Counting Calories to Lose Weight the Easy Way

Fad diets, 2 minute workouts and weird supplements are all the rage when trying to lose weight, but the most effective way still allows you to have your cake and lose weight – counting calories! Budgeting your calorie intake, and reducing the number consumed, will help you lose weight fast and effectively, and will likely train your tummy to feel satisfied on less food than you are consuming right now. All it takes is a little self-education. Many people find that once they are writing down what they’re eating, they find that it’s easier to turn away from that second mini Snickers bar!

Cut Calories to Lose Pounds

3,500 calories equals one pound, therefore cutting 500 calories (whether from cutting foods or burning through exercise) will allow you to lose a healthy 1/2 pound per week. Any more than that and you risk binging because you are hungry, or putting the weight back on quickly.

Get a Food and Exercise Journal

First and foremost, figure out how much you are consuming each day. Start logging all of the foods that you eat in a one-week period. Yes, that means everything! From the bite of the peanut butter sandwich that you swipe from your kids to the sample of yogurt at your warehouse store. Write down each food and when you eat it – breakfast, snack, lunch or dinner – and assign its calorie count. Many smart phones have applications that do the caloric addition for you, or you can find one on the web.

Arm yourself with a set of measuring cups and spoons or a food scale, and become familiar with portion sizes or the nutritional information on the side of your food container. Try to be exact about your serving size for that week as well. You’d be surprised about how quickly those extra calories add up!

Burn, Baby, Burn

This is where you get to subtract those exercise calories from your food intake. If you know that you’re going to head out for pizza one night, or you did so the night before, add a little extra calorie burn in your workout, so you give yourself a little extra in the bank. Throw in a few hard intervals at the end of your treadmill run, or tack on an extra 15 minutes of cardio. Having a piece of cake at dinner? Add some hills to that run!

Easy Cuts

Cutting out calories? It’s not as horrible as it sounds. Now that you have recorded what you are eating, find easy places to cut. Don’t put butter on your toast. Use 1/2 of the cream cheese that you normally would on your bagel. Dilute 4oz of juice with 4oz of water to cut the calories in half. Try replacing things that you won’t miss. Drizzle balsamic vinegar on a salad instead of dressing, or eat 1/2 your usual serving of rice. Simply measuring out exact portions may cut a significant number of calories. Opt for foods that are filling, but surprisingly low in calories, like a packet of instant oatmeal or a banana with peanut butter.

With a little know how, you’ll be cutting out a bunch of calories in no time, and seeing results in a flash!


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  • Russ

    Good article but if you cut 500 calories a day for a week you would lose 1 full pound not a half. 500 X 7= 3,500

    This article is very true, this isn’t rocket science and there are no real tricks to losing FAT. We are really just machines that produce energy and need energy, and the formula for burning fat is calories out versus calories in.

    People may lose more weight on fad diets but they are not losing more fat. IMO the goal is to burn fat to look better not to just lose weight to be less of a burden to my scale.

  • mike brown

    It takes -3500 calories to loose a pound, which means you need to both burn calories by working out & take less calories in by eating in order to loose weight.

    Eat fruits & veggies of course. It’s typical to eat a small breakfast and a big dinner, but my health teacher said you actually want to do the opposite. And never skip breakfast, it helps you loose weight. I stopped drinking pop and lost 50 pounds in 1 year!! Don’t drink juice. You’d think fruit juice is good for you, but its not. It has alot of sugar and extra calories. People say dont eat carbs’ not true, 60% of your diet is supposed to be from some type of carbs… just make sure you eat whole grain or whole wheat bread. And drink only skim milk, all others aren’t so great for you. Just watch what you eat and pay attention to nutrition labels!

    Make sure you do some weight bearing activities along with cardio, it’ll help build muscle and burn fat! If you cant buy a gym membership try going for a walk or run outside, doing jumping jacks, jump rope, running up & down your stairs, lifting weights, doings situps & pushups.. those are just some ideas that’ll help!