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How to Count Calories

Updated on November 1, 2010

Dieting and Losing Weight

There are many ways that you can lose weight and diet, and for the most part, it depends on you and your regular daily routines as the best way for you to lose the extra weight and meet your goals.

First off, keep in mind that you want to watch what you eat and you want to exercise regularly. You don't have to over do it by any means, but you'll find a little is better than none.

But, I'll be focusing on the diet aspect of losing weight, asĀ  when you watch what you eat, you can better maintain your nutrition and weight. You want to make sure that you consumer plenty of vegetables, fruits, and proteins. The best way to monitor your diet, is by eating in portions and by eating multiple small meals throughout the day.

Another important aspect of losing weight is to count your calories. You want to make sure that you can maintain the calories that you consume on a daily basis, and you want to try to consume the same number of calories every day. You don't want to fluctuate with high calorie intake one day and low calories the next

Counting Calories

When watching what you eat and monitoring your calorie consumption, there are a few things that you want to keep in mind.

  1. Eat foods that you know the calories on.
  2. Use a calorie counter to better monitor your calorie consumption and to find the calories of foods you're not sure of.

When trying to lose weight, try to cut at least 250 to 500 calories a day from your normal diet. You don't want to reduce your calorie intake more than 1,200 calories, as this can become a potential health risk.

When counting calories, make sure you know how to read a food label. The FDA requires that all products include a nutrition label so that consumers can see what they're eating. The calories are always listed on the food label. You'll want to first notice how big the serving is, and then the calorie count will tell you for that serving size (3 cookies, 5 crackers, 1/2 cup, etc) equals x-amount of calories.

Portion control will be the biggest factor in losing weight while counting calories. Don't eat all that you can just to clean the plate. You don't have to throw the food away; you can take it home, so just eat a portion of the food now, as the rest can be your next dinner or lunch.

  • Make sure to consume a healthy diet of proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, low-fat dairy, and a little bit of fats.
  • Avoid consuming high-calorie foods like soda, candy, cookies, chips, and fried food.
  • Try not to eliminate healthy foods so that you can eat a cookie or a piece of cake to make up for the calories lost by not drinking orange juice or a low-fat yogurt cup.

Alternatives to Calorie Counting

Because it can get quite tedious and time consuming counting the calories and keeping tract of what you eat, you may want to consider other options to losing weight.

  • Eat smaller portions.
  • Choose foods that use more calories and need more energy to digest. For example, eating whole-grain over white bread will use up more energy to digest the grain than it would to digest the white bread, so the digestion process burns up some of the calories consumed. High fiber and high protein foods are those that need more energy to digest.
  • Eat a healthy, well balanced diet. By eliminating the junk and sugary foods, you can reduce the carbs and calories without having to really count them.

Calorie Counters

CalorieSmart - Handheld Calorie Counter
CalorieSmart - Handheld Calorie Counter

Look up calorie, carb information for 50,000 food items for over 250 restaurants and 500 brands. Get nutrient information for exact serving size that you eat. Set goals and track progress.



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