Should I count calories or count macros, or not count at all?

Rachael Attard Lean Legs Program – Wednesday Week 2

Today’s post kind of follows on from last week’s post about the 80/20 diet, intuitive eating and macro meal plans. I want to expand a little and talk about calorie counting and counting macros – should you count calories or count macros, or neither? And I’ll show you a great calorie counting website to help you stick with counting, if that’s what helps YOU get results on YOUR fitness journey.

Firstly, my workout update – phew so the HIT workout today really got the heart rate up! My poor body hasn’t been pushed like this for a while, and I definitely moved a whole lot slower than the girls in the video. I don’t want to burn out or get an injury, you know 😂. But I actually only needed one rest break on my walk today – that’s some progress right there.

Calorie counting deficit plan

Ok let’s get calorie counting (or not!)

I would first like to mention the difference between following a prescribed calorie deficit diet plan/macro counting meal plan, compared to going solo with your calorie counting.

Some online fitness programs have a meal plan that is already set at a calorie deficit for weight loss and the macro counting recipes are worked out for you. In this case you don’t really need to count calories, you just follow the calorie deficit diet plan. And you don’t need to do the actual counting yourself.

For the rest of this blog post I will be talking about going solo with your counting – where you are responsible for counting calories or macros for everything you eat. Let’s look at whether you should count calories or count macros (or not) to get results.  

Calorie deficit diet plan approach (counting calories)

You may be wondering does calorie counting work and is it really necessary to get weight loss results?

In my opinion, it is a great approach for some people, and not for others.

If you do want to count calories – either to ensure you are eating at a calorie deficit for the day, or just to check the calories in a certain meal you are making, then the calcount calorie counter website is awesome for Aussies – it has loads of useful information about calorie counting for weight loss and how to make calorie counting work for you. There are also loads of free apps that you can find on google.

Rachael Attard advises that as long as you are eating at a slight calorie deficit then you should see results over time. If calorie counting leaves you frustrated, obsessive or unmotivated, then it might not be for you.

It can be a good idea to track calories for just a couple of weeks to help get an idea of how many calories are in your everyday foods, and then ease off on the counting.

Macro counting diet plan approach (counting macros)

If you are considering counting macros, it can be a little tricky at first, but it can also be a great way to make sure that you are getting the right balance of macronutrients for optimum health and weight loss. Some people may see better results counting macros rather than just counting calories.

There are a lot of varying opinions on this, so my suggestion is that you just have to try it – and see if calorie counting or macro counting works for you!

Like calorie counting, you may want to try macro counting for a few weeks to get an idea of protein, carb and fat portion sizes, and then use this knowledge as a rough guide when preparing macro specific meals.

The important thing about deciding whether to count calories or count macros counting is to be really clear what your goals are. Not having clear goals can make it so hard to diet. Decide how long you want to stick to counting for and why. Have a plan for when you stop counting calories or macros. This way you are more likely to succeed and not give up on your weight loss and toning goals!

*Update: Try this deep dive into finding the best diet or fitness program for you!

No counting (just some educated guessing)

The risk with not counting calories or not counting macros is of course that you may overeat, or be missing the right amount of macronutrients. I will not be strictly counting calories or macros on on my health and fitness program for now – I’m too busy (lazy?). What I HAVE done though, is read all the macro breakdown information, calorie deficit instructions and I now have a good understanding of the portion sizes.

This information is good to have in the back of my head as a guide, but I can’t really face calorie counting (or macro counting) every. single. thing. I eat.

I also want to practice really trying to listen to my body and think about what it feels like to be full – I’ve always gone by the theory that if I can fit in more food then I mustn’t have eaten enough! 😂 😂 Which is obviously not a good approach.

Rachael Attard’s website has a calorie and macro counter tool to work out your calorie needs if you wanted to start with this information to guide you. If you get stuck with it (like I did!) you can email the team and they’ll work it out for you.

How do you feel about counting calories or counting macros? Does it empower you and help you fuel up correctly? Or is it too much of a chore, or even a dangerous spiral of obsessiveness? Please share!

Frequently Asked Questions


4 thoughts on “Should I count calories or count macros, or not count at all?”

  1. I don’t like counting calories, it makes me feel restricted :/ I like more intuitive eating and just making sure that i’m eating more vegetables and proteins than carbs.

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