I know the dangers of calorie counting, believe me. If it becomes an obsession, it can be extremely serious. I went to my calorie counting adventure knowing that and promising myself I wouldn't let that happen to me.

I also didn't necessarily set a calorie limit for the day. Instead, I looked at what would be the ideal calorie intake for someone of my size and with my level of athletic activity and loosely followed it. Because I went in knowing it would be just a two week or so experiment, I was able to actually learn things rather than get wrapped up in the weight loss of it all. 

I stopped eating when I was bored.

When you're counting your calories, every snack and every meal counts. Usually when I'm doing nothing or just laying down watching Netflix, I'm always snacking. But, when those mindless snacks when I wasn't even hungry started to count, I started to rethink those decisions. 

I learned how to portion control.

I love seconds. And thirds. And fourths. Usually I have no need for extra helpings, but I do it anyways because YOLO right!? Once I was aware of how many calories a single portion was, I suddenly felt the need not to overindulge every time I ate.

Sure, if I was hungry I'd keep eating. But there's literally no need to have three giant spoonfuls of mashed potatoes. Want to learn to control your portions without counting your calories? Check out these quick portion control tricks.

I didn't drink as much. 

Every college kid has heard how terrible alcohol is for you and how caloric it is. I even stopped drinking beer when I came to college because I thought it would make me fat. Well, joke's on me! Every kind of alcohol can make you gain weight. So, once I realized that my shots of vodka plus my chaser were adding serious calories to my diet, I limited myself. 

I saw how effective my workouts actually were.

When you're working out so that you can earn back some calories and eat that bag of chips, you really pay attention to what you're doing.

For example, my thirty minutes on the elliptical at a level one intensity wasn't actually that great of a workout. Instead, I was able to adjust my workout intensity so I wasn't wasting any time at the gym and I was burning way more calories. 

I only ate foods I liked.

I didn't think that I would be able to enjoy the foods I liked while I counted my calories, but I was wrong. When you only have a certain number of calories per day, you're very particular about what you're eating. So, instead of wasting calories eating a kale salad that I knew I would hate, I ate less of the more caloric foods I enjoyed, like sandwiches.

Obviously when you're calorie counting for weight loss and being more serious about it you're gonna eat the salad, but I realized that it's not worth eating something I hate when it's going to limit me the rest of the day. 

I lost weight.

Okay, I know obsessing over weight loss is the problem with calorie counting and this is why it can be so dangerous, but it can work in a healthy way when handled rationally. Obviously limiting yourself to an unhealthy point isn't okay, but I was able to manage my diet healthily and lose a few pounds. It was a win-win.