I’ve written a few times previously about counting Calories. I originally figured that I’d keep it up for a few months then quit, but I just never really stopped, and recently passed 1,000 days of consecutive counting.
So has it been worth the effort? Maybe. Something (probably obvious) I’ve come to realize over the years is that just keeping the record doesn’t help at all with weight loss, but it’s a valuable tool for building the awareness needed for it.
It’s too easy to cheat otherwise, where you don’t fully count the little snacks that accumulate throughout the day, or how many days of wanton surplus you’ve had in a row, or of the magnitude of those surpluses. You can still cheat even when you are counting, but at least the information is visible, so it tends to keep you a little more honest.
The most useful thing I learnt is that if you’re going for weight loss, build in a safety margin. To keep a regular downtrend on weight I couldn’t get away with just hitting my goal of zero net, I had to run regular deficits in the hundreds of Calories a day. I was either regularly underestimating the amount of energy in food, overestimating how much I was burning during exercise, or both.
After combining counting with a more strict exercise regime and a commitment to run much more regular deficits, the system’s finally working for me again, and I’m down about 20 lbs. from my steady state in 2019. It’s taken a concerted effort to push on all those fronts to make it happen though – unsurprisingly, punching a few numbers into an app isn’t enough.