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How long should I count my calories?

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Hi everyone,

I decided in January to get shredded, and I've been counting my calories since then. I getting really close to my goal, working out in the gym 5 times a week, doing HIIT 3 times, and right now I'm 73kg, 182cm and 18 yrs old. I'm eating 1800 calories a day, but I'm getting tired of counting them, so my question is, how long should I count my calories? I'm just doing the fitness to look good, and to do some sport, so nothing serious, it's my hobby, I won't compete. If I stop counting my calories, what could happen? Would I fall back? Or just watch my intake roughly? 

I would appriciate any help!  

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By now you probably have a good idea of what it takes to maintain your goals. You've been counting calories long enough that you can probably tell just by looking at your food how many calories is in it. I vote for stopping  counting. Just do about the same quantity of meals as you have been doing. As for what will happen- well most likely you will keep going on your goals. But, if after a couple of weeks, you've gained weight you can make a decision. You can just cut back a bit on your food intake, or you can count calories again, or maybe just count a few days a week to keep you accountable.  

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If you’re tired of counting them, that may be reason enough to stop in itself.


No one can really tell you what will happen when you stop counting calories. It depends entirely on what you do once you’re no longer counting. And it pays to keep in mind that even those of us who feel pretty solid in our techniques for weight loss often struggle with maintenance once that loss is done. In many ways, that’s the most complicated part of dealing with body composition.

I will say (and this is only my opinion) that I’ve never found counting occasionally, or a couple times per week, particularly useful. A single day of data just doesn’t really tell you much. Most people’s caloric intake goes up and down by multiple thousands of calories from day to day; the fact that you ate 1800 calories on Thursday doesn’t allow you to make any assumptions about what you did the rest of the week. It’s not really reasonable to expect that you’ll be able to maintain a given weight, or really make any decisions, based on data that sparse.

Of course, it’s equally unreasonable to expect that you should just count calories every day for the rest of your life. 


Most people, when they’re not counting calories, tend to naturally gravitate toward an intake where they will slowly gain weight over time. It’s reasonable to assume that you will too. It’s important to keep in mind that this is natural and not necessarily something you should avoid. I think most people would agree that they feel better when they’re in a small caloric surplus, they tend to be healthier, more energetic, and more resilient overall. Plus, if you’re continuing to exercise (which you should, that is far more important long-term than your weight), not everything you gain will be fat; there will likely be a little tagalong muscle growth too.

My current thoughts are that the healthiest way to approach how to maintain your weight long-term is just to accept that you won’t. You will probably slowly gain weight, in little bits, over time once you stop paying attention. Accept that a certain rate of weight gain is normal, and that every once in a while — maybe once a year — you’ll just need to buckle down for a couple weeks and burn off the fat you gained. An occasional bout of dieting, after all, is a small price to pay in exchange for being able to relax during the rest of your life.

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