Why I Don’t Count Calories

(photo credit: www.ihuntstrong.com)

Before I quit processed foods and processed sugar, I used to try and count my calories.  Problem was, I was always hungry and always snacking.  I never felt satisfied.  I could also never lose that 5lbs I had been trying to lose since I had my kids.  I felt frustrated.  That all changed when I changed my way of eating.

What Changes Did I Make?

  • Went from a vegetarian diet to a vegan diet.
  • Quit all processed foods and processed sugars
  • Stopped buying fat free and low fat products
  • Started exercising

When I first started exercising, my baby girl was still having so many health issues, so going to the gym was not an option.  So I hit the pavement and started walking 3 miles every night after my husband got home from work.  It didn’t matter if it was raining, cold, hot, humid.  I just went walking.

What do I eat?

  • A plant based whole food diet
  • Very low in gluten and bread
  • I keep the sugars to a minimum and mostly eat fruits for sugar
  • No processed foods
  • No processed sugars
  • Foods high in healthy fats.  Avocados, nuts, healthy oils.
  • My biggest meal is breakfast.  I eat overnight oats every day before my workout.  Lunch is slightly smaller than breakfast, and dinner is usually very small.  I don’t eat after 7pm.

What changes did I see?

  • I lost weight without trying!  That alone was pretty amazing.  In the past, dieting always seemed so hard and I was hungry all the time.  So when I lost weight without depriving myself, I was shocked.  That was a HUGE moment for me.  I not only lost the extra 5 lbs, I had lost close to 10lbs!  I was able to fit into my skinny jeans again.  You know that pair pushed way back in your closet that you hope to fit into one day?  I hadn’t fit in those since I was 23 and here I was at 36 fitting in them again.
  • I never had to count calories.  I always felt satisfied.
  • More energy
  • Less snacking

Why do I think this happened?

When you eat a diet high in healthy fats, fiber and whole foods, you will stay full for much longer.  So there will be no need to snack.  Fat free and low fat foods usually contain added sugar and other additives to make them taste as good as the high fat foods.  Processed sugar never leaves you satisfied.  You keep craving more and more.  It’s an endless cycle.  You are better off eating the food the way it was meant to be eaten.  Fat and all.  That said, I still think it’s important to avoid the saturated fats in processed foods because they have a tendency to be trans fats, which are very bad for you.

My husband noticed changes as well.  Before we started clean eating, he had high cholesterol and high blood pressure.  Part of that was genetic.  He thought there was nothing he could do to change that.  Boy was he wrong!  His cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure are all back in the normal range.  He also lost about 30 lbs.  This happened even though he was eating high fatty foods like coconut oil.  In fact, he eats coconut oil everyday and his cholesterol still went down.

I’m not saying everyone will have the same results, but I hope I am giving you some food for thought.  Please, if anyone has seen similar results, leave your story in the comments. I would love to hear it!

25 thoughts to “Why I Don’t Count Calories”

  1. That's awesome the results you and your husband got! We are making our way to more whole foods mostly because of the genetics for disease both my husband and I have. My FIL who is only slightly overweight has Type II Diabetes and has had a heart attack and major heart surgery. I'm hoping a healthier diet will help us beat out the odds we have for getting these diseases! :)One thing that I'm concerned about is I have no weight to lose. I eat pretty healthy, but definitely can do better, and I am just getting back into running again. My body has an abnormally fast metabolism, so I'm kind of worried what will happen if I eat even healthier and start running at the same time. My two kids are the same way. I want us all to be healthier, but don't want us to lose weight.
    1. I would just up your intake of food and eat a lot of healthy fats. Nuts, seeds, avocado, coconut oil...etc. That should help.
    2. Dates are supposed to be good for people that need to maintain a healthy weight and/or gain weight. Plus, they have a ton of other health benefits too.
    3. Hey Rebecca, I am the same way as you, but do not worry! More healthy fats like said.... Avocado, coconut oils etc..... And also - if you have an original drop in weight do not worry, your body will gain back the weight it wants once it is accustomed and happy with your new eating habits!!!
  2. Hey Melissa,I am curious as to what a typical daily meal plan looks like for ye (thats Irish for plural you) :-) meals, snacks, drinks and all..... My kids have asked me for an early dinner, so when coming home after school and a snack before going to bed. It used to be the other way round.... And I am now, as a result of that, have 4 meals a day. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Tea.... Cheers Andrea
  3. I just found this site, but I've been eating clean for a couple of years now. I decided to take a "whole foods" approach to eating after a heart scare - I was very over-weight, and had given up on ever losing the weight, but I knew that all the chemicals in our diets could not be good for us. When I started eating whole foods and cutting out (almost) all processed junk, I lost 80 pounds over the course of the first year, and have kept it off for over a year now. I don't count calories and I don't eat anything that says "fat free" or "low fat" on the label. I try to make sure that nothing goes in my mouth unless at least half of it is either fruit or vegetable, and I limit grains in my diet. From a size 18-20 to a size 4-6: I'm proof that this works!
    1. I really need help! For approximately two months I have given up the following: sugars, bread, pasta, meat, seafood, caffeine, dairy, eggs and fried foods. I also quit smoking and stopped drinking alcohol and gained 45 pounds. I stir fry all kinds of pepper, murshrooms, zucchini and squash in a little water. I make large pots of veggie soups and use fresh tomatoes for the sauce with all the same veggies in my stir fry, I did add lentils and barley. I eat lots of fruit. I must be doing something wrong because the weight is not falling off like these people I read about. I don't think I can add anymore veggies, I eat plenty. I might be eating to much fruit, I have no idea. I have no friends on plant base diet, can I please get some advise.
  4. Isn't it crazy how easy it really is??I love how simple you put it. It's sad when people look at that list and think, "how can I give this or that up?" It's not about that really...it's just deciding you want to feel good and suddenly the only thing you are giving up is feeling gross.Thanks!
  5. I decided in January to go one month without sugar and processed foods, and I've never looked back. I lost around 20 pounds, but that's not why I did it. I had always been a healthy eater, but I've always had a sweet tooth, and my work schedule over the years caused me to depend more and more on processed foods. Now I feel better and have more energy, and I quit having to take Prilosec after probably 15 years of daily use! I've exercised at least 6 days a week for several years, and now I find myself having to watch what I eat so I don't lose any more weight. :-)
  6. Right on, Melissa! I read this post last year but just reread it again. I've found the same in my food changes. Plus, I feel better and, though I still struggle with my autoimmune issue, my health challenges are much better managed. Doc is always amazed at how well I am doing. Whole foods, no processed sugars, plant sourced foods, fats and proteins with lots of nutritive value plus exercise...that's all it takes. Someone commented just last night how great I look and that I never seem to age. Now THERE'S a testimony! Thank you for this post, your vision and awesome mentality, and all of your wonderful creative recipes that add exciting options to help keep us healthy and keep boredom at bay. I'm a diehard fan! :D
  7. Hello, really happy I found your site. I'm considering going vegan. I love clean eating. But I'm very confused about something if you or anyone could help I'd appreciate it. For my age, activity, level, etc... I'm told I can only have 2.5 cups of veggies a day and 1.5 cups of fruit - this is from several sites I've seen, even the one put out by the government for healthy eating. But, yet I see vegans and vegetarian doing videos on You Tube where they eat tons, and tons of dark leafy greens a day, I mean tub fulls... so I was wondering... what do real vegetarian or vegans do... with only 2.5 cups of veggies a day? I just had half of a large potato I baked in my microwave, and a 5.5 oz can of my favorite low sodium V 8 tomato juice and that's it for the day, no more veggies, and that was just breakfast. I'm full but I can't eat any more veggies today so what do I eat? So, I'm very confused as to what to do. I love vegetables but I hate these limits and not sure what is true or right. Can anyone help please? Thanks so much.
    1. Hi Tabitha! I eat tons of veggies each day. I never thought to eat only a certain amount. I think everyone is different, so there shouldn't be a certain number that pertains to everyone. I listen to my body and do what works for me. In addition to eating fruits and veggies, I do a lot of beans, nuts, seeds and gluten free grains. I hope that helps! :)
    2. Tabitha, I'm not sure where you got the info about only eating a limited amount of veggies per day. If it is a government food guide, consider that they subsidize the meat and dairy industries - they want you to eat more of the bad stuff and less of the good. It's a scam. Eat as many veggies as you want! Load up!
  8. I found your blog through pinterest and I'm very excited about starting a clean eating diet. My question is regarding the maple syrup and dates. I notice it has a lot of sugar and carbs in both of those and I was concerned about that but since I am just starting to learn how to eat healthy I was wondering your view on the sugar. I was also concerned about gaining weight from the sugar and carbs. Thank you for taking the time to lead me in the direction of a healthier lifestyle.
    1. Hi Dawn! So glad you found me! Maple syrup and dates do contain sugar, so it's best to limit them. I like to combine dates with nut butter, which adds fat and protein. It helps to slow down the glycemic load. Carbs are not necessarily a bad thing. The right kinds of carbs can be beneficial, but it's best to limit refined carbs like processed breads, crackers and chips. I hope that helps! :)
  9. Hi, I was vegan for 8 years and I found that I was always hungry, even on a whole food based, macrobiotic vegan diet. I kept snacking, especially on fats. I wasn't losing weight at all... So I ended up being part time vegan, because I like the ideology of it but can't keep it up. I think that your recipes are great, I love the nut butter book, but I don't think it's as simple as you make it sound, and going vegan doesn't work for everyone, to my experience. I'm glad to hear that you lost weight and feel nourished on that lifestyle. I have met so many vegans (healthy vegans) who, like me, could't keep it up long term. They they were eating non stop, some felt like they were withering away and a lot of them ended up going paleo or eating meat again... I think it all depends on your constitution :) But anyway, getting people off junk foods and embracing a real food/clean/wholesome life style is all for the better anyway... I'm just not convinced that a vegan diet is suited for everyone. Have a great night!
    1. I completely agree with you! I think you need to listen to YOUR body and see how it works best. A whole food vegan diet works for me, but some people may find they need meat. I think the overall message I was trying to create was a whole food diet. Not just a vegan diet. :)

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