Learning the calorie counts of your favorite foods and tracking them is a highly effective fat loss tool.

However, for sustainable, life-long success you need to learn to differentiate between what’s true hunger and what’s merely cravings, boredom, habit, etc.

Catch is, you can’t master the latter unless you temporarily step away from the former.

But most people are unsuccessful at making the transition the first few times they try. Especially if their lives lack structure or they’re under a lot of stress.

To make it easier, here are some tips:

1.) See more “intuitive eating” as a challenge, something you try for a few months when you’re “settled” and in the right frame of mind.

Do not try it when you’re swamped or stressed.

2.) Don’t jump in too deep.

Rather than just switching to “winging” your diet, start by “eye balling” one meal a day and go from there.

3.) Evaluate!

You should still keep some kind of account of what you eat every day (a running log on Notes for example) and evaluate how well you did (and your body composition) every few weeks.

4.) Think.

The whole point of the transition is to learn to “hear” what your body is trying to tell you. Exercises like asking yourself “am I really hungry or just bored?” in response to cravings may sound childish but is very enlightening.

5.) Relax.

Look, if you’re a hardcore tracker you WILL have a few fumbles making the transition. You might even crash and burn more than once. And that’s okay. Because you can always go back to tracking macros — that skill isn’t going anywhere — and recapture any progress you might have lost.

The point is to never stop growing, and learning to truly listen to your body is one of the most rewarding lessons of all.