You may have heard of weight loss programs that require dieters to count calories. These programs are popular because they work. In simple terms, weight loss amounts to burning more calories than you consume. By counting calories, you can ensure that you consume less than your daily requirement.
Determining Calorie Content
When you first begin counting calories, you might not know where to look. How many calories does an apple have? How about macaroni and cheese? For packaged and prepared foods, the calorie count is listed in the nutrition information on the box. For other foods like fresh fruits and produce it can be harder to find the information. Search the internet or use a handy app on your phone to quickly access calorie information for a variety of foods to help keep track of daily intake.
When determining the calorie content, pay special attention to the serving size. You might be surprised to know that foods like peanut butter or half and half have a serving size of just 2 Tbsp. If you’re indulging in more than that, you’re eating more calories than you may think.
Keeping Track of What You Eat And Drink
Once you know where to find calorie information and you’ve had a little practice with serving sizes, the next step is to keep track of your eating habits. You can use an app to track and add up your meals for you or you can keep an old fashioned food journal in a notebook and manually tally your results.
Record What You Eat
The important thing is to record everything you eat and drink. Your morning coffee and the 5 strawberries you snuck while cooking dinner all count towards your daily totals, so it’s important to factor those into your daily totals.
How Many Calories Should You Eat
The trick to using calorie counting for weight loss is to keep track of what you eat so that the calories consumed are less than the calories burned. You can determine how many calories you should eat by using an online calculator. Enter your gender, age and activity level to instantly get a read out of how many calories you should consume in a day.
Maximum Daily Calories
Typically, it’s okay to eat a little less than the maximum daily calorie allowance, but if you go too far below that number your body can actually go into starvation mode and slow down your metabolism. This will staunch weight loss regardless of how often you work out, so avoid this occurrence by all means. Rather than just eating less, try increasing your activity to burn more calories.
Counting calories is an easy way to determine how much to eat in order to lose weight. In addition to providing real information that can be utilized in a meaningful way, it also gets you thinking about what you’re eating and how much you’re eating. This awareness will also help with weight loss, giving you a better chance of achieving the body you’ve always wanted.