New Experiment: Not Counting Calories


About two years ago I started weighing and tracking my food. Since that time I have been consistently tracking 95% of all the food I’ve eaten.

It began as an experiment to disprove the common belief that as you get older your metabolism slows down and you have no choice but to gain weight. And after a few years of experimenting I have found is that this belief is not true at all.

It’s been an incredibly enlightening experience that I think everyone on Earth should try at least once. I believe that if everyone understood how food, calories and macros work at an early age – we could cure American’s obesity problem. But for some reason, it’s not really talked about much.

Overall the experiment has been helpful, but the daily food and weight tracking has become a bit of a chore – so I think it’s time for a break.

For the next week or two (and possibly longer) I won’t be logging into MyFitnessPal or tracking calories and macros anymore. I’ll also no longer weigh myself every day.

Instead I’ll be using what I’ve learned in the past few years and will do my best to keep things on track without worrying about the exact details.

I’ll take a more minimal approach to weight and measurement tracking, checking my waist measurement every 3-4 days and not worrying about my weight at all. I know that if I gain 5 lbs on the scale – but my waist measurement stays the same, most of the weight I’m gaining is muscle, which is the goal. Thanks to Brad Pilon for talking about it in this video.

I will set some limitations, because I know that when my waist is around 31.5 inches I look like a fitness model, but at 34 inches I have love handles. Thanks to Kinobody for documenting this in “The Adonis Belt” 

When eating, I’ll stick to my normal routine of skipping breakfast and eating most of my carbs after my Monday/Wednesday/Friday workouts.

  • Workout days I eat more calories with carbs.
  • Rest days I eat less calories without carbs.

I’m really curious to see what happens. If the difference in weight gain / waist size is minimal I’ll feel much more comfortable not weighing things for an extended period of time – and only using the scale when I want to drop a few pounds.

It’s not like I’m trying to be a competitive body builder or anything so I think a low stress approach is fine.

There is also an argument that could be made that lowering my stress levels by not counting calories will help my body operate more efficiently and keep me leaner as well. I’m not sure of the science on that, but I’ve read several times that stress can be a factor in weight gain.

We’ll see what happens… and I’ll let you know how it goes.

  • Remy

    That is a discipline Malan. 300 days! Good job.

    My streak on MyFitnessPal lasted for about a month or so. I’ve been “freestyling” it for about a year since then. I’ve managed to still knock off 27 lbs. and keep it off.

    Starting weight 216
    Todays weight 189

    I do IF so my eating window is from 12pm-8pm. I usually eat twice. My meals are repetitive and boring since its easier to make and track. The MyFitnessPall app still comes in handy if I eat out. That keeps me from going overboard. One example was a time I went out and ate a 3 piece fried chicken, fries, 2 rolls, and a sweet tea and it came out to 2,000 Calories. My daily intake is 1700 Calories.

    That went down as a cheat day.

    Good luck! And thanks for the continued inspiration.

    • Malan Darras

      yeah man – it’s eye-opening. They should teach this stuff in schools. Congrats on the 27 lbs, that’s awesome.