. how to stop counting calories .

by Amanda @ .running with spoons. on October 23, 2012

Hey guys! Hope Tuesday has been treating you well.

Can I just start by saying how great it is to see that so many people think the whole idea of micromanagement and macro tracking is a load of shi…itake mushrooms? I always knew you guys were smart cookies 😀

Unfortunately, even the smartest of cookies aren’t immune to doing dumb things on occasion, which would probably explain why so many of us have flirted with calorie counting at some point in our lives (*ahem* guilty). Now, that’s not to say that calorie counting is a horrible thing in and of itself – it can be an extremely beneficial tool for those who are trying to learn how to eat properly. But let’s face it, most of us know how to eat properly; in fact, we probably know far too well (which is a topic for a whole other post); and for many people, calorie counting becomes nothing more than a deep-rooted obsession, a bad habit that they just can’t break.

But it’s a habit that is possible to break.

Since returning to blogging (almost 2 months ago… wow), one of the most common questions I’ve been asked is how I made the transition from being a religious calorie counter to a [more-or-less] intuitive eater. It wasn’t easy. There were tears. There were struggles. There were meltdowns. But, ultimately, there was also success. Now, I don’t claim to be an expert because God knows I’ve made plenty of mistakes, but as someone who’s been through it personally, I thought I’d share some of the things that helped me give up calorie counting for those who are struggling to do the same.

How to Stop Counting Calories || runningwithspoons.com

1. Start small. If the idea of going cold turkey scares you worse than death, you’re probably better off sticking to a much more subtle approach. Start with not counting or measuring one meal per day. Even if it’s just a snack, make sure you eat one dish per day that you don’t know the calorie content of. Resist the urge to bust out the scale and measuring cups, and do your best to eyeball whatever it is that you choose to eat. Stick with that until it starts to feel comfortable, and move on to not measuring a second meal, and so on. If you’re weighing your food with a scale, try switching to measuring cups/spoons instead. Also, start off with foods that you feel more comfortable with. If you’re weighing all your veggies, stop. If you’re counting all your fruit, stop. Take baby steps, but make sure to challenge yourself. Don’t bite off more than you can chew and scare yourself back into counting obsessively, but don’t let yourself get too comfortable and stagnant either.

2. Let someone else do the cooking. If you have a hard time not measuring meals that you prepare for yourself, then have someone else do it every once in a while. Go over to your parents’ for dinner. Have your significant other pack your lunch. Exchange baked goodies with a friend. Focus on the love behind the food rather the than the fear of the unknown.

3. Stop checking nutrition labels. You never really forget everything you know about the calorie content of food, but it stops becoming important if you stop seeking it out and actively focusing on it. Read ingredients if you must, but try and keep your eyes from hovering towards that little white box because it really doesn’t tell you a whole heck of a lot. It just reinforces the idea that calories are an important part of your life, when they shouldn’t be.

4. Buy foods that you don’t know the calorie count for. If you can’t keep your eyes from gravitating towards labels, then try turning to foods that don’t have any. I know it’s difficult, seeing as pretty much everything has a label these days and whatever doesn’t is easy enough to look up online, but there’s still hope. Visit small local shops and farmer’s markets – you can still find solace in ignorance there.

5. Change the way you look at food. Repeat after me: “Food is friend, not foe.” Unless you have some sort of severe allergy (pesky peanuts… I’m looking at you!), then nothing you eat is going to kill you, so don’t be afraid of it. It’s just food, and although delicious, it’s really not that big of a deal and doesn’t deserve that much attention. Eat to fuel your body so that you can do the things you love. Eat to satisfy your mind so that you can bring a little bit of extra enjoyment to your life. Eat and move on.

6. Get pissed. And no, I don’t mean drunk. Get angry. Get frustrated. Look at how big of a burden calorie counting is in your life. Look at what it takes from you. Let the utter suckiness of it really sink in – and then realize that life doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t have to be a slave, dammit, you can be free. Put your GRRRR face on and fight for that freedom.

7. Trust yourself. You know how to eat, you do. You were born knowing how. In fact, you probably did a whole lot better as a child than you’re doing now. Your body knows what it needs and it will tell if you’re just willing to shut up and listen. As unwilling as you probably are to admit it, your body is not trying to screw you over. It has no hidden agenda. All it wants is what it needs to let you live your best possible life.

8. Be patient. Calorie counting is a bad habit, and like any habit, it takes time and effort to break. Don’t expect to ditch the numbers overnight, and don’t beat yourself up if things aren’t going as quickly or as smoothly as you’d like them to. I know the idea of giving up calorie counting is daunting, especially if you’ve been doing it for any extended period of time, but believe me that it is possible. You’re talking to a girl who used to weigh lettuce and count the calories in gum, so if I can do it, you can do it too. Have faith and never lose hope. 

. – . – . – .


Do you have any more tips on how to stop counting calories?
Do you think that anyone is able to become an intuitive eater?

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{ 60 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Chelsie @ Balance, Not Scale October 23, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Amanda — can I just say that I love this post more than words can say?! I’m INCREDIBLY proud to say that I’m nearly there. While the thoughts and totals still go through my mind, I find that I care less with every passing day. I know (yes, I do KNOW) that one day, I will be free. And while my mental arithmetic skills may decline ever so slightly from the lack of constant addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.
What a solid foundation — you’re leading more people to health than you can imagine, I have no doubt!! :)


2 Catherine L. October 23, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Amazing post ! Your writing is sooo inspiring. Thank you so much. :)


3 sarah October 23, 2012 at 5:31 pm

Don’t get me wrong, I loved this post. But this is ALL just so confusing to me!
On the 1 hand there are blogs like yours. Then on the other (perhaps bigger?) hand, there are blogs that talk of calories in practically every post, with advice on things like counting and how to get the least amount of calories you can. What to do, what to do…

Anywayz, I think you have given a lot of sound , valuable advice here:), and you seem much freer from ridding yourself of the calorie counting, and managing your micros.


4 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 24, 2012 at 8:08 am

What to do? Listen to the best source of information that’s available to you – your body :)


5 Jess(ica) October 23, 2012 at 5:32 pm

All of these are SUCH great tips. I really want to try all of your suggestions, especially letting someone else cook my food, ditch my measuring cups, and getting mad- especially getting mad. That’s one that I’ve actually felt starting to happen all on its own lately. I’ve been sitting awake in bed at night (thinking about food) and getting pissed because this ED is making me miss out on sooooo much in my life. This time of year is a year when everyone should be enjoying probably the most delicious foods we eat all year (fall, Thanksgiving, Christmas). I get pissed when I think about how I haven’t done a single bit of autumn baking when I LOVE baking almost as much as I love pumpkin, apple, cinnamon, maple baked goods. (I mean really, WTF?) And don’t get me started on Thanksgiving and Christmas- am I really going to sit there and let myself miss out on all that good food for ED? Ludicrous. I HAVE to get over this. I just have to.

GAH, I’m not the only one who was concerned about veggie/fruit nutrition labels! I still catch myself googling the calories if I buy a new fruit or veggie at the farmer’s market (y’know, just to be on the “safe side” *eyeroll) And the gum thing? DEFINITELY can relate!

I think, for me, success starts at starting small, taking baby steps. I just wish sometimes my family would be more proactive in trying to help me out to take them. It’s hard to fight this disorder alone. If I literally had someone in my face telling me the truth on regular basis, I don’t think I would believe the ED lies so much. All too often I feel like I just don’t have the will or strength to fight it on my own. Posts like these serve as very good substitutes though, so thank you :-)


6 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 24, 2012 at 8:12 am

Baby steps are definitely the way to go. And I know it’s hard to go through this on your own – my family was extremely supportive, but not very helpful when it came to talking sense into me. It can be a blessing, though, because it really forces you to find that motivation to heal within yourself, and I think that’s part of what will help make recovery real and long lasting.


7 Miss Polkadot October 23, 2012 at 5:45 pm

Amanda, this was yet another post I really needed! I hope you keep blogging and inspring others for a long time!

While I’m not trying to have perfect rations of nutrients at every meal, calorie counting is always present. Okay, sure, a small candy at a friend’s house isn’t calculated in but pretty much everything else is. However frustrating and tiring it is I have yet to give it up. As someone who needs a lot of safety in life, calorie counting unfortunately is where I find it. There are many things in life I can’t influence or control so that’s why I stick to adding up all of my food in a log.

I will, however, challenge myself following your tips from this post. Letting my mum cook for me the next time I visit would be a huge challenge but it’d make having our meal as a family a lot more enjoyable.

As for becoming an intuitive eater I hope it’s possible. Right now, though, I can’t imagine myself ever becoming as ignorant to nutrionals as a child again. Oh, how I miss that feeling of pouring the hugest bowl ever of sugary cereal for breakfast and enjoying it without second thought!


8 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 24, 2012 at 8:15 am

Just take baby steps and try to make small changes. You can never reach that same level of childhood ignorance, but it definitely becomes a lot less important after a while, to the point where it often feels like you forgot because you’re just not paying attention to it anymore.


9 Aimee October 23, 2012 at 5:48 pm

My personal favorite – trust yourself!! It’s something that I still have trouble doing but have learned that if I just learn to trust my instincts, things just seem to fall into place. Great suggestions Amanda! – I could not have said it any better! :)


10 Matt @ The Athlete's Plate October 23, 2012 at 6:01 pm

I used to count calories religiously! I just sort of stopped at some point. Can’t tell you why or how, but I did. And I love it.


11 Laura October 23, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Great post! Definitely something i’m working on these days Eating foods that I’m unsure of the caloric count, like when at a restaurant or friends, always helps me get over the irrational fear.


12 Hollie October 23, 2012 at 6:48 pm

This is seriously a great post. All of these tips are so realistic. This is honestly a post I would bookmark and show others. As a public health official on a college campus, I have seen a few girls that come talk to me about being chained to calorie counting. Great tips!


13 Alex @ therunwithin October 23, 2012 at 6:58 pm

as i said yesterday, I am very happy i never counted calories but when i was in treatment that was one thing a lot of the ladies struggled with. it was a hard habit to break. I think the thing though that is tough is forgetting the calories in things, i feel like because of all my food obsession phases I will always know the x amount in this, the portion of that. i am so glad you have moved past that and seriously great tips!


14 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 24, 2012 at 8:17 am

I don’t really think it’s possible to truly forget everything that we learned about the calorie content of foods, but it’s definitely possible to stop caring. It’s like… this banana has 80 calories? Pft. Whatever.


15 Alexandra October 23, 2012 at 7:40 pm

UMM SO YEAH YOU ROCK! Totally bookmarking this. Your tips are fabulous and you continue to inspire me! I can’t wait to stop counting when I know I can trust myself to not undereat. AHH You just plain rock Amanda <3<3


16 Sam @ Better With Sprinkles October 23, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Some seriously awesome tips, my dear!

Making the switch from obsessive calorie counting to intuitive eating is definitely not easy – it takes a long time to forget the calorie counts in certain foods so you find yourself automatically counting in your head. Definitely something I’ve struggled a lot with.

The tip about letting someone else cook is probably my favourite one – if you can’t see what’s going in it, it’s really hard to count it! It can be extremely anxiety-inducing, but it’s worth it.

I also love the book “Intuitive Eating” by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. It’s written more from the perspective of someone whose trying to stop overeating, but the general lessons are applicable to recovery from anorexia as well. I remember there is a part in it that talks specifically about eating disorders, and I remember it helped me a lot.
It also should be mentioned that if someone is still in the early recovery/weight gain phase, getting enough calories is important – and you can’t really trust your flagging hunger signals to make sure you’re eating enough. But even then you shouldn’t be really focused on counting – it’s better to let an RD do that part.


17 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 24, 2012 at 8:20 am

I’ve read that book and I definitely found it helpful in the later parts of my recovery, but at the beginning my hunger signals and everything were so out of whack that I definitely couldn’t trust myself because I would have just continued not to eat.


18 Nicole October 23, 2012 at 8:55 pm

ALL of your tips are great. I would add that having your family or significant other eat meals with you in addition to making them for you or with you is also helpful. Seeing others eat normally and realizing they are not getting affected (read: fat) by it is important to see for yourself firsthand and to try to experience it.

While having family members constantly trying to see how you’re doing and coaxing you with food is annoying, it at least helped me when they kept assuring me over and over that I need to eat and at that point needed to gain weight, so I didn’t have to worry about the caloric value of everything and JUST EAT. It was pretty fun actually 😉 And after that, it’s hard to allow yourself to every really be that hungry again.


19 Shelly October 23, 2012 at 9:04 pm

The thing that finally stopped me from tracking (calories & macros in everything I consumed, calories out via exercise) was the time it took to do that…a couple hours a day, probably, which included planning what I would eat & do to make everything fit together correctly, and revising that through the course of the day as different possibilities occurred to me. I’d rather spend that time reading an inspiring book, and need that much more. But what Nicole just said is so true too – “And after that, it’s hard to allow yourself to ever really be that hungry again.” Amen, sister.


20 Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes October 23, 2012 at 9:54 pm

This was very helpful! I hate counting calories and so do some of my friends who are dieting. I’ll have to share this with them :)


21 Sara @ Nourish and Flourish October 23, 2012 at 10:10 pm

I think this is the most helpful post you’ve ever written. <3 I've been an on-and-off calorie counter since I was 13 years-old–that's half my life! During times of stress I tend to grip onto it with dear life, as it offers a sense of (false) solace and control. However, while it used to be debilitating and destructive (I'd avoid all eating situations which made it difficult for me to tally my totals), it's now more about "management." I use the numbers to ensure I'm feeding my body enough rather than *not* getting enough; I'll happily go out and enjoy a restaurant meal; I "indulge" in desserts. However those numbers are always there, and since I know more about calorie content than I'd like too, I'm quick to assign a number to whatever I've consumed. It's a habit that's really tough to break! I find that when I'm most content, I can let those numbers go…for awhile. But then I return to them. The good news is that I have complete faith that I WILL let go completely. Two steps forward, one step back. I'm healthier and happier than I've been in YEARS, and know that at some point, I'll release that last grasp of control and trust myself 100%. :-) You're an inspiration; thanks so much for sharing your journey. <3 xoxo


22 Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl October 23, 2012 at 10:27 pm

You seriously could not have posted this at a more perfect time! Recently I have noticed that I have become downright obsessed with calorie counting, to the point of it being a time-consuming distraction and just utterly annoying and out-of-control. I vowed that starting this week I was going to stop keeping track of my daily calorie intake. It has been a struggle so far, but I am doing pretty good. Thank you for your tips…they will certainly come in handy now and in the near future.


23 Jessie October 23, 2012 at 11:24 pm

Oh hunnie, i love love this post. I’m sure, heck I KNOW it’s going to inspire and help so many of us who do in fact count calories. Thank you so much for taking your time and writing these tips down. <3


24 Christine October 24, 2012 at 1:01 am

Oh well those are good arguements though.
I have a problem with choosing my granola in a stor. And i NEED to look up the calories or carbs in it… Because everyone keeps telling that there shouln’t be xx amount of shugar in 100grams of granola. It’s hard to chose one! I just can’t take the one that tastes best. And why does the one with real shugar in it have less calories than the one with the rice sirup?? o_O


25 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 24, 2012 at 8:29 am

You definitely can take the one that tastes the best! Why not? People make such a huge deal about what’s in food, but at the end of the day all of the stressing and obsessing is way more harmful than anything we could probably eat. Don’t worry so much. I promise you it’s not worth it.


26 Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance October 24, 2012 at 3:52 am

Great and MUCH needed post, Amanda! Calorie counting is a very dangerous trap if it’s misused, and it’s so encouraging to hear how much fantastic progress you’ve made with it. I especially agree with the tip to “trust yourself”– You’d think it’d be so easy to just “eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full”– but for some reason it can be so much more difficult and confusing at times.


27 Jess October 24, 2012 at 4:20 am

This is obviously an incredibly well-written post for those looking to stop counting from a restrictive perspective, and it makes a change to see something so considered and thoughtful. Not to be rude, but some posts of this nature I have read on other blogs have been pretty facile and patronising.

I think intuitive eating is possible, but not for everyone. I don’t think it’s possible for emotional and/or binge eaters such as myself, because it is impossible to stop being ‘hungry’ even if you are not hungry – there’s some void there that always demands more food, and without counting, weighing and/or measuring six jars of nut butter are gone in as many days. IE can also be a stick for perfectionist people with restrictive disorders to beat themselves with; just another impossibly high standard to live up to. I’ve seen bloggers agonize over not being ‘intuitive’ enough in every single food decision and display even more anxiety around intuitive eating than calorie counting.

Personally, I can also say that not everyone knows how to eat properly as a child either. I used to overeat terribly to deal with being a misfit – I can remember using food to stuff down my feelings because I hated all of the other kids and they loathed me even more from as young as five years old. I don’t mean to imply that restrictive disorders are ‘easier’ at all, but there is the security of knowing you’ll never overdo it and/or binge, which I think makes intuitive eating more of a possibility. It’s just not practical for me though – it’s absolutely impossible when you can trust neither your body nor your head.



28 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 24, 2012 at 8:38 am

You always raise so many insightful points, Jess. I’ve never struggled with binge eating, and it’s not something I can personally speak to, which is why most of my advice is generally aimed towards those who are struggling with the restrictive mindset.


29 Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin October 24, 2012 at 6:08 am

So many great tips here! I never counted all my calories, but I did obsessively measure things like my cereal. I agree that starting small by not measuring one meal per day was really helpful for me! And I definitely agree that trusting yourself is key! If I “overeat” for one meal, I just have to trust that maybe my body will want a smaller meal later, instead of meticulously measuring every meal and trying to control my hunger/satiety.


30 Shannon October 24, 2012 at 6:39 am

I did a lot of these things when I stopped counting. Especially the buying of foods I couldn’t know the calories and blacking out nutrition labels on all of my foods. Another thing that might help is to replace the counting with something. But you have to be careful because you don’t want that to become obsessive either. Everything is OK in little bits, its when things take over your every thought and decision that problems arise.


31 Meghan @ After the Ivy League October 24, 2012 at 7:01 am

I love this. Absolutely GREAT advice to us calorie-counting addicts out there. I haven’t counted in over 3 weeks, and it’s felt great. The one meal at a time thing really worked for me. I would usually have a good idea of breakfast/lunch numbers, but come dinnertime, I didn’t pay attention. Slowly but surely…everything else mattered less too. You’re right, it’s a process. It won’t happen overnight, but eventually, it’s less and less important to you. Getting pissed worked for me too! One day I looked at myself and was like what the…?? WHY do I care so much about food? It’s just food for goodness sake! That was my “aha” moment and I’ve been working to change my habits ever since!


32 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 24, 2012 at 9:00 am

I love hearing stories like this! Such great inspiration 😀


33 kris October 24, 2012 at 8:03 am

great tips! not counting calories is one of the most freeing feelings ever :)


34 Sarah October 24, 2012 at 8:26 am

In the heart of my ED, I was pretty accurate with my calorie counting. Now that I’ve recovered, I don’t really count them anymore. I do keep a rough estimate for the day on where I am, but it doesn’t really go beyond that. But you’re right; it really does become an obsession.


35 Missy October 24, 2012 at 8:51 am

Amazing tips- all of them.

But number six? OH HAIL YEAH GET PIZZED.

Seriously anger has been such a powerful force for me in my pursuit of sanity. It’s nice to get down in the mud and put your war paint on and just be like “FFFUUUUUGGGGGGG DAT TISH!”


36 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 24, 2012 at 9:48 am

Hehe 100% agree. I swear that most of my recovery comes down to sheer frustration… which I guess is kind of the point – getting tired of a crap life and fighting for a better one.


37 Rachel October 24, 2012 at 8:57 am

Great tips!! I’ve been trying to stop counting my calories– definitely tough… the one meal idea is a good one! I think I’ll start that. I know personally I had to count to make sure I was eating enough to get my lady friend back but it does become obsessive.


38 Irina @ Chocolatea Time October 24, 2012 at 9:15 am

These are fantastic tips! I’m confident that these suggestions will help people who are struggling. I can only imagine how difficult it is to stop viewing food as a combination of numbers after living, breathing, and eating numerically. With that said, I am SO PROUD of you for conquering the quantitative obsession!

I noticed that some people commented how it’s not always possible to eat intuitively (i.e. if you are a binge or emotional eater), but tip #7 says it all. Everyone needs to learn how to trust their body and let it do its magic. This can be extraordinarily difficult for someone who has long lost touch with natural body signals such as hunger cues, but the key to opening those shackles is to get back in tune with yourself. It takes a lot of time, but it IS possible.


39 Danielle @ Clean Food Creative Fitness October 24, 2012 at 9:47 am

Love love love this post! So many helpful tips! I struggled a lot with breaking away from calorie counting too and know it is possible to do! Just takes a lot of work and a great support system!


40 Brittany October 24, 2012 at 10:29 am

These tips are perfect! I think anyone that has the mindset to stop counting calories will stop. It’s all up to them. The mind is a powerful tool!!


41 Rebecca @ Blueberry Smiles October 24, 2012 at 10:34 am

These are such fantastic tips! I used to religiously count calories too…..and it was a tough habit to break, but it’s given me such a healthier attitude towards food. Some days, we’re just hungrier than others! It’s okay to eat more calories those days. If you listen to your body, it all really does even out.


42 Ellie@Fit for the Soul October 24, 2012 at 11:12 am

Wow Amanda, I think I can tooooooootally agree with #2!!!!!! 0_0 for some crazy strange reason, it’s so much easier to just enjoy food 100% without thinking of the nutrition, calories, yada-yada, when we eat someone else’s dish! Or sometimes even a restaurant (sometimes)…I never put much thought to that, but I have wondered why that is. :) Hmmm I don’t know if this makes sense? But if we worry too much about calories and get too little, then our bodies will actually hold onto them more and in the long run, it will do more harm in even gaining too much weight. But I’m not sure if that’s a myth! 😛


43 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 24, 2012 at 1:23 pm

I’m pretty sure there’s some truth to that! I actually think I experienced something like that in the past… Undereating puts extra stress on the body, and that extra stress and cortisol could definitely cause the body to hang on to whatever it gets. That and the whole lowered metabolism bit… Much better to just eat as much as you need :)


44 Daisy October 24, 2012 at 11:24 am

your posts are so inspiring but it’s difficult to actually put them into action when the idea of stopping calorie counting seems synonymous with gaining weight to my idiotic mindset. i’ve followed several of these tips before, like deliberately buying unlabeled food, but i always manage to convince myself that looking up the nutritional values on the internet is sensible. i’m fifteen and am trying to drag myself out of the disordered eating i’ve slipped into over the past year, but it’s easier said than done. you definitely help to a degree though, so thank you for generally being such an inspiring person.


45 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 24, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Oh hun, 15 is way too young to be worrying about stuff like calories :( You have so much life to live so don’t let something so meaningless take that away from you. I know these kind of habits and fears are difficult to overcome, but living with disordered thoughts becomes just as, if not even more, difficult. You’re growing and developing, and your body needs proper nourishment, so don’t be afraid of food.


46 Natasha October 24, 2012 at 1:05 pm

OH man….calorie counting. Seriously, I think it is the biggest waste of time ever! I have never consistently counted calories. Never never never.

Even when I was restricting my food and was at my lowest weight, I still never counted calories. I was more of a eyeball/portion control to the extreme type of girl. And I’d only be satisfied if my tummy was growling by the time I went to bed.

I did try a couple of times to count calories, but it was way too difficult because of random snacks and such. Plus that would require measuring out food which is a hassle in and of itself! lol

I think that being that strict in regards to how much you are eating is absolutely insane and there is no way that type of lifestyle can be maintained.
I firmly believe in eating intuitively; that is, your hunger really depends on a lot of different factors and how much a person moves their body during the day. If somebody arbitrarily sets their calories to “x” amount every single day, well maybe on some days they will need more, and some days less, so that certainly is not fueling your body correctly and honoring your hunger!

Plus, you only live once, so why bother counting calories! There is no fun in that!

Great post
Natasha :)


47 Liz (formerly VeggieGirl) October 24, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Great advice! I find that sticking to a routine, for me, helps the body to become more intuitive (if that makes any sense).

Happy Wednesday, dear Amanda!


48 Lisa October 24, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Great post! As I said yesterday, this is definitely something I struggle with so thank you for taking the time to write this up and including the pure honesty on how tough it will be, cause gosh knows its not an easy process. I think in general, we will always kind of know around the amount we’re eating anyways because its just something you kind of remember, you know how many calories foods have. So there’s not even really a point to worry about stopping counting calories. If that made any sense? ha ha.


49 Kailey October 24, 2012 at 4:04 pm

I’m not going to sugar coat it – you are one of my favorite bloggers.
I feel pray to calorie counting during my junior/senior year of high school. It totally took over my life and made me miserable. It was SO hard to stop, but entering college really helped because I lacked control, which was a great thing at the point in my life. Now I am much happier just counting my calcium for bone health. However, when I run 16+ miles – I a “round up” to ensure I’m properly refueld. I just don’t think endurance athletes can not not thick about that, ya know?


50 Maddie October 24, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Hi Amanda, I have never commented on a blog before but as I am currently recovering from an eating disorder I wanted to let you know that your posts are incredibly inspirational! Your writing is beautiful and this post is especially helpful to me at this point in my recovery! Thanks:)


51 Hayley @ Running on Pumpkin October 24, 2012 at 9:37 pm

Everyone above has basically said how I feel about this post, so I’ll just sum it up with – AMAZING. Love that you took the time to write all of this and I think these are some extremely insightful tips that will undoubtedly help a lot of people who are struggling. I have had problems with obsessive calorie counting in the past too and there were years when it would come and go, usually coming when I was experiencing a lot of stress and using it as a form of control in my life. But those times only showed me that it would add even MORE stress because it was so time and though-consuming. It’s definitely a process to stop but I totally believe anyone can do it, too. <3 <3


52 Miz October 25, 2012 at 4:14 am

mindful and intuitive eating really really changed my life.



53 Katie @ KatieEnPursuit October 25, 2012 at 3:04 pm

You hit the nail on the head in this post, thank you, thank you, thank you! I need to implement some of these tips ASAP. Such informative tips & so correct on there are bigger things in life to give our attention to!


54 Beth @ Mangoes and Miles May 2, 2013 at 10:42 pm

Totally just found this post through the Pin It Party, and I’m super glad I did. Though I haven’t been counting for a couple of weeks now, the urge is still there quite frequently. Definitely bookmarking this post (/pinning it, because that’s kind of the point of this whole thing, isn’t it? :P) so I can read when I’m really struggling!


55 Emma May 9, 2013 at 7:21 am

Such a great post! I’ve been struggling to stop calorie counting for a few months now but it seems whenever something happens out of my control I jump back into it… almost like support I suppose. It’s so frustrating but the fear of the unknown always seems to override eliminating it from my life. I think I’ll definitely start off slow this time and not count one meal tomorrow.
Thank you so much for your inspiring posts :)


56 Monica September 15, 2013 at 7:27 pm

Thank you for writing this post, thank you, thank you, thank you :)


57 Jade September 21, 2014 at 8:35 am

Good points – my question is for someone who has done calorie counting for quite a while – maybe years on an off- why does this sometimes switch to totally not caring and eating lots more than one is hungry for and how does one manage this tendency to switch one way or the other? Thanks! Do you have any personal experience with this?


58 Jenna November 2, 2014 at 10:33 am

Love this! Currently switching from a calorie-counting, macronutrient-tracking obsession to just eating grain free and listening to my body when it is hungry/not hungry. So far, I feel great! You have some great points here. :)


59 Jenny March 20, 2015 at 6:02 pm

OMG!! I just found this. I am horribly obsessed OBSESSED with calorie counting. And it’s backfiring in every way. I don’t know how to get out, but I just googled “how to stop counting calories” and this post came up. I needed to see this desperately.
And yes, I’m pissed. Well no, not yet. I’m discouraged, guilty, feel like a failure because I get hungry. I need to get pissed.
I saw that this post is over 2 years old. I wonder if there are more success stories of people who don’t obsessively count since this first appeared.
So glad I found this.


60 Amy January 12, 2016 at 3:40 pm

Thank you so much for posting this. I’ve been struggling with obsessive calorie counting for a while and I’ve realised it’s become an unhealthy habit (My BMI has dropped from 21 to 16.4 and my boyfriend and mother are very worried :c). These are really helpful tips and I’m going to try some of your recipes, they really look delicious! :)

Thank you x


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