This is an excellent question and there is only one answer here. Before answering this question, let’s look at what each term means.Calorie counting is a process where you count all the calories that you consume from the food you eat in a given day.
The cardinal rule for fat loss is that the body needs to be at a caloric deficit for fat loss to occur. Your body will only burn its fat stores if it doesn’t get enough calories from food. Ideally, you should aim for about a 500 calorie deficit daily.
Intuitive eating is a process where you rely on feedback and signals that your body gives you to know when and how much to eat. This is an excellent way to eat but it is tough to master intuitive eating.
You will need to eat clean and avoid junk food and processed foods. Have you ever noticed that the fast food that you order usually smells the same? The fries, burgers, side dishes , etc. all have the same aroma. This has a purpose. It is meant to confuse your body into not realizing exactly how much it is eating.
You should be aware that sugar is a highly addictive substance. You’d be shocked at how sugar creeps into so many foods that you’d never realize had sugar. High fructose corn syrup is one of the leading causes of obesity and it’s found in most processed foods from sodas to sauces.
It is immensely difficult to eat intuitively with so many chemically engineered and addictive substances messing up your body’s natural senses. In order to eat intuitively, you must wipe out all the harmful foods from your diet and stick to whole natural foods.
Over time, you’ll notice that your body only feels hungry at certain times and all you need to do is eat healthy, nutritious foods and your hunger will be satiated. You will not have sudden, irrational food cravings. This is a very healthy way to live. If you master intuitive eating, you will be able to maintain a healthy weight well into old age without worry.
The question now is… Which is better?
The answer: Calorie counting
When you are first trying to lose weight, you would probably have been living a sedentary lifestyle for quite some time and your current diet leaves much to be desired. You can’t go from a bad diet to intuitive eating overnight. Even with your training regimen, you can’t go from zero to hero in a few days. It takes time… but you want to lose weight NOW!
The best way to do this is with calorie counting. This method allows you to track your numbers. You will know for a fact that you are consuming calories at a deficit and your body has no choice but to burn its fat stores for calories. Nothing is left to chance and your body’s signals may not be reliable enough at this time for intuitive eating.
As you progress with your fat loss journey, aim to clean up your diet slowly. Replace unhealthy food choices with healthier options. Give up the white flour and white sugar foods. Drink more water and slowly put an end to the sodas. Consume more fruit and vegetables. Do all these while you’re on a caloric deficit diet.
What you will be doing is inculcating the habit of healthy eating while losing weight at the same time. Once you have reached your desired weight, your diet choices will be much better and you will have the confidence of knowing that you are in control of your weight.
Now, you can slowly make the change to intuitive eating which is a better way to eat in the long run. Calorie counting will take you to your goal but intuitive eating will keep you there. Each technique has its place and time. When you learn how to rely on your body’s signals, you will know exactly when to eat, how much to eat and what foods to eat.
Your body will crave for healthy foods. Your sense of taste will get better and foods that you previously thought were bland will become tasty, while junk food that you craved for before will put you off. Many people who started eating clean reported that just after 3 months, the smell of junk food made them feel queasy and sick.
Your body innately knows what is right for it. Listen to it and you will be on the right track. We have evolved to a point where our body knows what it needs. Use calorie counting to shed the fats, then clean up your diet and start eating intuitively. You don’t have to eat less, you just have to eat right.