article that I liberated from Tom Venuto of
really makes you think about the mindset that you need to
have to make a serious commitment to fat loss!
it that any time you hear the words "calorie counting,"
people start running for the hills? If creating menus,
counting calories and keeping a food journal are
research-proven, effective tools for nutrition education,
awareness, motivation and accountability (they are), then
why is there so much resistance to it?
reason is because it's perceived as work and hard work
doesn't sell! Another reason is that skeptics say, "What
about intuitive eating?" "What about people who lose fat
without counting calories?"
you could choose not to count calories and eat what you
"feel" your body is asking for, but if you do, that's called
guessing. If you guess correctly and eat the right amount,
you lose weight. I would call that luck! Would you rather
roll the nutritional dice or bet on a sure thing?
Nutrition journaling and menu planning replace guesswork
with precision. Perhaps even more important, they're also
crucial parts of the learning process to raise nutritional
consciousness. There's only one way to truly understand food
and how it affects YOUR body: You have to go through all
four stages of the learning process:
Unconscious incompetence: You are
eating the wrong foods in the wrong amounts and you're not
even aware of it. (You don't know what you're doing and you
don't know that you don't know what you're doing)
Conscious incompetence: You are
eating the wrong foods in the wrong amounts, but for some
reason, you now become aware of it. This is often because of
a "hitting bottom" experience or an "I'm not gonna live like
this anymore" epiphany. (You don't know what you're doing
and now you know that you don't know what you're doing!)
Conscious competence: You
educate yourself and begin to eat the right foods, but it
takes a lot of thought and effort to eat the right things in
the right amounts. (You know what you're doing, but you have
to think about it and work very hard to make it happen
because you're using willpower and still learning)
Unconscious competence: You've
made the conscious effort to eat the right foods in the
right amounts and you've counted calories and kept a
nutrition journal for long enough and with enough repetition
that these behaviors become habits and a part of your
know what you're doing and you do it easily and
automatically without having to think about it).
the concept of intuitive eating has merit. If we listened to
our body's true signals, I believe that our appetite, our
activity and our body weight would properly regulate
problem is, in our Western, technologically-advanced culture
with an obesogenic environment, a sedentary lifestyle,
social pressure and food cues tempting us at every turn, our
intuitive bodily wisdom constantly gets short-circuited.
modern society, being able to eat by instinct and
successfully guesstimate your nutrition or trust your
feelings of hunger and satiety are not things that come
naturally or easily.
way to reach that hallowed place of unconscious competence
where eating the right foods in the right amounts becomes
automatic and you truly understand YOUR body, is by going
through the conscious nutrition education process.
simple ways to "count calories" and get this nutrition
education you need are the meal plan method and the
nutrition journal method.
Plan method: Create a
menu plan meal by meal, with calories, macronutrients and
serving sizes calculated properly for your goals and your
energy needs. You can
create 2 or more menu plans if you want the variety. Then,
simply follow your menu plan every day. Weigh and measure
your food portions to make your actual intake matches your
this method, you really only need to "count calories" once
when you create your menus. This is a method I use and
recommend in my Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle program (www.burnthefat.com).
Nutrition Journal (Food Diary) Method: Another
way to track your nutrition intake is to keep a nutrition
journal or food diary, either on paper or with an electronic
device, software or website. This is more like "calorie
counting" in the traditional sense.
Throughout the day, after each meal, you log in what you
just ate, or at the end of the day, you log in all your food
for the entire day. The former is the best option, since
people seem to get really bad cases of "eating amnesia."
recommend that you count calories and keep a nutrition
journal at least once in your life for at least 4-12
consecutive weeks or until you achieve unconscious
competence. At that point, it becomes optional and habit
(the unconscious mind) takes over. You can
come back to your meal-planning and journaling any time in
the future if you slip back or if you have a very important
goal you want to work on. It's a tool that will always be
there for you if you need it.
Counting, tracking and journaling is NOT something you have
to do forever. But if you're a beginner or if you're
struggling with excess body fat, there is no substitute. Don't
"wing it!" Trying to start your fitness journey or trying to
break through plateaus by guessing is a recipe for failure.
Ref: Tom Venuto