Ultimate Guide to Counting Calories

To the uninitiated, calorie counting seems very involved to say the least.

Where most people just grab something to eat that they think tastes good and is filling, the calorie counter ensures whatever they’re eating fit that caloric allotment they’re allowed for the day.

And as pesky it can be, calorie counting is the gold standard for weight loss.

If you’re not taking in less calories than you’re burning, then you’re not going to lose weight. And calorie counting is the only way to ensure you’re consuming the right amount of calories.

So if you’re looking to lose weight, and you’re looking to use the most fool-proof way of doing it, then calorie counting is going to be your friend. And if you’re not sure how to get started, just keep reading:

#1 – Apps

First thing you’ll need to count calories is a way of journaling your foods & figuring out how many calories they each have.

Back in the day, people would have to write down everything in a journal and reference some book to see how many calories each food was. But, that’s no longer necessary.

Smartphone technology has made life easier in many ways, and has also made this one task a whooooole lot easier too.

With apps like MyFitnessPal and Cronometer available on Android & iPhone devices, you can quickly enter in whatever foods you ate and instantly see how many calories you’ve consumed. It’s that easy.

#2 – Measuring Implements

Now, besides a food tracking app, you’ll need one other thing.

If you only eat prepackaged or premade foods, all you need is an app. But if you make any homecooked meals, you’re going to need an easy way to figure out *how much* of it your consuming. Because eating twice the amount of something means twice the calories.

The easiest way to do that is using a food scale, like this one that you can find online.

Why a food scale over something else, like a measuring cup? Because it’s impossible to cheat a food scale. One cup of rice is typically 185 grams in weight. But what if you really try to pack that rice tightly into the cup? You’re allowing yourself more food, and more calories, in the same measurement. But, this is impossible to do with the food scale. There’s no grey areas, guessing, or room for error.

#3 – Figuring Out Your Caloric Intake

Here’s the tricky part.

You want to lose weight. You know you have to eat below a certain threshold of calories to lose weight.

So … how many calories does that add up to?

For each person, this number’s going to different.

But to find a place to start, you’re simply going to find how many calories you eat daily on average.

By using an app and a food scale, track your daily food intake for an entire week WITHOUT trying to intentionally eat less. Just eat what you normally eat. Do not worry about the calories. If you do, you’re going to mess up this process & give yourself incorrect information.

After you’ve correctly and honestly tracked your “normal” food consumption for a week, determine the daily average (by adding up the calories from each day & dividing it by 7). This “average” will be your starting point. We can assume that this is the amount of calories that will maintain your bodyweight.

Now, by subtracting 500 calories from that total, you’ve given yourself a daily calorie limit that should theoretically allow you to lose 1lb of fat per week (equal to 3500 calories).

(Note: this is based on the premise that whatever amount of food you ate before was only maintaining your weight. If you had been steadily gaining weight, losing weight, or simply did not eat what you normally eat before, then this number could be off).

Weigh yourself each week for 4 weeks. If you’ve adhered to your diet 100% and have lost about 4lbs, then your math was right. If you lost substantially more or less than that, you may need to make some adjustments.

And That’s It!

Once you figure it all out initially, calorie counting is merely a) tracking food, and b) sticking to a set amount of calories.

If you can manage that, you’re guaranteed to lose weight. Period.

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