Top 5 Reasons Calorie Counting is NOT Essential for Wellness and Weight Loss

By far the most frequent question we get is “How many calories are in your meals?” We very consciously don’t include the nutritional information. Why? The simple answer is that calorie content is not a good indicator of how healthy something is. True health, and even weight loss, goes far beyond calories in vs. calories out. Here are the five main reasons why we believe counting calories is not essential on your wellness journey:

#1 - Quality over quantity.

Eating quality meals means starting with whole, unprocessed ingredients. When you nourish your body with a full range of clean, nutrient-dense food, your body will tell you when it's full, and you can trust your cravings to tell you what your body needs at that moment. When you're eating foods with gluten or refined sugars (affecting your blood sugar levels), dairy, or refined processed foods, your body's inherent intelligence about what to eat is short-circuited and may send you signals to eat more because it craves nutrition.

#2 - Not all calories are created equal.

For example, fat contains the most calories per gram. But healthy fats, like those from nuts, seeds, avocados, coconuts, extra virgin olive oil, and even grass-fed meats, are absolutely essential for numerous processes in the body. They help keep you satiated, prevent cravings, give food flavor, and help prevent spikes in blood sugar that lead to an afternoon slump, or worse, insulin resistance. They’re also essential for functioning healthy hormones that keep you happy and at a healthy weight. Hydrogenated oils like those found in super-processed foods contain exactly the same amount of calories per gram, but those calories will wreak havoc on the body by increasing inflammation and bad cholesterol.

#3 - We don’t burn calories equally.

Calories are a measurement of energy. But how we use this energy will vary based on our age, sex, genetic makeup, activity level, stress level and even the weather. Our bodies are unique and complex systems, not a controlled lab environment.

#4 - Rest and digest mode.

How your body digests food is always going to be more important than calories or recommended daily allowances of specific isolated vitamins. Stress can affect every part of the digestive system, so take a few deep breaths before eating and focus on your meal to shift your body from “fight or flight” to “rest and digest” mode. Work on healing your gut through whole foods and you’ll be better able to absorb all of those nutrients.

#5 (and most important of all) - Listen to your body!

True health doesn’t come from analyzing the numbers on the back of a label. True health comes from listening to your body, and giving it what it needs. Food is medicine. Every bite is either fighting disease or fueling it. In addition, our meals don't contain any gluten, dairy or refined sugar, so they are free of the common ingredients that can promote inflammation and weight gain in many individuals.

If we’re not counting calories, what do we focus on? Instead of caloric values, we focus on nutrient-dense, energy-promoting, good-for-your body whole foods. When you have specific health goals, whether you are recovering from illness or slimming down for the summer, it's NOT about starving your body or dieting with calorie restrictions. As an alternative, we recommend adjusting your mindset to consciously make mindful food decisions based on what you're feeling your body needs each day. Approaching your personal health from this more holistic viewpoint can radically alter your relationship with food in a more positive way than counting calories ever will. If you need support, our on-staff wellness coaches can help you on your wellness journey, every step of the way.


Sarah Hebbel-Stone - Operations Manager, Certified Culinary Nutrition Expert, and Health Coach at Provenance Meals

With her focus on holistic health and a passion for cooking, Sarah is our resident health counselor on staff and assists our chefs and nutritionists in developing our weekly menu. In addition to being a yoga instructor and wellness coach extraordinaire, she also manages our customer service and concierge team for clients with special requests and custom needs on their wellness journey.