I stopped counting calories. Already.

A few weeks ago I thought it would be a good idea to count my calories. I gave it a solid four weeks. I started this in hopes of losing a few pounds, and that didn’t happen. But that isn’t why I stopped.

I stopped tracking my calories this week because I found myself eating food based on caloric value rather than nutritional value. It became too easy to have food x because it wasn’t that high in calories. I was still eating mostly Paleo while doing this, but it was becoming easier and easier to justify a tortilla when I went to Chipotle. In many cases I would justify it because I thought I NEEDED the calories. When I get Chipotle, according to their website, my burrito bowl is about 625 calories – rice, veggies, chicken, two scoops of mild, one green and guac – 625 calories. In many cases for me to get to my goal of about 2600 calories a day I needed more calories.

This led to cheating more when eating out. Instead of getting a salad, as I often do, when eating out, I would have a burger with a bun or bread. I would have regular fries or maybe some tortilla chips.

Then came McDonald’s. Hey – they egg mcmuffin is only 300 calories and if I don’t get butter? Only 270! I can have two of those!

This wasn’t good. Obviously.

This was turning into something more closely related to Weight Watchers than eating whole, quality foods.

The scale wasn’t changing, I am still right around 210 pounds. I didn’t notice any changes in clothing or appearance, either. The gym wasn’t impacted by my poorer food choices, either…until this past weekend.

This past weekend was the Great American Beef Festival. I like beer. I volunteer at the GABF every year for the past five years. Typically the diet goes off during this period for obvious reasons, but this time I tried to keep track of my calories during the event. On Thursday night I had the equivalent of about one beer or about 16 ounces of beer. On Friday night I had about three beers worth. Not too shabby. I did a good job avoiding the big ass cookies in the volunteer area by breaking off a chunk of one and eating that instead of the whole thing. I didn’t over indulge on pretzels. In fact, I kept them to a minimum considering. On Friday night I went out with my wife after GABF and we had a cheat meal, but nothing way out of the ordinary for a cheat meal for myself on the weekend (I typically have one meal where I go off Paleo on the weekends). On Saturday I don’t drink, but I still volunteer and I went to Which Wich after for lunch (again, it was all about the calories). Then I had a burrito that night with the family. It was far from an idea three day period for someone who likes to eat Paleo, but it happens. It has to happen to keep your sanity. But then the next day at the gym happened.

During all of this I didn’t get too far off of my ideal caloric intake. I was right around my 2500 calories per day. But on Sunday morning I felt like SHIT while at the gym. I ate pretty clean on Sunday in hopes to get back to normal, but on Monday I felt really heavy, too. While my calories were inline with what I should intake, now my performance was starting to suffer.

Sure, it might be unfair to make this judgement after an extreme three day period like I had this weekend, but I think that is the avenue I was headed down. If I was going to spend all this time and effort researching how many calories are in various foods and recipes, checking websites for calorie information and weighing and measuring my foods I better see a response for the effort – and I didn’t see it. Why waste the time and energy doing that if I wasn’t going to see any results? And when it starts to make my mind think McDonald’s is OK? I need to step back and take a second look.

The problem I was trying to address originally was that I might not be eating ENOUGH calories to sustain and/or allow my body to burn fat. That I might be starvation mode at times. How do I track that if I am not tracking calories? I guess I am not.

These final pesky pounds I would like to use will just need to come off in time? Maybe a cleanse is needed to rid myself of some junk in my intestinal track? I have never done one of those…I guess without getting professional help and finding out exactly what I need to intake to lose weight, yet sustain performance in the gym, I might need an expert. I am unable to do so myself. Is losing 15 pounds worth the money? I don’t know the answer to that.

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