The formula is quite simple.
There are 3 possibilities when it comes to counting calories.
If you Consume More Calories than you use = Weight Gain
If you Consume Less Calories than you use = Weight Loss
If you Consume Same Amount of Calories that you use= Weight Stays the Same
It’s just that simple.
You are gaining weight because you are taking IN more calories than you are burning up.
I’m not saying you have to become obsessed with keeping track of calories each and every day of your life.
Check out our article “Eating Phit! 4 Principles of Effective Weight Loss”
But, if you take time such as a month or 2, you can learn a lot about what you eat and begin to make some key changes to your diet. To understand your eating habits then read, “Understanding the Reasons Why You Over Eat”
I am also not suggesting you give up your favorite foods – I’m saying you need to learn how to eat less of these foods. And, eat these foods less often.
What is a Calorie? In their article, “Counting Calories” AuthorityNutrition.com defines a calorie as;
…a dietary calorie is defined as the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water by 1 degree Celsius.
In other words, the food you eat is nothing more than potential energy. This potential energy is used as actual energy and is consumed many different ways.
The energy contained in food and drink is used simply by keeping you alive along with any activity you perform such talking, typing, sleeping, walking, playing cards – well, anything and everything you do on a daily basis.
When the food you consume as potential energy is greater than the energy expended on a daily basis – the excess unused potential energy is stored as excess fat.
This is why you gain weight.
All foods and food amounts have different amounts of calories. This is because some foods are much denser than others.
Fatty foods such as a cheeseburger have way more calories than a bowl of plain vegetables. If you throw in fries and a milk shake alongside the cheeseburger, you will be consuming almost you entire daily caloric intake needs in a single meal!
You need a certain amount of calories to not only stay alive but also to maintain your health.
The scientific approach is described, the article “How to Count Calories” which says
The 24-hour measurement of how much energy your body uses to perform all basic functions related to staying alive (excluding any and all physical activity) is known as your “basal metabolic rate,” or “BMR.”
Note: The Basal Metabolic Rate is just the basic number of calories you need to stay alive. It has nothing to do with the calories you use during your regular day of activities.
This is another reason why a lot of the fad diets are not only unhealthy, but unsustainable. They do not provide you with the proper caloric intake nor the proper nutrition your body needs.
If you know the number of calories that can be found in different foods, you will be able to take the time to adjust what you eat. For example, you can still eat an occasional cheeseburger, but avoid the fries and milk shake. Have some water instead.
Nutritionists have been studying food and the calories every food contains. They have looked at all the fast food items in detail and can tell you exactly how many calories these foods contain.
There are a number of online apps which can help you learn how to keep track of how many calories you consume each day.
Now, you have to include EVRYTHING YOU EAT AND DRINK! If you unwind after work and have a beer or glass of wine after work, along with a handful of peanuts or pretzels – RECORD IT!
And, don’t forget that pop, juice, tea and coffee you have on a break. You have to record every single item of food and drink to get an accurate picture.
Remember – It’s CALORIES IN VERSUS CALORIES OUT!
How Do I Know How Many Calories Do I Burn?
This is a little harder because it varies from person to person. It also varies depending on the types of daily activities you perform, your age, gender, weight, and metabolism. Sedentary people will obviously burn fewer calories than more active people.
This measure can only be determined as rough estimate and will vary.
You will likely have to adjust your caloric intake and adjust them to your particular situation.
We suggest you might want to read “How to Burn a 1000 Calorie Cheeseburger with a 500 Calorie Workout – The Easy Way”
Although I don’t like to recommend the constant use of becoming obsessed with using weight scale, you will have to use this to see if you are losing weight.
Adjusting your calorie intake and weight loss is not going to happen right away. So, I suggest checking your weight just once a week. If you haven’t gained any weight then Great! – you’re on the right track. And, if the scale dips and shows a weight loss, then you know you’re getting a handle on it.
Don’t Make Big Changes All At Once
Keep a diary of your food and the amount of calories they contain and you consume. Start by omitting a can of pop, a dessert, or fries. Alternate with a soup and/or salad for salad for lunch.
And, here’s something else to consider – If you prepare your lunch or eat supper at home, then you will have a much better handle on what you eat and the calories each meal has.
All you have to do is make the time.
The other thing you do is try to increase your physical activity. It also doesn’t have to be much. Go for a walk after lunch; use the stairs or even just walk in place for a half hour while watching whatever you’re streaming for entertainment.
Any little increase you perform for activities will help burn more calories.
More Calories Burned = More Weight Loss
Losing weight is just simple mathematics when it comes counting calories.
And, we also recommend that you try and especially reduce your overall intake of any food or drink containing salt, sugar and fat. From a health perspective this is just common sense.
COUNTING CALORIES IS KEY TO WEIGHT LOSS!