I am what you could call a "casual" calorie counter, thanks to my smart phone.
What that means is this: periodically I am motivated to count calories. The motivation usually lasts for at least a couple days before I either 1.) lose interest or 2.) eat more calories than I should and become unmotivated.
If my phone was any dumber, I would never count calories.
But the apps these days.
Currently I have My Fitness Pal loaded on my phone. It allows me to scan the bar codes of food I am eating for a quick count. I can also add recipes or there is a large bank of foods already entered so while the food I log may not be exact and the calories not completely accurate, it gives me the general idea.
It also helps me calculate how many calories I should eat each day if I wanted to say, lose a half pound a week and never exercise.
So while my calorie counting days are few and far between, they are still beneficial because awareness is a good thing. I have found that even if I only count calories for one day, the awareness continues for much longer and I always learn something. This time I learned:
1. Moving from a Grande to a Tall and changing the milk from 2% to skim can take off close to 100 calories on my favorite Starbucks drink.
2. A little cardio exercise every day adds enough calories for an extra snack (I didn't really learn this, but it is always fun to see the number of calories I get each day jump up after a little exercise!)
3. Adding creamer to my coffee in the morning adds A LOT more calories, like over 10 times as many as are in the coffee black.
So there you have it, lessons from a casual calorie counter. It may not work for everyone, but it works for me.