Why I don’t recommend calorie counting or macro tracking long term

Have you found yourself feeling frustrated, discouraged, and defeated after you step on the scale?

You’ve been doing all the “right” things..

You’ve been watching what you’re eating

Tracking your calories

Working out 6-7 days a week

And nothing. In fact, maybe you’re even gaining weight.

The concept of calories in vs calories out is ultimately what creates weight loss, it’s just physics. However, it’s not always so straight forward when applied to the human body.

Our metabolism is complex and can be tricky to measure outside of a scientific lab, which I don’t know about you, but I’m not hanging out in one all day getting my metabolism measured.

And those calorie calculators/ trackers and fitness trackers aren’t super accurate either.

In fact, they can be up to 30% + off.

Not to mention, food labels can be off by up to 25% as well. Already there is a lot of potential margin of error and variability.

On paper, calories in vs calories out should work. But, it’s a more complex process than that inside your body which is why it doesn’t always pencil out the way you think it should.

This is NOT your fault.

In this week’s episode of The Strong[HER] Way, I take a client question and break down (at a high level) your metabolism to help you understand what’s going on and maybe why the scale isn’t moving even if you’re doing all the things.

For example…

Your basal metabolic rate can vary by 15 percent. 

For your average woman or man, that’s roughly 200-270 calories.

Genetic differences matter too. A single change in one FTO gene can be an additional 160 calorie difference.

Sleep deprivation can cause a 5-20 percent change in metabolism, so there’s another 200-500 calories.

For women, the phase of their menstrual cycle can affect metabolism by another 150 calories or so.

Your energy intake is also variable and can be impacted by:

Your appetite-which is controlled by hormones

The environment

Calories actually absorbed by your body


Your activity level/ Stress level

Psychology-your relationship with food

However, perhaps most importantly though aside from the ‘math’ of calorie or macro counting not always adding up, tracking food for long periods of time may cause a disordered relationship to food, food obsession, and unnecessary stress.

What can you do instead?

Step 1: get you in tune with what hunger, fullness, and satisfaction feels like in your body

Step 2: work to eat to a feeling of satiety and satisfaction without feeling ravenous or stuffed most of the time

Step 3: work on healing your relationship to food, your weight, and your body.  Almost putting the weight loss goal on the back burner while we focus on building trust around food, cleaning up the way you think about and use food, exercise/ your body. 

Step 4: Focus on building healthy habits without the diet mindset driving them

Step 5: Getting you eating the right amount of food for your body and your goals without having to think too much about it.

Step 6. Hire me to help you put all the other steps into place. Just email alisha@alishacarlson.com to get started.

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