To count or not to count calories… that is the question. Frankly, counting calories makes me crazy, or should I say… crazier than usual. Therefore, I choose not to count. HOWEVER, once upon a time, I did count calories and I learned A LOT.

I learned that what I thought was a portion size was actually a super size. I became aware of how often I finished off left over scraps and unwanted pizza crusts from my children. I also noticed that I tend to eat ingredients as I cook.

I learned to appreciate the power of a serving of nuts. I began to realize what foods were efficient foods: those that for relatively low calories kept me satisfied. I found out that most vegetables have almost no calories and are therefore a perfect snack when you are starving and up against your calorie maximum for a day.

I learned that one little piece of candy is just not worth it calorie wise. Sigh…

I taught myself some new tricks to eating out. Upon being served my meal, I’d box half of the plate to bring home and eat only what was left. I ordered more fish. I asked for double vegetables instead of potato. I skipped the wine, or at least I said no to the second and third glass.

I learned that counting calories causes me to become food obsessed. Therefore, once I felt good about my progress and what I learned from tracking, I decided to move forward without counting calories. Instead, I focus on making good choices. One good choice at a time.

The choice to count or not to count is personal and subjective. If you’ve never tried keeping a food journal or using a tracking app, you should. You may find that the discipline of entering your consumption keeps you accountable and helps you focus on your goals. Or, you may find that you don’t eat enough when you are tracking. You may find that you enter into an unhealthy competition to keep your calories as low as possible. Take stock of not only the physical impact of calorie counting, but the mental impact as well. Then make the healthy choice that works for you.