Calorie counting is an effective way of achieving your weight loss goals, and it doesn’t require eating dull, flavorless foods. When done correctly, a diet based on counting calories can help you look and feel your best. The theory behind it is simple: you must burn more calories than you consume to lose weight. One pound is equivalent to 3,500 calories. If you reduce your intake by 500 calories (or burn an extra 500 calories) each day for a week, you will lose 1 pound (500 calories x 7 days = 3,500 calories). While that may seem like a daunting task, technology and science have made this much easier, not to mention tastier, than ever.
Read Food Labels
Food labels will be your best source of information when you are counting calories. Pay close attention to the serving size, and measure out what you eat. It is a common mistake to “eyeball” portions and assume that they are accurate amounts, thereby consuming more than the actual serving size. For on-the-go eaters, measure foods ahead of time and put them in containers so they are ready when you need them.
Start a Journal
Studies show that dieters who recorded what they ate each day lost more weight. Write down everything that goes in your mouth, as well as the calories consumed. You may be surprised at where you can find hidden calorie bombs. It will also allow you to look at places where you can substitute lower-calorie versions without sacrificing your favorite foods.
There are now many diet-friendly versions of popular foods, such as drinks and chips. You can eat the lighter version, or you can go for something that might be filling while satisfying your craving. Eat frozen yogurt instead of ice cream for dessert. Eat light popcorn instead of chips. You don’t have to sacrifice flavor or satisfaction just for the sake of losing weight.
Fill up on Fiber
Not only do fruits and vegetables have fewer calories, but they also have a higher amount of fiber. Fiber takes longer to digest, which means that your body has to work harder to process them. This process leaves you feeling satisfied longer. Fruit is always a good way to satisfy your sweet tooth without greatly increasing your caloric intake, and vegetables are easy to add as side dishes to meals.
Don’t Overdo it
It is harmful to drastically reduce your caloric intake. Starvation diets deprive the body of the nutrients it needs to function, which then throws off chemical balances. It also causes metabolism to slow down in order to conserve energy. This can also cause the weight to come back on when normal eating resumes, usually adding more pounds than were originally lost.
The best thing about counting calories is the simple concept. If you eat too much at one meal, cut back on the next one. The diet is easy to maintain without depriving yourself of your favorite foods. You will soon see how counting calories can add up to big weight loss on the scales!