Today’s urban sedentary lifestyle and its repercussions on health have been extensively researched, leading to general awareness about weight management. As a result, several people are now setting their own weight loss goals and ‘how to count calories’ is often the most common question being asked by them. However, before delving into the dos and don’ts of counting calories, let’s take a look at the importance of tracking calories in your daily diet.
The Importance of Tracking Calories
Counting calories to lose weight has become an important way for people to manage their weight and also live a healthier lifestyle. Nutritional expert and the author of “The Portion Teller Plan: The No Diet Reality Guide to Eating, Cheating and Losing Weight Permanently”, Lisa R. Young says that when it comes to weight, a calorie is a calorie. This means, being focused on how to count calories may be highly effective in terms of weight management. However, there are some Dos and Don’ts that you need to keep in mind when counting calories.
- Check the Nutritional Facts Table (NFT) behind every food packaging before consumption. This will make the process of counting calories to lose weight easier.
- Note down the essential macro and micronutrients apart from calories to get a better idea of your daily nutritional intake.
- Keep a check on food portion sizes. If you don’t know how to count calories accurately then calculating your caloric intake based on food portions can be very helpful.
- Consult a dietician to know about your calorie and nutritional needs because the daily calories for men and women may vary.
- Invest in a digital kitchen scale so that you can measure your ingredients/foods based on your daily nutritional needs.
- Rely on your memory solely when keeping track of the calories you are consuming. Instead, invest in a calorie tracker or download a calorie tracking app on your smartphone and put in the data daily.
- Overeat certain foods that are generally deemed healthier, like cornflakes or oatmeal. Despite being healthier, excessive consumption (beyond the recommended portion size) can throw your diet off balance.
- Forget to count each and every morsel you consume such as in-between-meal snacks. If you are focused on how to count calories, then always remember to account for the little nibbles that you might indulge in throughout the day.
- Underestimate the value of an active lifestyle. While being too focused on counting calories to lose weight, you may forget about the importance of exercise. If you wish to accelerate your weight loss goals, it is important to engage in daily physical exercise as well.
- Don’t just track your calories because the nutritional value of each food also plays a major part in healthy weight management. For example, if you are a woman aiming for weight loss, then guidelines on the daily calories for women may tell you to consume a certain amount of calories each day. However, you should also ensure that you are consuming more proteins rather than carbohydrates. This is because protein helps to lose weight faster and build lean muscle.
While counting calories to lose weight may be the most popular method followed, overdoing it may cause other problems. When talking of nutrition and diet, no one size fits all. Your daily calorie needs depend on various factors like your BMI, age, sex, associated medical conditions and daily energy expenditure. If you follow a self-approved low-calorie diet for a prolonged period, then you may run the risk of developing nutritional deficiencies. Therefore, it is always advised to consult with a registered dietician if you want personalized advice on how to count calories and stay healthy in a sustainable way.
Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.