A tale as old as time… to track or not to track?

Like many things in wellness, there is no black or white, right or wrong, one size fits all…

Can you lose weight without calorie tracking?


Can you save money without budgeting or checking your online banking?

Sure you can.

But it can certainly make it easier (for many) if it is monitored.

After all, if something is measured, it can usually be managed and adjusted much more easy to get the desired outcome.

Does that mean it is suitable and beneficial for everyone? Certainly not.

Particularly if it becomes obsessive and the negatives start outweighing the potential benefits.

There is also a HUGE margin for error when calorie tracking, so there is no point trying to track everything ‘perfectly’.

Understanding this will help you manage your expectations and not get too obsessed with it.

For example, in the United States, the FDA allows a margin of error of 20% on their labels!

That is a huge margin!

That means if you are eating something that says it contains 500 calories…

It could actually contain between 400-600 calories!

Doesn’t feel so important now to track every bit of cucumber and cherry tomato does it?

There are also some studies that show people underreporting their caloric intake by up to 47% and overestimating the number of calories they burn by a whopping 51%!

Do these discrepancies matter?

Not at all.

Calorie tracking can still be a helpful tool for some people to learn about their caloric consumption, calorie-dense vs nutrient-dense foods, and protein intake.

But it must be taken with a pinch of salt. Pardon the pun!

The end objective is always fully intuitive eating. However many need a tool to bridge the gap, to help them get there.

You can’t go from not understanding your consumption to just all of a sudden eating ‘intuitively’.

Think of myfitnesspal (or whatever app you use) as the training wheels on a bicycle.

Once you learn to balance and ride on your own, you can get rid of those training wheels, as they are no longer needed. They have served their purpose.

If you decide to track it, I recommend viewing it in exactly the same way.

If you feel you are becoming obsessive, or disordered eating is creeping in, then tracking isn’t for you, and other ‘tools’ need to be looked at.

Hope this helps.

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