15 Pictures That Prove Calorie-Counting Won’t Always Help You Lose Weight

You don’t have to be a nutritionist to memorize this simple rule.

London-based fitness blogger Lucy Mountain has one message for you: Stop swearing by calories. By posting side-by-side photos of food servings on her Instagram account TheFFFeed, she’s challenging the traditional ideas of a healthy diet.

Mountain, who also runs the Instagram account The Fashion Fitness Foodie, visually shows that foods many believe are “healthy” often have the same amount of calories (or more!) than their “unhealthy” counterparts. (You might want to avoid these “healthy” foods, too.) Plus, thanks to simple swaps like light instead of full-fat salad dressing or an extra pat of butter, two identical meals could have a difference of 100 calories or more.

But according to Mountain, that’s no big deal. Although “healthy” food typically has more nutrients, it’s not about that or the number of calories on your plate—it’s about eating what makes you feel best.

Yes, you read that right! Calories matter way less than you think. (Forget about these 13 health food myths, too.) “Having a chocolate bar in a day of well-balanced meals and adequate micronutrients doesn’t suddenly make it ‘unhealthy,'” Mountain said.

There’s no need to cut foods like ice cream completely out of your diet, either. Instead, Mountain says, “Moderation is key, and this will look different on different people depending on the person, their fitness goal, and their lifestyle.”

Looking to shed some pounds? Try these 42 fast, easy tips for weight loss.

A handful of Almonds vs. A packet of Fruit Pastels 🍬⠀ ⠀ Both snacks have the same calories. Which one would you pick?⠀ ⠀ Occasionally I’m the left hand, but mostly I’m the right hand. (I know, shocking. A person who considers themselves into health and fitness eats sweets – and is openly talking about it on social media.) 🌝🌝🌝⠀ ⠀ You see, although I’m fully aware that a handful of almonds contains lots of wonderful nutrients that would keep me fuller for longer, some days (no matter whether I’m looking to gain, maintain or lose weight) I’ll choose to eat sweets or a chocolate bar as a snack 💪⠀ ⠀ Why? Because when the majority of my diet has consisted of well-balanced food that’s full of micronutrients, I have no issue eating something thats less so just because I love the taste of it. This is just a personal choice. Cutting out things I love isn’t realistic for me so I always squeeze something sweet into my days (all whilst still sticking to my calorie/macro/micro targets.)⠀ ⠀ Many would choose the almonds for the nutritional value or the flavour – which is totally fine. Many would choose the almonds because even though they'd prefer Fruit Pastels, almonds would make them feel more ‘on track’ mentally – which again, is totally fine 💕⠀ ⠀ I’m not glorifying sweets, or almonds for that matter. I’m glorifying knowing what’s in the food you’re eating, and make educated decisions based on your own values. And I value food that’s good for my body and good for my soul.⠀ ⠀ ‘Healthy' to me is exactly what I make it. And Fruit Pastels (in moderation) make me happy which I believe contributes largely to my overall health 🙌⠀ ⠀ #FFFoodForThought #theFFF

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Salt and Vinegar Crisps vs Vegetable Crisps 🥔⠀ ⠀ Each of these bowls contain 1 bag (40g) of crisps. The bowl on the left are salt and vinegar, the bowl on the right are mixed root vegetable.⠀ ⠀ Although the difference in calories is pretty minuscule, you’d expect the vegetable crisps to be considerably less calories right? This is just another little reminder that often there’s not much difference between the product marketed as the ‘healthy alternative’ and the real thing. So go for the thing you actually WANT to eat 🙌⠀ ⠀ Although there are many different aspects that describe ‘healthy’ (yes – it IS subjective), such as salt content, micro-nutrient value and how that food makes them feel, calories play a fundamental part in weight management. This post isn’t to say 'TRACK EVERYTHANG, TRACK THAT DAMN CUCUMBER’, it’s more about looking at your diet within the context of a whole day – and eating the damn salt and vinegar crisps if that’s want you actually want.⠀ ⠀ I want this and all my comparison posts to give encourage freedom with your food choices, not restriction. When 80% of my diet within a day is full of adequate micros and macros, i will ALWAYS eat food I love purely for taste. Because life. Ygm. 💁🏼⠀ ⠀ (All crisps are vegetable crisps 🌝)⠀ ⠀ Which side are you guys going for?⠀ ⠀ ⠀ *Crisps from Co-Op Irresistible range* – #FFFoodForThought #theFFF

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Protein Porridge vs. Protein Porridge 💪⠀ ⠀ Neither of these bowls are 'good' or 'bad'.⠀ Neither of these ingredients are 'good' or 'bad'.⠀ They are just bowls of oats with different toppings.⠀ ⠀ Both bowls have different calorie totals.⠀ Both bowls have different macronutrient values.⠀ Which one you might go for depends on your goal.⠀ ⠀ Why you might pick the left bowl:⠀ 1. Your goal is weight-loss and this will help you reach a sensible calorie deficit.⠀ 2. Your goal is weight-gain but the remainder of your diet for the day will meet your total requirements.⠀ 3. The micronutrient value.⠀ 4. You just wanna eat it.⠀ ⠀ Why you might pick the right bowl:⠀ 1. Your goal is weight-gain and this will help you reach a sensible calorie surplus.⠀ 2. Your goal is weight-loss but the remainder of your diet for the day will meet your total requirements.⠀ 3. The micronutrient value.⠀ 4. You just wanna eat it.⠀ ⠀ Calories aren't the sole indicator of 'health'. This is subjective term. How many calories you consume and how many you use through activity is an important part of weight management but there any many other things to consider 💪⠀ ⠀ So just do you 💕⠀ ⠀ ⠀ Left bowl:⠀ – 40g oats⠀ – 1 scoop protein⠀ – 250ml almond milk⠀ – 60g blueberries⠀ – 60g raspberries⠀ – 15g manuka honey⠀ ⠀ Right bowl:⠀ – 40g oats⠀ – 1 scoop protein⠀ – 250ml almond milk⠀ – 1 banana⠀ – 4 dates⠀ – 20g almond butter⠀ ⠀ #FFFoodForThought #theFFF

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Peanut butter on Toast vs Peanut Butter on Toast 🍞⠀ ⠀ Both are made from one slice of the same bread, both have a spread of the same peanut butter on top. However one side is roughly 150 calories more than to the other.⠀ ⠀ I bladdy love a bit of PB but it can be super easy to accidentally-on-purpose spread half a jar on a piece of toast lol (I've been there 🌝) Because nut butters are high fat, they tend to be high in calories. WHICH IS ABSOLUTELY FINE GUYS. It's just something to bare in mind if weight-loss (or weight-gain) is your goal. Weighing out yo PB is a good method of managing this.⠀ ⠀ Left Slice:⠀ – 1 slice of Hovis Wholemeal Bread (88 kcal)⠀ – 15g Peanut Butter (94 kcal)⠀ ⠀ Right Slice:⠀ – 1 slice of Hovis Wholemeal Bread (88 kcal)⠀ – 40g Peanut Butter (250 kcal)⠀ ⠀ As you know from my recent posts, I'm about enjoying ALL ze food and there is nothing I cut out of my diet that I like the taste of – no matter my goal. Learning how to manage portion sizes has allowed me to achieve this! I hope this helps my fellow PB addicts out there. I got chu. 😏😏😏⠀ ⠀ #FFFoodForThought #theFFF

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Fruit and yoghurt vs. Fruit and yoghurt 🍉⠀ ⠀ Both of these bowls have 150g of greek yoghurt. Both of these bowls have 150g of fruit. However the difference in calories is approximately 300 calories.⠀ ⠀ I’m not saying the left bowl is any better the right bowl as both are full of wonderful micro-packed foods 🍓. I just wanted to show you guys how small changes to ingredients can change the caloric total 😊⠀ ⠀ This doesn’t mean you need to weigh and track every last strawberry (lol). It just means if your goal is fat-loss, being a little bit more mindful of the calories in what you’re eating will really help when making food choices 💪⠀ I firmly believe you should never cut anything out your diet you don’t want to. But I also know first hand how easy it to unknowingly remove a calorie deficit by eating something labelled as a ‘health food’ (Those coconut pieces came from a small grab and go 'snack pot’ but were 400 kcals 🤔)⠀ ⠀ Please note this post is not bashing fruit 🙏. This is purely from a fat-loss perspective and I’m fully aware of the lovely health benefits of ALL of the ingredients above (before ya’ll start throwing vitamins and minerals at me) 😏⠀ ⠀ I want to highlight some small tweaks which could help those looking to lose fat with simple swaps 💕⠀ ⠀ ⠀ Left bowl:⠀ – 150g Fage 0% Greek Yoghurt (78 kcal)⠀ – 50g Strawberries (16 kcal)⠀ – 50g Melon (15 kcal)⠀ – 50g Pineapple (25 kcal)⠀ ⠀ Right bowl:⠀ – 150g Fage Greek Yoghurt (142 kcal)⠀ – 50g Banana (45 kcal)⠀ – 50g Passionfruit (49 kcal)⠀ – 50g Coconut (196 kcal)⠀ ⠀ #FFFoodForThought #theFFF

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I used to think liquid calories didn’t count. Don’t get me wrong, when I’m on a night out the calories in my gin and tonics aren’t exactly at the forefront of my mind BUT day-to-day (when I’m not up in da klub 🍾) I prefer to eat my calories rather than drink them. – It’s often surprising how many calories are in coffees and hot drinks – a large Starbucks Flat White is 290 calories and a latte is 300. If weight-loss is your goal, a simple swap like ordering a white americano instead will save you 250 calories 💪 If you did this everyday, you’d save 1,750 calories across a week which will have a great impact for such a small change. (AND you still get to walk around with your name on a Starbucks cup 😏) – Simple swaps and daily habits FTW 🙌 – #FFFoodForThought #theFFF

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20g of cashews vs 40g of cashews 💪 ⠀ Both are technically a ‘handful’ but there are twice as many calories in the right than in the left. Portion-sizing can be super hard to get your head around at first, especially when you don’t want to track or weigh your food. But getting familiar with the best portion size according to your personal goal and what it looks like will massively help you get there quicker 💪⠀ ⠀ If your goal is fatloss specifically, creating a caloric deficit is essential. This doesn’t mean restriction and this doesn’t mean cutting anything out. It just means being a little more MINDFUL of what you’re putting in your body (your diet) and how much energy you’re expending out (activity) 💫 And because nuts often come in large snack bags and are considered a ‘health food’, it’s so easy to eat over 500 calories of nuts in one sitting, which could potentially put you in a calories surplus.⠀ ⠀ So if you’re trying to get a little leaner, maybe the left side would be better for you. If you’re trying to gain weight, maybe the right side would be better for you. If you just bladdy love cashew nuts, maybe both sides in one big nutty mouthful would be better for you 💁💅 ⠀ Not everyone wants to count calories and thats absolutely fine. But just having an awareness of whats in your food when you’ve got a goal in mind should really help you! I hope you guys found this useful 💕 ⠀ #FFFoodForThought #theFFF⠀

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What Naked Smoothie consider 1 serving vs. Real Life 🙊 – It’s not just the guys at Twix Towers who are sneaky with their serving sizes. This popular smoothie brand are also pretty off too. On the front of the bottle it says 135 calories however if you look closely, it says ‘per 250ml serving’. The bottle is 450ml. So that’s 1.8 servings per bottle. How on earth would someone even measure that on the go?! It’s not even half a bottle 🙄 – Don’t get me wrong – there is absolutely no problem drinking 243 calories of smoothie (it’s actually pretty low in the wide world of smoothies). The calorie content of the bottle is not the issue here, it’s just the labelling. – Anyway as I’ve said before, recommended serving sizes are super general at best and don’t take into account the individual, their goal or what else they’ve eaten that day. In reality, no-one wants to measure out their supermarket smoothies, they just want to drink it. So if your being mindful of your calories, it’s always a good idea to check the labels properly so you’re not unknowingly being taken out of the calorie deficit you’re working hard to achieve 💪💕 – P.s. My new What I Eat in a Day for Fatloss video is live via my bio galz – lemme know what you think! 😘👙 – #FFFoodForThought #theFFF

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Same amount of food, different calories 🍽⠀ ⠀ You might recognise this guy from my post on Saturday. He featured on my full day breakdown of food. Thought he deserved some of the spotlight by himself.⠀ ⠀ The only differences are the percentage of fat in the meat and the oil used to cook it. Firstly FAT IZ GOOD 4 U. It's simply more calories per gram. That's it. Secondly CALORIES R GOOD 4 U. You need them to fuel your body.⠀ ⠀ However making a simple swap like this could be useful if your goal is weight management and you're getting adequate fat in the REST of your meals through-out the day.⠀ ⠀ I appreciate some of you aren't about the Frylight sprays in replacement of oil. Das cool. I personally am okay using it, but use normal Oil if not! 💕⠀ ⠀ Left Side:⠀ – 125g Golden Veg Rice⠀ – 80g Mushrooms⠀ – 60g Peas⠀ – 100g Chopped Tomatoes⠀ + 125g 5% Fat Beef⠀ + Frylight Olive spray⠀ ⠀ Right Side:⠀ – 125g Golden Veg Rice⠀ – 80g Mushrooms⠀ – 60g Peas⠀ – 100g Chopped Tomatoes⠀ + 125g 12% Fat Beef⠀ + 1 tbsp Olive Oil⠀ ⠀ #theFFF @thefashionfitnessfoodie

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Someone Who Tracks Their Calories vs. Someone Who Doesn’t 🙃⠀ ⠀ That’s right, there is no difference.⠀ ⠀ There’s no difference because the method you choose (if any) does not solely dictate the food you consume. It starts with you, and is influenced by many factors such as:⠀ ⠀ – What you like to eat⠀ – What you don’t like to eat⠀ – Your lifestyle⠀ – Your goal⠀ – Your moral stand point⠀ – Your income⠀ ⠀ And then, of course, your method which could be anything from My Fitness Pal, adopting portion control and eating intuitively to meal prepping your lunches and even using Weight Watchers ✌️⠀ ⠀ Yes – your body tracks your caloric intake whether you consciously choose to or not BUT it’s down to you to decide the level of awareness you want (include none at all.)⠀ ⠀ Does counting a calorie stress you out? If so, don’t do it. It’s simply one of many methods 🙌⠀ ⠀ Does tracking mean you have to start eating Pop Tarts and become a Bro? 🌝 Absolutely not. There’s a lovely, non-obsessive middle ground which exists. That’s where I’m at 💕⠀ ⠀ Don’t forget everything starts with you. Experiment and work out what works for you taking into account not only your goal, but also your physical and mental health 💪⠀ ⠀ #theFFF

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All three of these are smoothies. However depending on the ingredients thrown in, the calorie content varies pretttttty massively. Here’s the breakdown:⠀ ⠀ 1. 130 kcal:⠀ – 300ml almond milk⠀ – 1 scoop protein⠀ ⠀ 2. 296 kcals:⠀ – 300ml almond milk⠀ – 1 scoop protein⠀ – 1 banana⠀ – 1 tbsp honey⠀ ⠀ 3. 500 kcals:⠀ – 300ml almond milk⠀ – 1 scoop protein⠀ – 1 banana⠀ – 1 tbsp honey⠀ – 1 tbsp peanut butter⠀ – 2 tbsp flaxseed⠀ ⠀ Now some people have a smoothie as a meal, others have them as a snack – and either way, that’s totally fine 🙌However if weight-loss is your goal, being more mindful of what you throw into your smoothies could really make a difference 💪⠀ ⠀ Peanut butter, nuts and seeds are all super delicious in shakes but throwing all of them in unknown quantities can often take the calories up. You don't need to track everything or be over meticulous, but having a basic awareness will help you on your way 🙌 ⠀ ⠀ Although it really depends on what else i’ve eaten that day, as a general rule of thumb I’ll stick to a 3/4 ingredients and weigh each of them out 💕⠀ ⠀ I hope this helps you guys and gives you a bit of context.⠀ ⠀ (I wasted so much peanut butter in making this post 💔) #FFFoodForThought #theFFF

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Avocado Bagel vs Avocado Bagel 🥑⠀ ⠀ The one on the right is the kind you’d probably find at a trendy brunch spot. The one on the left is 300 calories less.⠀ ⠀ Both are very similar in volume and taste, but with a few little tweaks, the nutritional values are very different (see end of caption) 💪⠀ ⠀ Savoury breakfasts (like Instagram’s beloved avo-on-toast) typically use high fat ingredients. Which is of course fine, however such ingredients are generally higher in calories. ('Healthy' doesn't always mean low calorie.) Things like avocado, feta, coconut oil, nuts and seeds are all considered pretty 'healthy' so it’s tempting to just pack them all in. ⠀ So if/when you’re trying to get a little leaner, being more mindful of what you order when out for brunch and portion control at home will help you on your way! 🙆⠀ ⠀ Remember, you don’t have to cut anything out your diet that you enjoy. Just knowing quantities and simple swaps will make all the difference, like I did here:⠀ ⠀ Left bagel:⠀ – Half an avocado⠀ – Plain bagel⠀ – 30g Cottage Cheese⠀ – 5g Toasted oats⠀ – 0.5 tbsp Lemon juice⠀ ⠀ Right bagel:⠀ – One whole avocado⠀ – Plain bagel⠀ – 30g Feta Cheese⠀ – 10g Toasted sesame seeds⠀ – 0.5 tbsp Coconut Oil⠀ ⠀ 💕🥑 #IDontEvenReallyLikeAvocado #YesISaidIt (s/o to @opedley for da inspo 💁) – #FFFoodForThought #theFFF

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50g Granola vs 100g Granola 🍽 – Both could be considered a bowlful however the bowl on the right has twice as much in it than the left. Granola is often considered a healthy way to start the day however it’s very easy to over eat (and get stuck in that ‘milk-cereal-more milk-more cereal’ cycle. Yep I could literally go to town on a box of granola.) 😅 – Granola is often full of nuts and seeds 🥜 (which isn’t a bad thing!), the fat content can be pretty high which means so can the calories. So if weight management is your goal, it's always a good idea to use method of measuring your portions when eating it, like a scoop or scales 💪 – Don’t be fooled by ‘healthy’ branding and make sure you check the labels still. This exact pack had ‘LOW SUGAR’ printed on the front of it – and although it did indeed have less sugar, it still has the same amount of calories per 100g as many other versions with more sugar. I hope this helped some of you! 💕 This post isn't about bashing foods – but about education so you can enjoy them whilst still achieving your goals 🙌 – P.s. I spent £4 on the fucking bag of granola so I could do this post for you guys. DEDICATION. – P.p.s. New WHAT I EAT IN A DAY 1700kcals Video coming your way tomorrow eve 🙌💕 #FFFoodForThought #theFFF

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[Source: Business Insider]

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