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Why you should stop counting calories and start stretching instead

There’s a long standing myth that in order to lose weight, you need to count your calories. But, the idea of “calories in, calories out” has been long since disproven and can only lead to unhelpful dietary patterns, disordered eating, and overall unnecessary stress. Focusing on calories alone will no contribute to the truly important things — like enjoying moments with friends and family or leading an overall healthy lifestyle.


While exercise should be part of healthy lifestyle, it shouldn’t be done as a means of justifying that second bowl of ice cream or a long night out. Focus instead on the benefits of exercise that are truly matter like:

  • increased endorphins; those hormones which make ya feel giddy

  • increased metabolic function

  • supporting heart, lung, and bone health

  • stress reduction

While you may see your favorite influencer striking a pose in the gym, those facilities come at a cost; both financially and mentally (if you‘re one of the many people who are uncomfortable exercising in front of strangers).


Elevating your heart rate on a regular basis with exercise is beneficial for long term cardiovascular health, but you don’t need to run a 5K to see results; walking, riding a bike, and even dancing in your living room are great low-impact options.


Weight-bearing exercise helps you maintain strong bones; but you don’t need to be Arnold Schwarzenegger to get these benefits. High-impact or low-impact exercises are both valuable together and on their own. Some examples include:

  • Weight training/resistance training

  • Jumping rope

  • Jogging or walking

  • Aerobics

  • Even yard work — like pushing a lawn mower

Lastly, regular flexibility work — like yoga or stretching — has numerous advantages! People who stretch on a regular basis experience improved posture, improved range of motion, reduced back pain and muscle soreness, and often are at a decreased risk of injury.


According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, yoga:

  • improves strength, balance and flexibility

  • helps with back pain relief

  • can ease arthritis symptoms

  • benefits heart health

  • relaxes you, to help you sleep better

  • can mean more energy and brighter moods

  • helps you manage stress

  • connects you with a supportive community.

In summary,

Stop focusing on trivial numbers — enjoy nutrient-dense whole foods and resist the urge to count every calorie. Start taking note on how the food you eat makes you feel; pay attention to hunger cues and avoid boredom or stress eating.


Start focusing on stress-management through regular movement; whether that be cardio, resistance, or flexibility training — or preferably, a combination of all three.


Once you stop focusing on the number on the scale and start focusing on how you feel, everything starts falling into place.



By Alexa Nicole Pollock

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