The Art of Calorie Counting

Woman counting calories
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The only viable means of weight loss is to create a daily calorie deficit, which requires calorie counting if you want to be successful. You could argue this point, but you will only find yourself bunched into the 95% of dieters who fail at losing weight. Weight loss requires a change of lifestyle, and calorie counting should be a component to this new lifestyle. Sadly, most dieters refuse to even consider counting calories, unless they are among those who simply do not know how.

Weight loss requires accountability!

Read that subheading again!

In order to lose weight we have to be accountable to ourselves, and calorie counting is the best means of being accountable. Again, you might want to argue this, but how else are you going to know if you are in a caloric deficit if you do not count and track your calories each day?

The simple answer is, you can’t!

No matter the diet you choose out of the plethora of diets and gimmicks out there which promote weight loss, the bottom line with any of them is that you create a caloric deficit. Limiting calories is the common link in each and everyone of them, including Keto.

Starving yourself makes you fatter!

People will often attempt weight loss by starving themselves, by cutting too many calories from their diet. This backfires on all who have attempted the starvation method. You should never create too large of a calorie deficit, therefore you are best off when you adopt the habit of calorie counting. If you believe that by skipping over calorie counting by starving yourself -and your body will start using your fat for energy – you are wrong. When you do this, you are setting yourself up for more fat gain. You have to have a target caloric intake for each day to match your basal metabolic rate for healthy weight loss. Here is what happens when you cut calories too far:

  • Within a couple of days, you lose carbohydrate stores in the muscle and liver, which means most of that sudden drop in weight is nothing more than water. This weight loss for the most part is not body fat, which is what you really want.
  • Because you need glucose to metabolize fat, fat metabolism actually slows down. Ketones which slow metabolic rate and reduce appetite are then formed.
  • At this point, your body begins searching for energy and glucose, and it then begins using your muscle tissue to satisfy its craving.

When your body is using muscle tissue for energy, your metabolism takes a hit, and although you will lose weight, your body fat percentage may actually remain the same. Then, when you eventually resume your old way of eating as almost all dieters will, you will put fat back on quicker and your body fat percentage will be higher than it was before.

When losing weight, you still need to fuel your lean muscle tissue in order to keep your metabolism rate from dropping even further. Your best option is to make wise adjustments in caloric reduction and never stop eating.

Calorie counting is not difficult!

It should not be too difficult to understand that in order to lose weight, you have to use more calories than you take in. This is true for everyone with the exception being those who have a diagnosed medical reason to make weight management difficult. For most of us, when we sit down to a meal and eat more calories than we need, those excess calories are stored as fat. Therefore we have to be accountable for the calories you consume.

Many people think that calorie counting either does not work, or that it is too tedious.

If you believe that calorie counting does not work, you are wrong. If your body requires 1800 calories per day in order to lose 1 to 2 pounds of fat per week, then you must ensure that you do not exceed those 1800 calories. How are you going to ensure this if you are not counting calories? You can’t.

If you’re wondering why calories matter, it’s important to understand how your body uses them.

It begins with what you eat. Food and beverages are where your body gets the calories it needs to function. Those calories come from one of the three macronutrients:

  • carbohydrates, also referred to as carbs
  • protein
  • fat

During digestion, your body breaks down the foods you eat into smaller units.

These subunits can either be used to build your own tissues or to provide your body with the energy it needs to meet its immediate needs.

The amount of energy your body gets from the subunits depends on where they come from:

  • carbs: 4 calories per gram
  • protein: 4 calories per gram
  • fat: 9 calories per gram
  • alcohol: 7 calories per gram

Your body gets calories from the foods you eat and uses them to fuel basal metabolic rate, digestion, and physical activity. When you eat less than you require, you lose body fat. If you eat too many, you gain body fat. It is that simple for everyone, it’s not rocket science. Many people significantly underestimate how much they eat and can easily consume as much as 2,000 calories per day over their actual needs.

If you think that calorie counting is too tedious, you are not serious about losing weight!

Yes, i said that! How tedious could it possibly be to track your caloric intake compared to how difficult life becomes when you are too over weight?

Just how much time do you think it takes to count and track your calories?

Today, with apps loaded onto your smart phone or computer, you can add in the foods you have consumed and all of the counting is done for you. Most apps will track the foods you eat, and then it is only a matter of checking them off, and modifying the measurement if needed. My Fitness Pal is free to all, and is quite simple to use for counting calories. Seriously, it only takes me about a minute or two to count my calories this way. Assuming it takes 5 minutes to track a meal or snack, and if you eat 6 times per day, that would only take 30 minutes from your hectic schedule. And that amount of time is being quite generous, as it really only takes nothing more than a minute or two to enter your foods in My Fitness Pal.

You can’t tell me you do not have 30 minutes per day to manage your food intake.

There are three reasons why counting calories works:

  1. Tracking your calories will help you to identify which eating patterns you need to be mindful of in order to successfully lose weight, and then keep it off.
  2. You may not always be precise -but despite this – being aware through tracking the calories of what you eat can give you an approximate baseline to work from, and to compare with, when you’re trying to reduce the total number of calories you eat per day.
  3. Lastly, tracking what you eat can help you monitor your behavior. This may help keep you accountable for the daily choices you make and motivate you to continue progressing toward your goals.

Give calorie counting a try!

If you are interested in giving calorie counting a try, you have to keep in mind that not all calories are the same when it comes to impact on health, as well as other factors that affect weight loss such as appetite and hormones.

Therefore, you need to ensure that you build your menu around minimally processed, nutrient-rich foods and rather than base your food choices on calories alone. In other words, make sure that everything you consume brings with it a nutritional value as opposed to empty calories from sugar laden treats which do your body harm over time.


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