I’m not against calorie counting: it’s important to learn and be mindful of what you’re eating, especially for beginners and those looking to lose a lot of weight. However, being obsessive about calorie counting (feeling like it controls you, or needing to know exact numbers/feeling badly if you’re off) is something to look out for.
It’s not something I’m very interested in: I eat clean, have a good idea if how much I need in a day, eat when I’m hungry, have treats when I want etc. I don’t count calories, and gauge how I’m doing based on how I feel, how my clothes fit, and whether my performance is still improving (a decline or low energy may mean I need more). I also don’t freak when I go up a smidge and don’t own a scale. I’m not in weight loss mode. I’m happy with my choices.
There are benefits to calorie awareness, and I think it’s important to know your basics and research what YOU need (we’re all different, even day to day). It’s something that eventually becomes second nature to most people but not all. Those who struggle with their weight may need to pay a little more attention than others, but over-diligence/adherence can very easily start to affect quality of life, mood and food enjoyment. Like all things, there needs to be balance.
There is no bad or good when it comes to weight management techniques: there’s only what works for you and what doesn’t. But since weight is NOT the end all be all, there are other factors to consider when it comes to what ‘works. Starvation may seemingly ‘work’ for weight loss for a short time, but at the expense of health, mood and quality of life. So as a technique on the whole, it doesn’t really ‘work’ (in fact it will eventually backfire, either as weight gain or illness). Similarly, calorie counting may work for some, if they can do so in a way that’s not overly diligent, obsessive and responds to their bodies actual needs (and not just the weight loss ‘needs’ of their egos).
Personally, I recommend paying attention to calories for a week or two if you’re in weightloss mode (or even weight gain). But try to learn more about the quality of the foods you eat, how to read your energy levels and which foods are good for your overall health. See if you can go a week without counting: if you feel anxious about doing so, that’s a sign you may be overly dependent/obsessive. For me, diligent calorie counting is a tool you can use to help you get back on track, and a basis from which you can make adjustments. But it’s not a way to live. And if it’s something that doesn’t ‘work’ for your lifestyle and goals, there are other ways to approach weight loss. The body is a machine that’s giving you feedback constantly: learning to listen to that feedback and responding to it is a valuable tool. It’s about more than just calories.
Hope this helps!