If you’re trying to lose weight, gain weight, or even just maintain your current weight, one of the things you will need to do is count calories. But it can be so confusing! Here are some great tips to help you learn to count calories the right way:
1. Know Your Goal
Are you trying to lose weight, gain weight, or just maintain your current healthy weight? Be sure you know what your goal is, so you can figure out how many calories you can consume each day.
2. Learn Your Limit
Exactly how many calories should you consume in one day? For most healthy women who are trying to safely LOSE weight, it’s about 1,500 calories per day. To find out what you should be consuming to MAINTAIN your weight, use this simple formula, called the BMR: 655 + (4.3 x your current weight in pounds) + (4.7 x your height in inches) - (4.7 x your age in years). Then, depending on how active you are, you need to add calories to make up for what you use. If you’re VERY active, add 50% more calories. If you’re sedentary, add 20% more calories. When I used this formula, I learned that I ought to be consuming just over 2,000 calories a day to MAINTAIN my current weight. Interesting!
3. Pay Attention to Portions
If you look at the nutrition label on the back of any food or drink item, at the very top, you’ll see a Serving Size. Sometimes, the serving sizes are shocking — a 20 ounce bottle of soda is actually two and a half servings! So make sure you’re paying attention to portion sizes when you’re keeping track of calories.
4. Drinks Count, Too
When you’re counting calories, make sure you include the things you drink, not just the foods you eat.
5. Some Calories Are Better than Others
If you’re trying to lose weight, keep in mind that calories from foods with a lot of carbs, like pasta or chips or candy, are not as healthful for you as calories from foods that are high in protein. That’s why the Adkins diet was so successful! Remember, though, that you still need all kinds of calories — including a few carbs.
6. Write It All down
Don’t try to keep a tally of the calories you’re consuming in your head as you go. Write them down! Buy a small notebook and keep track of them there. Keeping a food journal also helps you in seeing where you can improve your eating habits in general.
7. Be Reasonable
When you first start off counting calories, you’re bound to make a few mistakes. Be patient and stick to it! It will be worth it in the long run.
Trust me, once you start counting calories, it’s addictive. You’ll find yourself counting everyone else’s calories, too! I know I did!
Do you have any tips on making counting calories easier? Do you use a website you think is great for tracking your calories? How do you keep your food journal? Please share!