Losing weight can be a difficult journey for most people, especially if they aren’t quite sure where to start. Diet and exercise may be enough for some people to begin seeing changes, but there comes a time when you may need to take a different approach, and one of the best ways to help you lose weight is to begin writing down what you eat and how many calories you are taking in each day.
Let’s face it, nobody likes keeping track of what they eat. It takes extra time and can seem difficult if you are having trouble finding what you need. We are here to tell you that putting in the effort to calorie tracking and understanding what you eat is extremely important when it comes to losing weight.
Importance of Calorie Tracking
Calorie tracking is an exercise where you write down everything you eat, how much, and how many calories you are intaking each day. While the process of calorie tracking doesn’t help you lose weight, the insights you gain can really help steer you in the right direction.
Not only are you gaining visibility into what you are eating, but calorie tracking helps you take accountability. Without calorie tracking, you may be more tempted to eat an unhealthy snack throughout the day since there will be no “evidence” of these snack breaks happening. When you track your calories, you can see that you have added extra, unnecessary calories.
Calorie tracking has other benefits than just losing weight, too. When you are tracking everything you eat, you have the ability to go back and look at how you are feeling and see what may have caused it. For example, let’s say you had a lot of gluten in your diet on Monday.
If you wake up on Tuesday morning more tired than normal or feeling groggy, you may want to try reducing your gluten intake for the day. The same goes with feeling good! If you wake up feeling great one day, you can go back and look at what you’ve been eating and continue fueling your body.
How To Best Track Your Calories
Like we’ve mentioned before, tracking calories is not the easiest thing in the world, but we’ve put together a list of tips and tricks that can really help. Remember, everyone has different thoughts when it comes to calorie tracking, so make sure you are doing what is best for you. Because each person’s weight loss journey is unique, there is no perfect solution.
- Understand Your Calorie Intake
First and foremost, make sure you understand your daily calorie intake. If you aren’t sure how many calories you need a day, it may be difficult to know if you are tracking them correctly. Mayo Clinic says that in general, if you cut 500-1,000 calories a day from your typical diet, you can lose about 1 pound per week.
Keep in mind, you will need to burn more calories than you take in, otherwise this equation will not work as it is supposed to.
- Read the Nutritional Label
Once you understand how many calories you are needing to take in, the next step would be to begin reading the nutritional labels on your food. Everything you eat should have a food label that tells you portion sizes and calories, and you can also find nutritional fact sheets on many company or restaurant websites.
You will also want to pay attention to the serving size. Eating the correct amount of food is just as important as eating food that is healthy and full of nutrients.
- Stick to a Diet Plan
Sticking to a diet plan can really help when it comes to counting calories. If you have a plan in place, it makes it easier to track what you are eating, and you can plan ahead so you don’t have to think about it so often. For example, if you plan out your meals on Sunday for the week, you will already know how many calories you will be consuming and don’t need to think about it every day, as long as you are sticking to your plan.
- Know Your Goals
This may seem obvious, but we see a lot of people go into their weight loss journey without and end goal in mind. If you don’t have a goal, you will be less motivated and won’t have those little milestones to celebrate. Understand how much weight you want to lose to feel comfortable and set an attainable goal. Once you’ve got this in place, it will make it easier to make sure you are on the right track.
- Download a Calorie Tracker App
Technology has come a long way to support weight loss, and one of the options they offer now are calorie counting apps. These calorie counting apps are like a food diary and can allow you to track right on your phone! This makes it extremely convenient if you are out and about and need to track.
Some calorie counting apps are making it even easier by offering a barcode scanner that you can use to scan the food you are eating. It then takes the calories and serving size of your food and calculates everything for you. If writing things down on paper and calculating calories sounds like a pain, then downloading a calorie counter app on your phone may be the best solution.
Once you’ve reached your desired healthy weight, you may be able to be more lenient on your calorie counting. However, if you fall back into old habits, the chances of you gaining all the weight you just worked so hard to lose will increase. There are a lot of health benefits to calorie tracking even after you hit your goal, and we highly recommend continuing the process. If you are someone who has tried calorie counting and still aren’t seeing results, schedule a free consultation with one of our health experts and we can offer a variety of different weight loss options that may be a better fit.