I have been saying this for decades! That would explain why I have gained weight with almost every marathon that I have ran in the process of running sometimes over 60 miles in one week. That would also explain why I gained weight while nursing twins, which is equivalent to 1000 extra calories a day (or running an extra 10 miles each day!) Calories add up. Portion sizes are crucial. Planning and paying attention to what is in the food that we consume is key. If I mentally think that I can eat what I want, I literally do! And what I want isn't always moderation :)
So many people start out with their New Years goals wanting weight loss and focusing only on the exercise. While exercise is a vital part of the equation, long lasting weight loss will more likely come from dietary habits of planning and paying attention to what is in the food. Exercise is still vital and will help maintain weight loss as well as increase the quality of life and prolong life expectancy. When people start out a new exercise program, however, they often change their eating habits unknowingly to match their caloric expenditure which causes frustration.
So does a person need to count calories for life to maintain weight? No, but they do need to establish habits of understanding what it in food. Counting calories for a couple of weeks or when you meal plan is helpful. Some experts suggestion watching portion sizes, it is easier. Personally I found that I need a little bit more than watching portion sizes to really hit goals with clients and with my family. But I wholeheartedly agree that "portion size literacy" is crucial and healthy and if works for a person than keep doing it!!!
Counting calories isn't an impossible task anymore like it used to be. With websites like mypyramid.gov and livestrong.com (the dailyplate) it makes it so much easier. I do love my meal planning process because I take only an hour a week where I plan and count calories and then I don't worry about it for the rest of the week. My meals are planned, I know they are around 250 calories each meal except for dinner.