How to count calories and select foods that allow you to satisfy your nutritional needs and lose weight – is probably one of the most asked questions today! Numerous people around the world that want to lose weight are doing everything right – following a particular diet, exercise, lead a healthy lifestyle – and still the results are not impressive. Therefore, in this article, Your Health Tubers are offering you some essential tips that will help you lose weight and keep it off.
Intro: How to Count Calories?
If you want to lose weight, you need to eat less than what your body actually needs to burn energy and for cell repair. Otherwise, if you eat more than what the body needs – the excess food might be stored as but, muscle, mostly, it’s stored as fat. But, if you know how to count calories you will be able to lose weight easier and faster during a diet. Moreover, if you know the content of calories in food, you will avoid high-calorie foods and pick lower-calorie foods, which allow you to lose weight and satisfy the nutritional needs.
What is a Calorie?
Unluckily, many people that have said “calorie counting does not” work couldn’t actually define the term – and everything they knew is counting them did not help them lose weight.
So, to truly understand why counting your calories is yet the easiest way to successful weight loss, and how to do it properly, you must know something more than that. Nonetheless, let’s begin with the simple:
A calorie is nothing more than the amount of stored (potential) energy.
The “calorie counts” of numerous foods is just letting you know how much potential energy the foods have, and some food is more energy dense than other. For example, 1 tbsp. of olive oil contains around 100 calories’ value of energy, while 1 tbsp. of protein powder contains around 30 calories’ value of energy. 2
Calorimeters are devices that measure the calories contained in food. There are only a few varieties of calorimeters, however, they all function on the laws of thermodynamics and include measuring numerous heat-related properties of food.
Generally, the important thing for you to know is that calorie is not some abstract symbol, which may or may not has something to do with losing weight – it is the objective measurement of a scientifically verifiable reality (nutrients contain energy).
How Many Calories Should You Eat?
Activity level, weight, age, and gender are the crucial factors for how many calories you need.
For instance, a 30-year-old male sportsperson will need more calories than a 60-year-old woman who does not exercise.
So, if you are trying to lose weight, you should create a calorie deficit by consuming less than your body burns off. Use this calculator to determine how many calories you need to eat daily.
Apps to Help You Count Calories
Lots of websites and apps are available to simplify the process by providing easy and fast ways to log the food you consume.
Even if you just track your food consumption irregularly, research shows that individuals who do so have a tendency to lose more weight. Plus, they also maintain their weight loss much better. 3
How to Weigh & Measure Your Portions
In order to impress the customers, many restaurants have increased their portion sizes – hence, a single meal may provide double or triple what the average person actually needs in a sitting.
The term “portion distortion” is usual to describe when you view large serving of food as the norm. It could hinder weight loss and cause weight gain.
Generally, people are not really good at estimating how much they eat. Calorie counting will help you fight overeating by providing you a better understanding of how much you are actually eating.
But, for it to work, you should record food portions properly. Here are a few main ways that will help you measure portion sizes:
- Scales –the most precise way to determine how much you’re consuming is to weigh the food. But, this could be time-consuming and is not always practical.
- Measuring cups – Typical volume measures are quite faster and easier to use than a scale, though, could still be time-consuming and stroppy at times.
- Comparisons – this is a fast and easy way, especially if you are away from home. Though, it is also much less precise.
Here are some typical serving sizes compared to domestic items that can help you estimate your portion sizes:
- 1 serving of pasta or rice (1/2 a cup): a rounded handful or computer mouse;
- 1 serving of fish (2.9 oz): a check book;
- 1 serving of meat (3.1 oz): a deck of cards;
- 1 serving of cheese (1.7 oz): the size of your thumb or a lipstick;
- 1 serving of spinach (1 cup): a baseball;
- 1 serving of vegetables (1/2 a cup): a computer mouse;
- 1 tsp. of extra-virgin olive oil: one fingertip;
- 1 serving of fresh fruit (1/2 cup): a tennis ball,
- 3 tbsp. of peanut butter: a mini play ball (ex. ping pong ball).
Even when you measure and weigh portions – counting the calories is not an exact science. 4 Though, it’s not necessary to be completely spot-on with the measurements. Only make sure to record your consumption as precisely as you can.
Remember – you must be most careful about recording items which are high in sugar and/or fat, such as oils, ice cream, and pizza. Under-recording these nutrients can cause a big difference between your actual and recorded intake.
In order to improve your estimations, try using scales, in the beginning, to provide you a better picture of what a serving looks like. This will help you be more precise, even after you stop using them.
Your Diet Still Matters
Calories are beneficial for tracking how much you eat, though, they cannot tell you much about the quality of the diet you follow.
A calorie isn’t necessarily a calorie when it comes to food and the human body.
For instance, 100 calories of spinach will affect your health differently than 100 calories of meat.
This is certainly important because the types of foods you eat and your overall diet have a great effect on your health.
In addition, the effect of different foods on appetite hormones, hunger, and a number of calories you burn may vary considerably.
The best thing you can do is to base your overall diet on high-quality foods from animals or plants that have been minimally processed.
Further, high-quality foods not just provide benefits, but they also make it easier to eat fewer calories in the long run.
Extra Tips to Succeed With Calorie Counting
Here are five more tips that can help you count calories:
- BE PREPARED: the first thing that you should do before you start is to get a calorie counting online tool or app. Next, decide how you will estimate or measure portions and create a meal plan.
- ELIMINATE TEMPTATION:eliminate the junk food from your kitchen. This will aid you to choose healthy snacks and make it easier to hit your goals.
- READ FOOD LABELS:they contain various useful information for calorie counting. Ensure to check the portion size recommended on the package.
- AIM FOR SLOW, STEADY WEIGHT LOSS: do not cut calories very low. Even though you will lose weight quicker you may be less likely to stick to the plan and feel bad.
- EXERCISE:Every successful weight loss program includes both exercise and diet. Make sure to consume enough to still have enough energy to exercise.
See also: Jessica Alba’s Workout Secrets: 3 Simple Moves for Beautiful Body
Should You Count Calories?
Calories in and calories out definitely aren’t the only things that matter for optimal health. But, when it comes to losing weight – calories do count! Even though it does not suit everyone, you might find that counting calories are probably the best way to lose weight and stay fit.
How To Count Calories To Reach Your Specific Weight Control Goal
As we explained before, calories are the key to controlling your diet and thus, are the key to weight loss. Now it’s finally time to say something more on how you can control your weight and reach the specific weight loss goal through a little thing known as calorie counting.
All you need to do is count your calories in (which are the calories you drink/eat every day) and count your calories out (which are the calories you burn every day), and then simply adjust them in order to make your weight do what you want it to do.
Calories are measures of energy. In science, it is defined as the amount of energy needed to raise the heat of 1 kg of water by 1 degree Celsius.
The precise amount of calories you need depend on various factors, including your age, gender, activity levels, and weight. You can reach your weight loss goal by understanding the process of how to count calories and practice the above-stated tips and recommendations.
Aim for slow, stable weight loss, and ensure you have a plan. Keeping less junk food in your house and reading food labels will also be helpful for success.