Counting calories can be an excellent way to lose weight. After all, to lose weight you have to burn more calories than you take in. By tracking your calories each day, you can better balance how much exercise you need to create a deficit. The more you go over your calorie goal, the more you’ll need to burn in the gym or compensate for with your next meal. Remember, you need a 3,500 calorie deficit to lose one pound.
So, just how do you count calories? Well, it’s pretty easy. First, you determine the best way for you to track your calories. There are many online places to log your calories, food journals you can buy, or you can even make your own food diary using a plain notebook. Be sure to pick the method that is most convenient for your lifestyle. Next, you need access to a reliable calorie-counter book or website, such as CalorieKing.com. From there, you just write down every little thing and bite that you have no matter how small it is, along with its amount of calories. At the end of each day (or as you go), tally up how many calories you’ve eaten and see if that number meets your calorie-restriction goals. Adjust as necessary!
Now one word of caution: Many of us suffer from portion-distortion, so it’s very important that you know your portion sizes and check food labels, especially for packaged foods, which can be tricky (click here for a guide to decoding food labels). One package doesn’t mean it’s one serving, so always look. Regularly use tools like a food scale, and measuring cups and spoons to make sure that your calorie counting is totally accurate!
For more information on calorie-counting diets, check out the eating and exercise plans of these popular calorie-based diets!