Finally, you’ve decided to take care of yourself. You’ve promised to pay close attention to your diet to lose those ‘final’ pounds.
While this is a commendable decision in its own right, but it will avail you little if you do not count your calories. It is pertinent to note that calorie counting is more of a tool that should make your life easier rather than harder. This is why you should also learn precisely what steps you should take to track your calorie consumption. Remember, keeping track of the calories can give you those awesome weight loss results that you always wanted.
Start from the way you actually consume your food
It does not really matter where your long drawn fitness journey actually takes you as long as you get to understand how important the nutritional part of your diet plan is. Once you understand that, you can set better goals for yourself.
Simply put, you should create a fairly simple meal plan based on the way you like to eat your meals. In other words, you should not make any sudden/big changes or for that matter think about daily calorie targets… yet.
This is (after all) the pre-weight loss stage. This is why you should ignore the “daily goal” that many, if not most apps and calculators will set for you. Apart from that, now is not really the time to worry about stuff such as BMR and TDEE and other abbreviations that we are so used to hearing from time to time.
In this stage, all you have to do is to just sling together the total amount of food that you ‘know’ (as opposed to you ‘think you know)’ will effectively get you through the rest of your day. It is pertinent to note that if you make just about any changes at this point, then it will be better to make them more qualitative rather than quantitative.
In a nutshell (no pun intended) you should stick to whole foods groups while simultaneously aiming for the ‘total’ elimination of junk and other processed food items. At the same time, you should also do your level best to keep your sugar intake, as low as possible.
Use a decent app for the purpose
Thanks to the innovative technology, counting real calories now is no longer the whole and sole domain of mathematics. Various apps such as MyFitnessPal, for instance, can calculate these irksome calories for you.
Apart from that, many activity trackers are available today that use built-in software to record the calories coming in, versus all the calories that you are burning out in a real-world context. While, it will almost certainly not be one hundred percent reliable, especially where the more basic trackers are concerned, but at least it will give you a reasonably reliable baseline. However, the age-old adage of ‘honesty being the best policy now comes to the fore. In other words, you have to be totally honest and thereby log pretty much everything that you eat. No cheating allowed at all!
Identify the more obvious patterns first
Most common calorie counting techniques fail because we underestimate our caloric needs to a remarkable degree. This holds true even more so for a cheat meal than anything else. For example, that strawberry milkshake you consumed just now does not contain the 400 calories that you think it does, but a whopping 800 of them! Repeat this mistake enough times – And your whole diet plan goes out of the proverbial window.
This is why it is far more important to count calories than just scribble what you eat in a food journal.
Always establish your baseline first and make adjustments accordingly
Now that you have been counting your calories on a more or less regular basis, you will be able to track the results. Also, you will quickly realize that they are falling into a fairly consistent range. This range is your baseline.
If you are comfortable with the changes you have made and are not ravenous all the time or cranky and irritable, you have found your new set point. After this, it is a relatively simple matter of reducing your portion size. You can swap oils for low-calorie alternatives. Do the same for other calorie-dense options too.
Try to eat day-to-day meals already pre-loaded in your app
This is an amazing way of counting calories even before you consume them in the first place. Once you have saved your meals on your app, all you have to do is to find out what you are having for breakfast today. Since the meal has been pre-loaded, so too are the calories and you have yourself the perfect ‘calorie counter’.
Taking care of your weight through the relatively simple expedient of counting calories is great for being healthy and also maintaining shape. Once you make it a habit, you can then proceed onwards towards completing your lifestyle. Remember wearing a waist trainer or exercising alone won’t give you great results. Make calorie counting an important part of your daily routine, and you will move closer to your health and fitness goals.