Counting Calories to Lose Weight? Here's Why It Might Not Work for You

I've been on a healthy eating kick lately, but I've gone the "try hard to make better choices" route rather than counting calories this time. You see, counting calories to lose weight can leave you frustrated—and can lead to unhealthy eating patterns if you're trying to fit in calorie-rich things like ice cream or a glass of wine when you've only got a limited number per day. The last time I tried to keep track of my calories, I quit in less than a week because it literally took all of the fun out of mealtime and, well, that's kind of a sin in my book.

I felt a little better about ditching this method when I heard that experts are saying that this counting habit may not actually be the best way to keep weight off. "When you eat the right quality and balance of foods, your body can do the rest on its own," explains David Ludwig, MD, an endocrinologist, researcher, and professor at Harvard Medical School, who's also the author of Always Hungry? "You don't have to count calories or go by the numbers." To learn more about the history of calorie counting, how to do it, and both the pros and cons, keep reading.