The first approach many people take when they decide to lose weight is "counting calories." They read nutrition labels, measure out servings, plug every meal into a calorie counting app and burn themselves out. It's no secret that calorie counting is a major bore. Therefore, many people who attempt it stop before they reach their goal weight. Why is "burning more calories than you take in" so ineffective?

People don't really understand it
Calories have become the enemy, when in fact, they're needed to give the body energy. An overabundance of calories isn't healthy, but then again, too much of anything isn't. People tend to stop paying attention to the other things they're consuming because they're so fixated on the number of calories. Many processed food manufacturers reinforce the idea that "calories are bad," by releasing low-calorie snacks that give people the illusion that they're snacking healthily. In reality, they're consuming an abundance of sugar, sodium or chemicals. For instance, a banana has about 105 calories, but is loaded with potassium, B-vitamins and magnesium. A 100-calorie pack of cookies has fewer calories than the banana, but it also has fewer nutrients and is full of processed ingredients.

People also tend to disregard the fact not all calories are created equal. A hundred calories of protein will give the body energy, while a hundred calories of sugar causes a completely different bodily reaction. When people think of calories as the only way to measure their food intake, they may end up consuming an unbalanced diet and missing out on plenty of essential nutrients.

"Can you imagine counting calories for the rest of your life?"

It's not a sustainable method
Even if you're vigilant about counting calories until you reach your goal weight, can you really imagine counting calories every day for the rest of your life? This method can allow you to drop weight over time, but it becomes more complicated when you have to manage your weight. This leads many people to stray from their "diet" plan and gain the weight that they lost right back. Counting calories also makes people deprive themselves of their favorite "high calorie" foods, which can cause cravings and bingeing. Instead, it's more useful to learn a sustainable method of weight loss and maintenance like the Food Lovers Fat Loss System, which teaches users to eat a combination of fast and slow carbs and protein during every meal in order to efficiently burn fat.

You're probably eating more than you think you are
According to Pilates Nutritionist, a 20 percent margin of error is actually legal when it comes to labeling nutrition facts. So chances are whatever you're consuming has up to 20 percent more calories than you think it does. It may not seem like much, but that's going to add up. This goes for restaurants that list their calorie counts on the menu as well. Not to mention, serving sizes are usually much less than what you'd expect. A bag of chips may list the serving size as half the bag when most people actually easily eat the full bag in one sitting.

"Exercise is important, but doing it compulsively can be dangerous."

It can lead to obsession
If someone is determined to lose weight, gets a gym membership and comes home from the grocery store with bags of products labeled "low-cal," it can cause him or her to become obsessed with calorie counting. Since it's much easier to consume calories than burn them off (not only are labels usually inaccurate, but calorie counters on fitness machines usually are too) this can lead to compulsive exercising in order to stay ahead of the curve. While exercise is important and should have an important place in your routine, compulsive exercise can cause a multitude of health issues, like overuse and metabolic problems. 

Counting calories
It's true that burning more calories than you take in can sound like a foolproof method of losing weight, but it isn't the best way to go about shedding pounds. While counting calories may be beneficial for some people on their weight loss journey, it must be done with caution, along with a more sustainable method of weight loss. For long-lasting weight loss results, focus on a balanced lifestyle rather than just a quick fix.