Most people know that in order to lose weight, you need to have a deficit of calories. This much is clear, and it is the most essential part of losing weight, ahead of even exercise. But it is one thing to know that, and quite another to actually be aware of the best methods for counting your calories. Although on the face of it, counting calories should be pretty straightforward, the truth is that it can turn out to be surprisingly complex. There can be a lot more to it than meets the eye, and many people get caught out in ways which makes it considerably more difficult to lose weight in the long term. In this post, we are going to take a look at some of the best ways to master calorie-counting, so that you can hope to lose weight faster and more effectively.
The first thing to be aware of is that you need to know what specifically your goal is before you can hope to successfully calorie count. Obviously enough, not knowing what your target weight is going to be will mean that you don’t know where to begin with counting calories. So the first thing is to work out exactly what you hope to lose, and then schedule that goal so that you know what you’re aiming to lose each week and month. Once you are clear on that, you will find it a lot easier to start counting calories, as you will at least know how many calories you are going to need in the first place.
If you are struggling to work out a goal for yourself, it might be best to start small. By not pushing yourself too hard, you will be more likely to see results sooner, and that should mean that you can expect to have the motivation to carry on. This is one of those areas where you might benefit from speaking to a professional – a nutritionist or personal trainer would be ideal, as they would be able to ensure that you know exactly how much you should aim to lose. They should also be able to help you work out what kind of calorie intake you are going to need. Once you have that information, you are ready to start counting your calories.
The most important thing – and that which is the most challenging – is to make sure that you have some way of tracking your calories. It’s no use merely counting your calories if you are not recording them somehow, and finding a good method for doing that is going to be hugely important and make a big difference to how successful your weight loss effort could be. One of the most popular means of tracking calories these days is to use a smartphone app, and there are plenty of these to choose between.
When you are looking into such an app, you will want to make sure that you are looking at the features it has to ensure that it is as close to perfect for your circumstances as you are likely to get. Some apps will have a more or less visual interface, while others will be much more data-based. Go for whichever works best for you and your way of thinking. There are some which allow you to scan the barcode of food you are eating too, which then automatically adds calories to your tracker. And such apps can also keep track of your weight if you connect it to a Fitbit or other health device too. As you can imagine, these apps can be hugely effective in helping you to calorie count, so you should absolutely consider using one.
Because it can often be difficult to keep track of the calories in a home-cooked meal, you might find it a little easier to occasionally use prepared meals instead of cooking yourself. Of course, you should be careful that such box meals are healthy and likely to help you lose weight, but as long as you make sure of that you will find that it really helps you to count your calories. If you can find a decent food box subscription, that can be a great way to do this. Because of the simple fact that you can see the calories on the packaging, it can make it considerably easier, but you will need to be more careful about what you are actually eating. Get this balance right, however, and you should find that it works out in your favor pretty well and that you are managing to count calories much more effectively than you might have thought possible.
It might sound like an obvious thing to say, but it is hugely important to do your best not to cheat when you are counting calories. This is the kind of thing that can be surprisingly hard to do, as cheating might well come naturally once in a while to even the most ardent dieters. It can happen in many ways, and that is the main reason why you might find it so difficult to avoid completely. You might fail to keep your tracker updated on a day which you know was particularly bad, for instance. Or maybe you have underestimated too much, and so your record is not accurate. You might find that such cheating is a result of being over-stressed or worried about the whole process, in which case it could help to have the occasional cheat day here and there. By allowing yourself a little cheat, you should find that you can much more easily stay honest on the whole, and that should mean that you get where you want to go more easily. If nothing else, it will allow you to keep your head about you and not worry too much, which can be extremely helpful indeed.
All of this should help you to count your calories more effectively, and once you have got that right you will almost certainly find that you are more likely to lose the weight you want to lose in a decent time frame.