10 Circumstances When Calories Absolutely Do Not Count

by Katie Hoffman
Two women holding cupcakes while smiling

“Calories” is probably the second worst c-word you could ever say to a woman (though cellulite, chicken pox, and cramps are strong contenders, too). Whether you’re following a strict diet or not, these menacing food points follow us around, tempting us with their honesty on the nutrition labels that tell us everything we never wanted to know about our favorite cookies. Of course it’s essential to have an understanding of calorie information to maintain a balanced diet, but there are some instances in life when calories simply do not count, they shouldn’t even exist. The next time you find yourself stressing about calories during any of the following circumstances, give yourself a break.

1. It’s the first or second day of your period.

No woman should ever be accountable for anything that happens during the most challenging days of her cycle, so it goes without saying you should also be exempt from calories. Days 1 and 2 of your period are about survival, first and foremost, so foregoing your usual avocado arithmetic for a couple days isn’t the end of the world. Be free! Gather your calories like the Old Woman Who Lived in the Keebler Elf Tree!

2. You’re on a mission to consume alcohol.

A lot of bars and restaurants offer skinny cocktails, but calories are the last thing you should be thinking about during Happy Hour. It’s not every day you have the opportunity to order the Mega Mango Margarita, so live it a little! If it makes you feel better, convince yourself liquid calories aren’t real calories (note: this is usually easier to believe after one or two of the aforementioned margaritas).

3. You’ve got the day all to yourself.

Wait, you weren’t really thinking about calories on this glorious day of freedom, were you? When you’re not stuck at your desk working through another precious lunch or sneaking food whenever you can while chasing a toddler around, you deserve to treat yourself. Take yourself out to lunch and ignore the “Under 500” calorie section on the menu. Hit up that new ice cream shop that you’ve wanted to try. Get the iced coffee with the whipped cream.

4. Someone cooked dinner for you.

If someone makes you a home-cooked meal, the last thing that should be on your mind is calories. Chances are the meal is full of butter, gluten, dairy and fat, and for as much as that might sabotage your diet, we both know it’s going to be delicious. So dig in! The calories in a homemade meal don’t apply to you if you didn’t actually cook it.

5. It’s been a really, really, really rough day.

This isn’t just any bad day we’re talking about here. I’m talking about a day so bad that you got so frustrated at work or at home that you actually burned calories rolling your eyes and aggressively blowing your hair out of your face. Calories will still be there to worry you tomorrow, but on a seriously bad day, don’t make life any harder than it already is.

6. You couldn’t find the nutritional information online.

Nothing ruins an evening at a nice restaurant quite like stressing over calories. In a perfect world, every dining establishment would have their nutritional information available for your review somewhere, but sometimes you’re better off now knowing how many milligrams of sodium or grams of fat are in the dish you really want to try. If you looked for the nutritional information, you’ve done your due diligence—all that’s left is savoring some short-lived caloric ignorance.

7. You’re on vacation.

Believe it or not, calories consumed outside your zip code are non-transferrable. That means whether you’re flying out of the country or just going on a long weekend at a cabin close to home, calories should be the last thing on your mind.

8. The food is free.

What do free samples at the grocery store and doughnuts at the office have in common? They both contain calories that do not figure into your daily food intake. It might be hard to believe that pizza bites and a glazed doughnut could have no adverse effect on your diet, but according to Bylaw 34 of subsection 11.4.2, “No complimentary food shall ever make a woman feel guilty or add to her daily calorie limit.”

9. You exercised!

If you exercised, calories do not exist. Maybe you meant to exercise, and you got your gym shoes on and stretched but ultimately ended up taking your shoes back off and taking a nap. Even then, calories should not cramp your style.

10. Something’s going to get stale/go bad if you don’t eat it.

If you’re finishing off a package of cookies just on the cusp of getting hard, do not trouble yourself with the calories per serving. You’re conserving food and sparing your teeth the hardship of biting through stale food! You’re a hero! Heroes don’t need to trouble themselves with petty earthly concerns like calories.

It goes without saying that ignoring calories, like everything else food-related, should be done in moderation, and no one should use special occasions to justify routine bad eating habits, but it’s okay to let yourself believe calories don’t exist every once in a while, especially if any of the circumstances above apply.