12 Weeks to Fitness: Is counting calories healthy?


Welcome to 12 Weeks of Fitness, a weekly blog series by Kris Mitchell, a sophomore at the University of St. Thomas and alumnus of ThreeSixty Journalism. Kris is involved in a 12-week program at St. Thomas to lose weight and improve his health. A team of videography students will document his progress for a class project. Check back weekly to read about Kris’s experience.

I get annoyed when people sit in line at a fast food place and count calories. I can hear “436 plus 750 plus… maybe I’ll just get water for the drink.” First, you are at McDonald’s so you’re not eating healthy anyway. Why count each calorie? Second, you have to exercise even if you meet your calorie limit. I don’t understand why people think that just counting calories and not exercising will help them lose weight. Do these same people think that two trips to McDonald’s are healthy as long as they stay under their calorie limit?

I have never tried calorie counting. I tend to think that my reasons for not counting is logical and it makes sense to me. I also think that calorie counting distracts you from the big picture of making healthier choices.

My way to view a diet is to just make healthier choices. Take an apple instead of a bag of chips. Grab a granola bar instead of a chocolate bar. Make a sandwich or stop by Subway instead of grabbing a dollar menu cheeseburger. I think just making healthier choices helps you gain more energy, feel better about yourself and provides you with more nutrients than the other alternatives. I have been doing this for my diet and it has gone well.

I have lost a pound and have found out that next week is the last week for the program with the University of St Thomas. I am getting myself ready for the post tests which includes testing weight, BMI (Body Mass Index), body fat percentage and a test in which you sit on the ground and reach as far as you can ahead of you without bending your knees. The documentary students will administer the tests next week. My back feels great and I am still exercising daily when possible. I am starting to play basketball again but my back is still a little tender.

- Kris Mitchell, University of St. Thomas sophomore and ThreeSixty Journalism alumnus

Kris's blog