It's best if you don't count calories. However, if you need to gain or lose a lot of weight, then it's a good idea to count so you have an idea of how much food you need to reach your goals, although it's not something you should permenantly fit into your lifestyle(until you're much older and your metabolism changes)
Being the competitive control-freak that I am, when I first started counting calories, it became very obsessive and I began cutting more and more calories, memorizing the calories in every food, and would feel scared when faced with a food I didn't know the caloric content of. This is what led to my eating disorder a year ago. Not all teens who count calories end up with eating disorders like how I did, but if you're already at a healthy weight, it's very likely to happen. Even after getting out of my ED, I tried counting calories again for a few weeks recently, and almost relapsed, because I kept on stressing out about calculating all the numbers right and feeling all paranoid about eating too much/not enough. Calorie counting has brought nothing but stress to my life.
All you have to do is eat mainly nutritious, unprocessed foods, have a healthy ratio of fat, carbs, and protein, stick with reasonable portion sizes(but keep in mind that teens need slightly bigger portions than most people), and exercise for at least 20 minutes every day. That's all it takes!
I find it helpful. I would certainly go over my calorie limit if i didn't count. I will seriously eat till i'm sick if i don't count :p I like counting. It eases my anxiety over food too. Yeah, it would be nice if i knew how to be reasonable without counting but i don't so whatever works! For someone recovering from ED ( you are??? right?) i would lay off counting calories because it will probably do more harm then good and causes unnecessary stress. Good luck!!
worst decision i'd ever made.
I calorie counted, and because I didn't know that adolescents needed much more than adults, even to lose weight, I developed an ED while starving myself at 1200 calories.
I know some people need to count calories to ensure they get proper nutrition, or that they don't over eat, due to physical problems, but for those, things like the exchange system can be used instead, and in my experience, have been much less potentially destructive.
I really REALLY should have just tried to eat healthier. It's not necessary, and I don't think it is for adults personally. There are ways around it usually. Sometimes, no, but sometimes, there are.
I don't think anybody should. I wish that intuitive eating was taught everywhere instead of calorie counting, it is so much more sustainable.