Diet as Easy as 1, 2, 3? Why Counting Calories Will Help You Lose Weight
It’s the age old question – what is the secret to weight loss?. But despite all the diets out there, at the end of the day – unless science can prove otherwise – maintaining or losing or gaining weight is quite simply about how many calories in verses how many calories out.
However, not all calories are created equal, so even though in a 24hr period you might not have exceeded what you should be taking in, you still want the vast majority of the calories you’ve consumed for the day to be coming in from nutritionally sound sources.
And counting calories is now easier than ever, with many restaurants and cafe’s actually posting the calorie count of each dish, with new technology available on your smart device that can crunch the numbers.
According to a 2014 marketing study, 31% of internet users in North America tracked their health with apps and fitness trackers, with 42% tracking their diet and calorie intake.
With the help of one specific app called Loseit.com, many in the US are reaping success tracking their calories by doing the following:
Wake up in the morning and jot down what you plan to eat
As you go through the day ticking off what you ate – transfer what you wrote onto the Loseit app
Here the app will help you make wiser choices about food such as taking out more of the processed stuff and when to add more fruit and veg, not doing as much take out and doing more home based food.
Working diligently on your daily calorie counting, long term users have seen the weight steadily drop off while gaining a new outlook on life.
Counting Calories 101
It works – take in fewer calories than you burn
Journalling increases accountability
All foods can fit in
Many restaurants provide calorie info
Calorie counting works, if you take in fewer calories than you’re burning you’re going to lose weight.
When you journal your food it makes you more accountable, so it’s empowering – you’re going to stick with the plan.
Calorie info is now available pretty much anywhere and all foods can fit in which you’ll love.
Takes a lot of effort
Can become obsessive counting numbers
Frustrating when you can’t find calorie info
Daily calories can be used on junky food
The downsides to counting calories or more precisely – the challenges are that because you’re crunching numbers you have to be focused and committed, so if you have an obsessive personality this is most likely not for you.
It can also be a little frustrating finding the definitive calorie measurement on certain foods and by stating all foods fit in, well this can be misleading:
500 calories of a blackcurrant cheesecake can be very different to your insides to 500 calories of a lean grilled chicken salad
There is no perfect calorie figure, anything goes because it’s your range of calories, your allotment and each of us have a sweet tooth, it’s just how you fit that into your daily calorie intake, but in the perfect world, for women the sweet spot is 1200 to 1600 calories a day and for men because they have faster metabolisms, 1600 to 2000.
Breaking the approximate calorie intake down for women and men:
Breakfast for women – 300 calories
Example: 1 whole egg scrambled, 2 egg whites, slice of toast and half a grapefruit
Breakfast for men- 400 calories
As above with a few more egg whites and the full grapefruit
Lunch for women – 400 calories
Example: 1 turkey sandwich on wholegrain bread with baby carrots
Lunch for men – 500 calories
Example: As above with more turkey and an apple
Afternoon snack for women – 200 calories
Example: Handful of nuts with a banana
Afternoon snack for men – 200 calories
Example: As above or maybe a little more, 1 or 2 snacks
Dinner for women – 500 calories
Example: Stirfried shrimp, berries with whipped cream plus a glass of wine
Dinner for men – 600 calories
Example: As above with a little extra
Can you still eat junk food or added snacks?
If you stay within your budget, you can trade this with anything that you’re craving, as long as you stick with your calories you’re going to lose weight, but if you want to keep your energy up and have staying power, you’re going to want to focus on high quality foods.
This is why counting calories will help you lose weight and there are a lot of great apps out there to help you out: as mentioned there is loseit.com, plus myfitnesspal.com, sparkpeople.com, caloriecount.com and fooducate.com that you can use to scan barcodes on food in grocery stores and it gives you all the nutritional info.
How’s your diet going and what diet are you following? Let us know below!