Dietitians say counting calories bad

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  • AndreaTamira
    AndreaTamira Posts: 272 Member
    Dogmom1978 wrote: »
    I agree with the therapist, but 100% disagree with professionals utilizing tiktok to get themselves out there. True professionals can use more reputable resources to do so


    Yeah, like LinkedIn, for example.

    Though it would make sense to go onto TikTok if one was trying to reach certain demographics, I guess.
  • Dogmom1978
    Dogmom1978 Posts: 1,581 Member
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    Everything Ann said.

    Also, for me anyway, when I reduced cals, I naturally (like without even thinking much about it) cut back on what seemed like extra cals -- snacks (in fact I cut out snacking, since for me it was not satisfying, although I kept having occasional small desserts when they fit in my cals, after dinner), reducing portions that were larger than they should have been (basically mindless eating of whatever I happened to put on my plate, even if not really hungry), and reduced portions of high cal ingredients/sides (basically, oil, butter, cheese, and to some degree nuts, were now dealt with much more carefully and sparingly, and starchy carb sides, which I really don't need a lot of, were included in smaller portions). Other than that, I didn't change my diet much, and to me that was really just how it made intuitive sense to reduce cals without thinking much about it. I was satisfied and happy, and if I hadn't been I would have adjusted.

    Not really sure why one would think reducing cals would somehow not lead to a sustainable diet unless one assumes people who calorie count are idiots who just ignore things like nutrition, satiety, and satisfaction in a way those not calorie counting supposedly do not. I don't get it. It really seems like a strawman.

    It seems like a straw man argument because it is one. 😊

    That said, some people have success not counting calories on certain diets such as keto. Not because they aren’t eating in a deficit though although there are some who seem to not realize they are eating in a deficit. If I suddenly stopped eating my dessert every night and ate a piece of chicken instead of a serving of ice cream or cookies, my deficit would be larger and hence I would lose more faster. For me, that isn’t sustainable. I enjoy and greatly look forward to my evening “reward”. I never wanted to give up the foods I loved to lose weight; it wasn’t something I could see myself doing for the next 30 or 40 years, so why even attempt it?

    Sustainability is the name of the game and each persons sustainable process is different. Mine is carefully tracking my calories and exercising (for health, although sometimes it’s useful if I’m running a little low on those dessert calories).

    My point, is, OP if counting calories doesn’t work for you for some reason, you need to find what does. Losing weight is all well and good, but I want to keep it off. I’ve done many “diets” in the past and I was a yo yo for years. That isn’t healthy; my dad did the same thing and his cardiologist told him that gaining and losing is harder on your heart than just carrying the extra weight would be (assuming one doesn’t gain indefinitely). As an FYI, my dad had 3 heart attacks and multiple heart surgeries before he lost and kept (most of) the weight off.
  • lemurcat2
    lemurcat2 Posts: 7,894 Member
    edited November 2020
    Dogmom1978 wrote: »
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    Everything Ann said.

    Also, for me anyway, when I reduced cals, I naturally (like without even thinking much about it) cut back on what seemed like extra cals -- snacks (in fact I cut out snacking, since for me it was not satisfying, although I kept having occasional small desserts when they fit in my cals, after dinner), reducing portions that were larger than they should have been (basically mindless eating of whatever I happened to put on my plate, even if not really hungry), and reduced portions of high cal ingredients/sides (basically, oil, butter, cheese, and to some degree nuts, were now dealt with much more carefully and sparingly, and starchy carb sides, which I really don't need a lot of, were included in smaller portions). Other than that, I didn't change my diet much, and to me that was really just how it made intuitive sense to reduce cals without thinking much about it. I was satisfied and happy, and if I hadn't been I would have adjusted.

    Not really sure why one would think reducing cals would somehow not lead to a sustainable diet unless one assumes people who calorie count are idiots who just ignore things like nutrition, satiety, and satisfaction in a way those not calorie counting supposedly do not. I don't get it. It really seems like a strawman.

    It seems like a straw man argument because it is one. 😊

    That said, some people have success not counting calories on certain diets such as keto.

    Yes, I agree. As I said back on page 1: "But no, [calorie counting is] not for everyone, and there are other ways to control cals without counting. This is all individual."

    I've lost without calorie counting and know it's perfectly possible. For me, calorie counting is preferable for losing (I stop and start during maintenance), since I find it pretty fun and motivating, and I know from past experience that I actually tend to go overboard when I'm not counting. The calorie goal helps me see I can fit lots more than my mind tends to assume and still be at a deficit. (When I started at MFP and first started logging I saw I was unintentionally eating about 1000 cals, which would not have been sustainable. I added back in some olive oil and cheese and so on.)

    But absolutely if OP or anyone else dislikes cal counting or finds it leads to unhealthy behaviors, other options are available. I would suggest that if one is reacting to the calorie count by wanting to binge, that suggests more is going on than just counting cals and maybe some personal analysis of why (or talking to a professional, as others have suggested) is a great idea.
  • hesn92
    hesn92 Posts: 5,971 Member
    edited November 2020
    I think a lot of advice that is given out to the masses it intended to appeal to most people... I don't think counting calories is "the norm". It obviously works for all of us but we're the ones taking the time to comment in the myfitnesspal forum. I don't think it works well for a lot of people and can lead to obsessive behaviors that are not healthy. A lot of people just automatically go to 1200 calories which is not enough for most people. Whenever I hear dietitians or any other "expert" claiming that counting calories is bad, I just shrug and say "it works for me." and that's all there is to it.
  • janejellyroll
    janejellyroll Posts: 25,878 Member
    lemurcat2 wrote: »
    Everything Ann said.

    Also, for me anyway, when I reduced cals, I naturally (like without even thinking much about it) cut back on what seemed like extra cals -- snacks (in fact I cut out snacking, since for me it was not satisfying, although I kept having occasional small desserts when they fit in my cals, after dinner), reducing portions that were larger than they should have been (basically mindless eating of whatever I happened to put on my plate, even if not really hungry), and reduced portions of high cal ingredients/sides (basically, oil, butter, cheese, and to some degree nuts, were now dealt with much more carefully and sparingly, and starchy carb sides, which I really don't need a lot of, were included in smaller portions). Other than that, I didn't change my diet much, and to me that was really just how it made intuitive sense to reduce cals without thinking much about it. I was satisfied and happy, and if I hadn't been I would have adjusted.

    Not really sure why one would think reducing cals would somehow not lead to a sustainable diet unless one assumes people who calorie count are idiots who just ignore things like nutrition, satiety, and satisfaction in a way those not calorie counting supposedly do not. I don't get it. It really seems like a strawman.

    I mean, nobody LIKES to be hungry. Even without a conscious effort to do so, most people over time are going to realize, "Hey, [meal x] has the same number of calories as [meal y], but I feel much more satisfied after [meal x]" and incorporate that information into their meal planning when possible.
  • stephie_nyc
    stephie_nyc Posts: 96 Member
    edited November 2020
    I hear dietitcians saying calorie counting doesn't work, which is false. Counting calories will help you lose weight if you stay in a deficit. I think a love of dietitcians are worried about long term effects of counting calories, both for physical and emotional reasons. But I hate the way they say it "doesn't work". I have seen one on TikTok who was slamming people for not "just eating intuitively". I wanted to punch her.

    Now, having said all that - counting calories DID give me a mild ED. Just being transparent. But it won't do that for everyone. Talking about the realities of the changes you may go through emotionally and not just physically when you are on a "weight loss journey" is important.
  • bubus05
    bubus05 Posts: 121 Member
    edited November 2020
    msalicia07
    Well done if you have succeeded, I would argue with the 99.99 percent success rate though with your suggested method. But if it works for you amazing.
  • New_Heavens_Earth
    New_Heavens_Earth Posts: 610 Member
    breefoshee wrote: »
    gooz71 wrote: »
    Thank you all so much. I probably do need to talk to a therapist as suggested. As far as TikTok there are actually a lot of professionals using it to get themselves out there and direct you to their website/business.

    Not only just a therapist but a registered dietitian as well. Not a health/ weight loss coach or vague nutrition title, but a registered dietitian.

    While I definitely agree 100%-- a dietitian and therapist would be ideal, many people cannot afford this help and I don't want to leave those people hanging.

    I struggled with bulimia for about 7 years, beginning very "casually", then progressing into a daily compulsion. I felt like I really needed help, but my insurance didn't cover the cost and the free therapy in my area had very limited hours that would not work with my work schedule.

    So I read a number of books and articles on it that helped me. I took certain vitamins, noted triggers, gave myself permission to gain weight (up to a point). On 12/30/2020, it will be one whole year (yay!) that I have not purged.

    I definitely think that dietitians and therapist would be first choice. So if your insurance covers it or you can afford it start there. If you can't, try to find a free therapist in your area. If that fails or if you know that you are in a place where you just won't go to a therapist, then please research and find all of the resources you can.

    If you have an ED or feel that you are on the brink of one, then know that you are not alone and that you are worthy of help. Many of adults who develop EDs are actually overweight people who began dieting and developed restrictive eating patterns that led to binging, followed by feelings of shame. The more you understand what is physically happening, the easier it is to identify the help you need.
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    Agree with everything said here. I'm still in treatment for bulimia (exercise purging). Definitely started with restrictive dieting, compulsive over exercise to the point of almost losing my job, and using my weight to gain approval, recognition, and control.

    I found low cost therapy through ED websites and foundations. Some offer treatment scholarships and free webinar series for info. I pay out of pocket for therapy and an RD ($80 for therapy per week and $300 US per year for the RD). I've overshot my weight goal and now working on losing to a maintainable weight, which is slightly higher than the BMI charts recommend.

    Congratulations on your recovery, and good health to you.
  • bubus05
    bubus05 Posts: 121 Member
    msalicia07 wrote: »
    bubus05 wrote: »
    msalicia07
    Well done if you have succeeded, I would argue with the 99.99 percent success rate though with your suggested method. But if it works for you amazing.

    The method is CICO. Unless you have one of the rarest conditions in the world, it will work because that's physiology. There wasn't a single obese case in any POW situation ever recorded in the history of the earth. Why? Because human physiology determines you will lose weight in a calorie deficit. This is not debatable, it is a fact. And it doesn't matter what the individual eats as long as they're in a deficit. To maintain weight loss, however, it's best to have a diet that you can sustain and enjoy. You cannot provide evidence that someone will gain fat in a deficit, no matter what they ate, because no such evidence exists. I'll wait.

    I can't argue with that. If there is calorie deficit one will lose weight. The problem arises though when I try to calculate accurately what my BMR rate is. I found that for me anyway the BMR is not an absolute figure but constantly changing for me almost on a weekly basis if I look at the scale. That's why I dont really like to only depend on what my alleged BMR is because I just dont trust the figure. As a consequence I find it difficult to calculate where my calorie deficit begins. For me it is essential what I actually put in to lose weight and hope for the best I am in calorie deficit. But that is me, if you can lose weight eating what you really like hats off congrats.