Ask Amelia Nutrition

How I Stay Fit Without Counting Calories

nutrition facts label

I frequently get reader requests for the nutrition information for my recipes.  While I love to make my readers happy (!!), I purposely don’t provide this information on my blog, because I don’t feel that calorie counting or tallying up nutrients in a mathematical way is “eating made easy.”  I do believe it’s important to know what and how much you’re eating, especially if you’re trying to lose weight, but this is my preferred method of achieving that.

Here are answers to some of the questions I’ve gotten from readers….

Why don’t you provide calorie information for your recipes?

Because counting calories, fat, carbs, protein, etc. takes away the joy of eating for me, and for most people I know.  Eating habits have to be pleasurable in order to last.

How can I maintain a healthy weight without calorie counting?

It’s essential to have an sense of how much you’re taking in and burning off if you’re gaining or unable to lose weight.  If you have don’t know much about nutrition, I recommend starting off with a system like Weight Watchers, which teaches you about the nutritional value of foods by using a Points system.  After you see results and learn some nutrition basics, you’ll be able to maintain weight more easily without counting anything.

How do you maintain YOUR weight?

On most days, I eat tons of vegetables and fruits, and less of everything else.  I don’t view this as a chore, but a pleasure.  Of course I love ice cream, chips, and margaritas as much as the next person, but I also love “healthy” foods, so I focus on those with other stuff lightly sprinkled in.

What do you do when you notice you’re gaining weight?

Usually, I can quickly figure out why I’ve gained a few pounds (haven’t been exercising, have a Costco-sized box of Cheez-its on my counter, etc).  When I need a nutritional kick in the pants, I just aim to replace some of what I’m currently eating with vegetables and fruits.  I also watch my dessert and white bread intake – which tend to be the biggest culprits for me personally – and try to boost my physical activity.

Are there any “diets” you recommend?

I frequently refer people to Weight Watchers, but I don’t consider this a diet – it’s more of a user-friendly training program to learn about healthy eating.  Besides that, not really.  Any “diet” that’s heavily restrictive or suggests eliminating certain food groups may help you lose weight, but the diet (and the weight loss) won’t last because it’s not practical.

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  • christa
    November 29, 2011 at 10:27 am

    amelia, i love your philosophy. eating is too important in our lives to make it a job requiring counting, skills, and stress. when i stopped counting calories and fats, i felt liberated and enjoyed meals so much more. that aside, i already have a good understanding of nutritious food so am able to make good, healthy choices most of the time. i do eat my fair share of ice cream and treats. but life is better without the constant worry!

  • Amelia
    November 29, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Great perspective 🙂 Being thin is no fun if you’re torturing yourself via deprivation all the time.

  • Shelley
    November 29, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    I couldn’t agree with you more, Meels. I think learning the basics about nutrition is just as important as learning to balance a checkbook or any other “grown up” task.

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