Calories count, even if you never count calories

…and a little update, followed by a deep breath (mine)


Wow… The past few weeks have been insane!

  • We wrapped up a six week session of Daniel Plan support meetings (more to come)
  • Galya launched her Art of Real Food App for Android
  • Flew to Sequim, WA for a Restorative Exercise™ Institute summit
  • We moved from one side of town to the other (75% unpacked, so far)
  • Galya took a week in Ventura, CA to help teach a new class of Restorative Exercise Specialists
  • I recorded a podcast, only to realize that there were construction noises going on in the background that I couldn’t hear because I was recording with headphones on (delete, delete, delete!)
  • We traveled to Kansas City, Missouri to learn and present at The Fitness Summit™
  • Not to mention (even though I will) all the regular work, writing, clients, and training victims that we work with daily!
  • …and now it’s a mad dash to get ready for The Be Well Summit on Saturday.


Oh, and I have to finish my Restorative Exercise Specialist project.

(mental note; start Restorative Exercise Specialist project)

With all the many, many mad dashes the past few weeks, I missed The Hobbit in theaters, and had to live the Renaissance Faire vicariously through my daughter and son, who went without me! …to their credit, if they hadn’t ditched me, they would still be waiting on me.

Oh wait, we still need to rally the troops for Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day event on the 17th on May!

Enough about me/us, right?

As crazy as things sound on virtual paper, I love my life. I love helping people find their way to better health and fitness, and I just have to find a way to keep the balance, myself. No one’s perfect, and I’m no exception. Baby steps…


Calories count, even if you never count calories

I’m not the first one to say this, but I might be the first one to say it at The Fitness Summit. I’m not sure, but of all the things I talked about in my talk (How Real Life is F***ing Up Your Fitness), that’s the singular thing that people actually thanked me for saying.

I guess it’s weird out there in the fitness world; you either

A, count calories


B, eat a diet that naturally keeps you losing fat without having to count them


Both tend to work, but counting is a pain for those who don’t enjoy counting, while the other only works if you are in the 75% of people1 who naturally eat about the right number of calories when they eat within the ‘rules.’

I’ve done A with great success, but counting got to be a pain, and I stopped several years ago.

I’ve done B with less success; I was really healthy, but for the most part, fat loss eluded me until I reigned in the calories. I did this by counting them. Crazy, right?

So now what? Try option C.


C, trust, but verify

Trust that your healthy food habits are really on your side, but also know that they can still mislead you; you’ve had years to build up habits that trick your own brain, body, cravings, and appetites. One of the downsides to many of the diet books and programs out there is that they imply that if you eat the right foods, you can’t overeat them. Not true. At. All.

One guy following a very solid low carb diet just couldn’t lose weight. When I asked him to keep a food log, I saw that he took the diet book’s advice to ‘eat until satisfied’ to the extreme, and was eating two to three WHOLE CHICKENS PER DAY! True fact!

Find a way to eat your healthy foods, according to the healthy rules you’ve chosen (be it paleo, primal, vegetarian, vegan, low carb, etc.), but check yourself periodically by keeping a food log and, if necessary, counting your calories for a few days.

You probably won’t have to do it forever, because in your food log you’ll see the calorie bombs and optional foods that you can now eat less frequently or just in smaller portions. Do the logging, and do the math, and get your fat loss back on track.

I’ve done this exercise several times, and I’ve found that extra slices of cheese really add up, as do one of the healthiest fats, avocado!

Oh, and log your cheat meal or indulgence foods, too. One meal of free eating can derail a week’s worth of progress if you’re not careful. Log it!

1  This number was pulled out of my butt.



Healthy Calorie Bombs

In Man on Top, we have a list of foods that are ‘healthy,’ but still contain a lot of calories; even the healthiest of ingredients can be overeaten, at which point they cause weight gain and your healthfulness to drop.

paleo breakfast with tons of calories

Paleo harder!

coconut, coconut milk, and coconut water

coconut, coconut milk, and coconut water

mixed nuts

Q – How many nuts can you eat? A – All of them.

 healthy? yes. high calorie? yes, yes, yes.

healthy? yes. high calorie? yes, yes, yes.


mmm... guacamole...
mmm… guacamole…



Pick the low hanging fruit

What is ‘low hanging fruit?’

Low hanging fruit, noun
1 – the fruit that grows low on a tree and is therefore easy to reach
2 –a course of action that can be undertaken quickly and easily as part of a wider range of changes or solutions to a problem: first pick the low hanging fruit

Let’s try the second definition, since most of us don’t live on a farm. We’re looking to make easy choices that make a big difference, so log your food for a few days, do the calorie math, if necessary, then go back and circle the items that are high in calories and/or low in satisfaction.


  • log your food – 3 days seems to be a good number
  • count your calories – remember, it’s not forever!
  • look for and reduce the calorie bombs and foods that you consider optional
  • make sure your cheats and indulgences aren’t derailing your progress!


Questions? Comments?

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