Do I need to track calories to lose weight?
I’m gonna cut to the chase quickly here and say no, you don’t. For some people, the act of counting calories and tracking your macros can cause a negative relationship with food - which is never our goal! For others, tracking means they know exactly what’s going on and making decisions throughout the dieting process can be more informed by the data they have - it can mean faster results.
I’m going to use darts as a metaphor to explain the difference. If we’re throwing darts at a dartboard, we know our goal is to get as close to the center as possible (or goal for our diet is eating in a deficit + losing weight). As we throw the dart, we see where it lands - we might be close to the bullseye which will indicate what changes we need to make to land smack bang in the middle. Now, if we remove the board, we’re throwing darts at a wall with not a lot of indication as to whether we’re getting close to our goal or not.
When my clients go into a fat loss phase, I figure out their deficit calories and give them their macros plus a meal plan. So if they don’t want to track their calories, they don’t have to. But they’ve got the meal plan to follow which has been calculated to be a deficit for them. The equations we use to calculate this aren’t always accurate as they don’t factor in previous history or any metabolic downregulation - so the first phase is about ensuring clients stick to their meal plan or calories and training, track the data (photos, scale weight and tape measurements) and from there I can make the required changes. If they just told me ‘I’m eating healthy’ I have no idea how many calories they’re consuming, I can’t say ‘Ok, let’s take out some food so your deficit is bigger’ or ‘Let’s add in an additional 2000 daily steps to increase your energy expenditure’ because I don’t know what they’re doing.
Like I said earlier, tracking isn’t for everyone. So if you don’t want to track and you’re not in a hurry to get to where you want to be, follow a meal plan. Monitor the changes your body is making - if it’s not moving eat a little less and move a little more. But keep in mind, certain foods equate to higher and lower energy values.
If you’ve got no idea what calories or macros are, how to calculate yours or how to put a meal plan together - don’t stress, not a lot of people do! I’ve spent years doing it for clients and myself so I’ve got two great options for you:
- Joining Train With Soph my coaching platform where I’ll calculate your calories, macros and a meal plan for you which I’ll update every 4 weeks based on how you’re progressing
- Grab my Cook With Soph recipe eBook which explains calories, energy balance and has over 40 recipes with calories and macros - not to mention 3 sample meal plans you can follow as a taster (pun intended)
Hope this was helpful!