Do I have to count calories?
No, you don’t have to count or focus on calories. Instead, simply log your food and follow the nutrition guide.
While calories are important in maintaining or achieving optimal metabolic health, they are only part of the equation. What’s just as important, if not more so, is how the body’s hormones direct how calories are used and stored. Foods that cause an increase in the hormone insulin will drive calories into storage in fat tissue. Simply put, what we eat may matter more than how much we eat. So focus on eating high-quality foods with little refined starches and sugars and eat until you feel satisfied.
Ideally, you will begin to feel hungry before your next meal. It may take some time to learn what your body needs and to recognize these cues of hunger and fullness, but the time and effort will be well worth it. As you stop worrying about calories, you can eat more intuitively, and you will learn to listen to and trust your body.
For more reading on this topic, read this study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.