutrition. Protein is good for strong muscles, carbs give us energy, fruit helps our body fight germs and gives us fiber to help us digest our food.  Plant fats are good for our skin, and veggies have minerals that help our bodies. I also taught my boys that our bodies need healthy nourishing food to run properly and use the example of taking care of a car. If you give a car bad gas it breaks down and no gas means that I car does not work. I also taught my boys that a body needs exercise like a machine needs proper maintenance to work properly.

Check out my recipe for No-Bake High Fiber Breakfast Granola Bars

My simple mealtime rule that makes healthy eating easy

 I want my boys to develop good food habits that will last a lifetime. So I made healthy eating simple for them. Every meal has to include a protein source, some type of whole-grain carbohydrates, and either a fruit or veggie. The house is stocked with healthy food so my boys can make good choices. I don't restrict sugar from their diet but the boys know that ice cream and cookies are treats for after they eat their meal. Most times, the meals satisfy the boys so they don't even ask for dessert. When we do have dessert, it usually is a healthier dessert like these Keto Salted Caramel Chocolate Cookies. I am not following the keto diet but I will enjoy recipes that are keto-friendly as they have healthy ingredients in them. You have to try this keto-friendly Pad Thai.

How I shop for healthy food

 The trick to eating healthy food is very simple don't let the junk food in the house. That way you can't eat it if it is not in the fridge. Always eat before you go food shopping that way you won't reach for the unhealthy food. If your willpower is not that good, then use a meal delivery service or shop for your groceries online in your pajamas and pick them up at the store. Another food shopping tip is to fill your cart with fruits and veggies, whole grains, plant-based proteins like beans, nuts, and seeds, lean meats (if you eat meat), seafood, and healthy fats like olive oil and avocados. When selecting food, stop and think about how it helps your body. That broccoli will give it vitamin C to help the immune system while that box of cookies will just give your body no nutrition. Need some inspiration for some healthy meatless meals? Click HERE.

How I handle eating out

 I only eat out once or twice a month so when I do eat out I make it a special treat. I will order anything that I like and since my body is used to healthy food, I usually can't finish my meal. The next day I am eating the healthy food that I have at home. I don't deprive myself of any foods and will occasionally enjoy dairy-free treats like cookies and ice cream. I have to eat dairy-free as I have a dairy allergy I discovered through a blood test and food elimination diet. Dairy causes my asthma to get out of control and once I eliminated all milk products from my diet, I was able to manage my asthma symptoms with natural supplements. I have discovered that by choosing to feed my body with wholesome food, I really don't crave sweets. Healthy food gives me the energy to exercise daily.

A healthy body does not equal skinny

 My body is not perfect and I am not striving for a perfect size body. I have wiggles and jiggles on my body. My belly is cushy from giving birth to five kids so I gave up on a flat stomach long ago. I love the body that God gave me and I want to take care of it. Check out other healthy things that I do daily to stay body healthy.   

Strive to take care of your body to feel better and not worry about size. A healthy body can fight off germs better. When you eat wholesome nourishing food your body will have more energy and will be less likely to develop diseases like heart problems, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. Love your body!


  1. I have always felt the same as you. I don't diet. I learned long ago everything in moderation. Exercise, choose healthy options, and allow yourself to enjoy "bad" foods once in awhile. Love this post and will try some of the recipes you posted.

  2. Yup, same. I refuse to diet, and honestly, I tossed out my scale. So long as I can fit into my pants, I'm good to go.

  3. I do diet but it is a diet that lends special attention to my metabolism based on my age and what foods work well with that. While I have seldom counted calories, I also generally know when to call it quits, and I have practiced intermittent fasting most of my life. If I paid more attention to the details, I would be skinnier, but I kind of like enjoying my life instead and I am very healthy still.

  4. Thanks for writing this! I’m someone who has a VERY poor body image, so it’s comforting to hear a lot of this stuff. Also, Focaccia bread flowers sound delicious.

  5. This is such a great approach to living a healthy lifestyle. I've never really thought that anyone other than professional athletes or body builders needed to count macros. You just need a healthy, balanced diet.

  6. I love how you mention that a healthy body does not necessarily equate to a skinny body. This is so true on so many levels! It's all about what we put into our bodies!

  7. I agree with you 100% I used to count calories but as you said, this never worked and made me so frustrated.

  8. so much truth to this! I do believe that diets don't work if not paired with the right exercise. I just hope that more of us will exercise this quarantine season.

  9. Ever since this coronavirus pandemic started, I've been shopping for groceries online. Not only do I save money,but I keep junk out of my house, because I'm not buying everything I see, just because it looks good. I think I'm going to stick with this way of shopping!

  10. I just love this post. I have tried different diets to lose weight and I always fall back into old habits. I'm starting to eat smarter and I just have to convince my husband that grocery shopping online is the way to go.

  11. It's great that you share to us your own experience. I have tried dieting before but just like you said, I really didn't understand what diet means so I just stop. Not all diets are good, we still need to sustain healthy nutrients intake.

  12. I am with you, GRL! Diets do not work. What works is consistency and enjoyment of what we are doing to feel great at any age.

  13. Diets can really compliment a healthy routine. Just be smart when you are eating; simple!

  14. I hate diets, as I'm never persistent enough to follow them. I'm even scared to step on my scale at home! :)

  15. What an interesting read! I love how you make a different approach while many other people is promoting counting macros. Agree, a healthy body does not equal being skinny!

  16. I don't like counting calories either. It's better to have a healthy lifestyle.

  17. I applaud you for this! Diets only worsen our metabolism and body image, making us need to restrict more in order to get to an 'ideal' body type. It's all bull and feeds into the toxic mentality of dieting.

  18. I lost 100 pounds 2 years ago and I did it by eating smaller portions and making better choices. While I don't feel like there's one particular diet that works better than others, I find that when I eat keto, I feel better.

  19. I add my calories into my Fitbit app, mostly because I've never really understood the amount of calories in foods. It has really helped to make me conscious of calories in food and portion control. But I suppose it doesn't work for everyone.

  20. Establishing a better relationship with food has been something I've been really working on for the past few months. Thanks for sharing this article, it gave me a nice little bump in motivation.

  21. I couldn’t agree more with you! I never count calories; I just go by how I feel and if clothes feel more snug.

  22. You are spot on with this! I have figured out which foods work for me and which don't. Now, I consistently have good gut health and feel great! I know how to maintain a great fitness routine and enjoy food without feeling guilty!

  23. I haven't found the right diet yet but I strive to eat low carb most of the time because I think that's when I feel I'm more energized.


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