• Jen Kranjec

How counting calories worked for me

Updated: Aug 15, 2018

I know there are a lot of people who advocate against counting calories because it can be restrictive and tedious, and calories alone don’t account for overall health.

And I completely get it.

I was once someone who looked at calories as a negative thing, and I tried to eat as few of them as possible. This inevitably led to me binging and feeling like a failure, not realizing that my body was just saying “yo I need fuel!”

Eventually, as I searched for a better way, the pendulum swung in the opposite direction. I had been slightly damaged by the notion that calorie counting was the answer, so I readily embraced the idea that calories didn’t matter and that food quality was king.

The thing is, this didn’t work for me either. Eating perfectly “clean” became an equally impossible task that again, led to me binging and feeling like a failure.

I was frustrated. I didn’t feel good in my skin.

I’m definitely summarizing a lengthy journey when I say this, but eventually the pendulum started to settle in the middle, and my idea of “proper” nutrition began to come into focus right around the time that I started tracking “macros.”

[Tracking macros is a form of calorie counting -- taken a step further -- where you’re focused on eating a consistent balance of fats, protein, and carbs each day.]

Tracking macros worked for me instantly. The above transformation is 2 months apart -- on the left was just before I dialed in my macros.

The main difference between “counting calories” in the traditional sense and tracking macros is the mindset shift that needs to happen.

With macros, it’s much less about how LITTLE can I eat, and more about how MUCH can I eat each day and reach my goal?

Most people would be surprised by how much they can consistently eat while feeling awesome, crushing it in the gym, and achieving their fat loss goals.

There’s plenty of talk about eating mindfully, eating in moderation, and listening to your body. And I agree that we should be trying to achieve all of those things.

But what if tracking macros was actually the most effective way to learn what moderation is for you? To learn how much you could be eating each day to thrive? To learn what portions and combinations of macros works best. And to learn to balance fun foods like ice cream and burgers without an ounce of guilt. This is certainly what it did for me!

Everyone’s journey is different, and I respect that. Whatever you go through, however many times your pendulum swings, eventually you will find what works best for you.

But no matter what approach it is, it's usually the mindset shift that matters most. Any approach, from Paleo to mindful eating can be taken to the extreme.

We all need to find that balance of “What does the science say about nutrition?” and “How can I live and enjoy my best life?”

In my free E-book, “6 Essentials of Fitness,” I dive into 3 Fundamentals of Nutrition that will help you sort through the noise and find the nutritional approach that works for you. Download your copy from my website. And please reach out if you have any questions!

With Love,


P.S. Tracking macros is not guaranteed to make you tanner.

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