Lifestyle

I started counting calories and it actually helped.

Anyone who wants to loose weight has probably looked into counting calories or has counted them. This is my story about why I started counting, and my experience with counting calories.

So, I've got this thing called hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, which is where my thyroid doesn't produce enough of certain hormones that it's supposed to. One symptom of this condition is weight gain—which for me started in eighth or ninth grade. I never truly lost the weight I gained from this, but then again I never truly tried.

This past year has been full of changes for me. I went Pescatarian in January and started counting calories, with the help of MyFitnessPal, in May. I can happily say, that since I started counting calories I have lost 25 pounds. I know that might not seem like that much within the amount of time I've been counting, but I'm still proud of myself. Also, I'm probably doing the whole weight loss thing the wrong way—one step at a time instead of all together—but I want to focus on changing my diet and portion sizes before beginning a serious exercise routine.

There is usually a stigma around counting calories—whether that it's just bad in general and can become obsessive, or it just doesn't help and adds more work into your day. This negative feeling surrounding counting calories is why I was so hesitant to start, but once I did I became so much happier, and healthier.

Counting calories will be different for everyone—you may have the same reaction as the articles linked above or a reaction that is different from all of ours. Either way, here are the three main things that keep counting calories from becoming obsessive or tiresome for me:

I Still Eat Dessert, Like Every Day.

Yup, that's right. I eat dessert every single day. It ranges from chocolates to cake and anything in between. And yes, I do count the calories. Whatever my dessert, I make sure it at least fits in my calories, it's a bonus if I can stay under my carb and fat intake but sometimes you've got to splurge.

I have chocolates more often than cake, but I just found dessert hummus and that will probably be eaten much much more.

Sometimes I Stop Counting Calories.

Trust me, it won't be the end of your diet if you give yourself a day, or week, of grace. If I know I am spending the day with friends or family I won't count. It's not because I can't find the nutrition facts or calories of what I eat those days, it's because I want to enjoy my time with them and not limit myself.

I went to Hawaii recently, and I didn't count my calories at all during the trip (or when I got back because finals suck). Even though I went probably three weeks without counting calories, I didn't gain too much weight back and it was easy for me to get back into it.

Repetition Is Key.

Eating the same thing every day can get tiresome, but I don't mind it. I don't usually eat the same meal every day, other than breakfast, but I put my most common meals into the app to make it easy to eat those same meals again a few days later. When I make pasta, I turn it into a recipe in MyFitnessPal, put in how many servings it is and its there with easy access to add to my food diary.

For breakfast, I go between two or three meals but I do tend to eat the same thing every day for a while. One perk to MyFitnessPal is they have a "swipe right to add" feature (specific to breakfast) where you can easily add what you at yesterday to today's diary.

There is usually a negative stigma around counting calories, but you'll never know if it works for you unless you try it. If counting calories is something you've looked into, I hope these tips help you achieve your weight loss goals!