If you're looking to slim down, counting calories is one way to do so. When you keep track of how many calories you're consuming, you'll have a better idea of whether you should cut back, eat more or add in additional physical activity to balance your intake. Don't shy away from calorie-counting because it seems like too much work. There are simple methods to count your calories that are neither labor-intensive or time consuming.
Use Online Tools
You can do just about anything on the Internet, including tracking your diet and progress. There are a number of online communities and tools available for you to track your daily caloric intake. One of the most popular is SparkPeople.com. By creating an account and filling out a quick survey of your goals, you gain access to a community of other people who, just like you, are looking to lose weight. One of the great features of this site is its meal planner and daily calorie counter. Every day you simply select the foods you've eaten from the site's database, which contains thousands of food items. All the nutritional information for the foods have been entered, so you can not only count your calories, but also see the amount of protein, fat, vitamins and minerals you're consuming. Over time you can translate your information into a graph to ensure you're staying on track. For ease of use, keep SparkPeople.com minimized on your computer all day.
Track Calories the Manual Way
If you tend to eat the same foods regularly, it may be easier for you to track your calories by writing them down in a small notepad you keep in your purse or on your desk. Though not as accurate as counting calories online, tracking calories in a notepad will give you a general idea of how much you're eating. At the end of the day you can look up the foods you've consumed and the nutritional details. It may not be the most precise method, but it's more convenient for people constantly on the go or who are rarely around a computer.
Find Restaurant Nutritional Data
It's relatively simple to find the nutritional data for some foods, like fruits and vegetables. However, when you dine out and eat foods prepared with a variety of ingredients, it becomes more difficult to know the exact content of what you're eating. Most restaurants now have nutritional data available online. As you're counting calories and trying to appropriate them correctly, visit a restaurant's website before dining there so you can plan your calorie intake for the day accordingly.
Calorie counting isn't difficult. It's more a matter of becoming accustomed to making daily tracking a part of your routine. As you do so, you'll become familiar with the foods you eat most often and will have a better gauge of what you should and shouldn't be consuming so regularly.