Calorie Counting Basics

dieting blues

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We all know that eating well is all about taking into consideration the calories going in via foods and the calories going out through our physical exercise.  When we get the balance right we maintain a healthy weight.  And when we ensure there are more calories being burnt than consumed, we lose weight.

Calorie counting is the best way by far for us to stay on track, whether it’s weight loss or weight maintaining.  But what is the easiest way for us to count calories and ensure we stay on track?

Mention calorie counting to many people and they will roll their eyes and say, “It’s laborious” or “It’s too hard”.  Fact of the matter is though, it’s the surefire way for ensuring we get the calories we need to achieve our goals.

So what are the most effective ways we can keep track of the calories going in?  Here are my two recommendations:

  • Developing meal plans:  This is by far the best method to help you monitor all of the calories going in.  Measure the foods going into your meals, to determine the calories.  Create your meal plan for an entire week, and for variety, create several meal plans – perhaps 4 or so – to cover you for a month.  It is important that you stick to your meal plan.  Meal plans include absolutely everything you eat – breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and of course snacks.  By sticking to your meal plan, you will know exactly how many calories are going in. 
  • Keeping a Food Diary:  Keeping a food diary is the traditional way people count calories.  You simply write down whenever you eat something, and make a note of the calories.  Then you add your daily calorie intake up at the end of the day, to determine how many calories have gone into your body for the day.  Food diaries are popular, however, one of the downsides to food diaries is that people don’t add to it as they eat.  As a result, they may forget to add snacks and drinks throughout the day, resulting in a lower daily calorie calculation at the end of the day.  It’s called food amneisia and so many of us have done it at some time or another! 

I always recommend people develop meal plans, as opposed to keep a food diary, because meal plans are by far the best way to keep track of calories in.  You don’t have to guess how many calories you are eating, because the meal plan tells you.  Also, you don’t have to add the food as you eat, like you do in a food diary.  And as you know, all too often people forget to add everything they eat to the diary anyway.

The thing though about meal plans is that people often bawk at the effort involved in preparing one.  Whenever a client says to me, “Oh Dear Trainer, creating a meal plan is way too much time and effort for me”, I just respond by asking them how important it is for them to achieve their weight and health goals.

There are plenty of meal plans out there that you can get off the internet for free, however, by creating your own meal plan, you are factoring in your own preferences.  Sure, you will be eating healthy foods, but still, you may not like eating brussel sprouts and instead may choose to replace with broccoli.  By creating your own meal plan, you cater to your tastes.

If you really find creating a meal plan daunting, I recommend you go online and find a meal plan that appeals, and then make small changes to suit your tastes.  Be sure though to ensure the calories are correct for whatever it is you are adding to the meal plan as a replacement food.

It’s definitely worth the effort to create a meal plan, so set some time aside and have fun!

The Only Key to Successful and Long-Term Weight Loss

The Only Key to Successful and Long-Term Weight LossIt’s true!  There really is only one way to lose weight if you want to keep it off for life.  It’s lifestyle change!

Now, you might be saying to yourself, “Ouch! I really don’t know if I’m up for a total lifestyle change to lose my weight.”  If that sounds like you, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I want to lose weight as a short term thing, or do I really want to keep it off for life?
  • What does it mean for me to not be carrying the excess weight?
  • Am I willing to do whatever it takes to feel better about myself?
  • Are the health benefits I will receive from weight loss really worth it?
  • Do I want to live to a ripe old age and have a good time doing so?

There are so many benefits to losing weight, and you will feel 100% if you do it!

So many people know this, yet throw their money at and pin all their hopes on fad diets, crazy workout routines, exercise equipment promising to make it easier and insane weight loss pills and shakes.  As a personal trainer, I know these people are chasing their tails and getting nowhere!

To lose weight for life, you need to change your lifestyle – there’s no other way!  A healthy weight is reflective of a healthy lifestyle, so start doing these things today:

  • Get active with others and have fun: By doing this with others, we’re going to have more fun and we’ll do it more often.  You’ll help your body burn fat and stay trim in the process!
  • Do the sort of exercise you like:  Fun activities like walking, jogging, kicking a soccer ball, swimming or inline skating – it’s up to you!  Do whatever you like with the intention of having fun, because you’ll do it more often if you’re having fun!
  • Drink plenty of water:  Your body craves it, and it’s your body that burns the fat for you and keeps you trim!  Water helps the body do this – and you will feel full for it.
  • Eat frequent, smaller meals:  Do this 5-6 times each day and help your metabolism, which burns all the energy you consume.
  • Enjoy your food:  Sit at the table with others when you eat.  You’ll be aware of that full feeling as soon as it hits.
  • Eat proteins first:  In other words, eat the meat and eggs – all that good stuff – first.  You’ll feel fuller, sooner.  And you’ll eat less.
  • Include vegetables in every meal:  They’re full of essential nutrients, vitamins and fiber – and they fill you without the calories!
  • Include wholegrains in your diet:  If you eat bread, make it grain bread.  Try to include rolled oats in your breakfast as well.  Wholegrains are full of nutrients and fiber as well, so you’ll stay regular and feel full.

It really isn’t that hard once you get into it.  Sure, change can be a little painful at first, but is the perceived pain of changing your lifestyle to that of a healthier one worth the pleasure you will get out of looking and feeling absolutely fabulous?  The pleasure outweighs the pain!

It takes 30 days to replace old habits with new, so start implementing the things I mentioned above and do it today!  You WILL feel much better for it, and 30 days isn’t really that long at all!