Okay, I get it, calorie counting works for many, many people and I do see the value of it. However, I do think there’s a problem with it. Let me explain.
According to Virgin Active to maintain my current weight my calorie intake should be 1868 and they advise that I reduce my calories by 500 a day. So that leave’s me with 1368 calories a day to lose weight.
Here’s what I could have
2 kit Kats for breakfast (two finger bars) 107 cals each
2 Bags of walkers crisps 130 cals a bag (260)
Total so far 474
Mcdonalds cheeseburger and chips 301 + 237
Total so far
Pot noodle 142
Total so far 1154
I’ve still got 214 cals left, so I may as well have 2 more kit kat bars.
Bingo, exactly on target!
Do you see the problem here?
Seriously, the way my brain works, this makes perfect sense to me. Well at least it does when I’m trying to convince myself it’s a good idea to eat four KitKat bars in a day and still be on target with my calorie intake.
Just because we eat the right amount of calories doesn’t mean we’re eating the right food.
Now I’m not a health expert or a dietician but here’s what worked for me.
Track your food for a week
Eat meals that you would normally eat but write every single thing you eat down.
At the end of the first day, add up all of your calories. Now you have a baseline to work with.
How many calories do you need to cut out to achieve your calorie intake target? What swaps could you make so that you are eating enough so that you’re not hungry but lowering your calorie intake?
Each day, make small changes that will bring you closer to your target.
I know we would all love to lose weight really fast but honestly, I’ve bought the t-shirt on so many diet plans that I can’t maintain and ended up fatter. Maybe you have too.
Small changes are lasting changes
Maybe after a couple of days, you may realize you’re at a level to maintain your weight and maybe you’re even over.
So the first stage would be to get to the maintaining level so that you’re not putting on weight. Stay there for a week or so to get used to that level and then try to reduce it a little further. Even if it takes you 6 months to get to your target level, that’s okay. Seriously it is. You didn’t put on all of the weight in 2 weeks, why would you expect to lose it so quickly.
Here are five things I’m doing to lower my calories intake in a healthy way.
1. Fill up on veggies.
I make sure that I add a side salad to my meal or add a load of veggies. I try to make 1/2 of my meal veggies.
2. Have some homemade soup on the go.
I try to have some homemade soup on the go most days as I can have a bowl or cup for lunch or whenever I feel hungry throughout the day.
3. Drink lots of water.
It might sound simple but simple water keeps hunger at bay and helps you feel fuller for longer.
4. Use a smaller plate
Watch your portion sizes and try using a smaller plate or one with a smaller serving area. Watch this video for a great example Here
5. Plan healthy snacks
Plan ahead for those in between meal snacks. I don’t know about you, but I struggle to go from breakfast at around 7.15am to lunch at 12pm ish and then from lunch to my evening meal at around 6pm. So I plan in healthy snacks so that I’m not in the biscuit tin every 5 minutes. Things like fruit, chopped veg sticks, nuts, soups, small amounts of protein like a couple of small cheese chinks or a few slices of chicken.
Also factor in your exercise
A couple of apps I’ve tried which you can track your calorie intake and calories burned are My Fitness Pal Lots of my 30-day weight loss challenge members like My Fitness Pal. I also liked Pacer It’s a pedometer (and apparently a weight loss coach). I’m not a huge fan of apps, I tend to get frustrated with them but they are worth sticking with even for short blasts just to monitor for a few days how you’re doing.
Okay, so that’s my take on calorie counting. I do think it’s important but I also think we need to use our common sense too.
Do you have a favourite calorie counting app? Tell us about it in the comments below.
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