Although most people know that understanding how many calories we consume is essential to losing weight, it can be pretty hard to figure out what that number is (especially if you eat out a lot). Unfortunately, however, ignorance will not work. Many foods contain more calories than you’d expect. If you’re not keeping an eye on how many you eat every day, your loss efforts could be in vain.
So what can you do to ensure you get a good estimate of what you are consuming on a daily basis?
Sign Up To A Calorie Tracking Website
There are a huge number of online calorie tracking services, as well as smartphone apps, that make it easy for you to register what you eat every day.
These websites and apps can easily be found with a simple search online, though note that some do come with a monthly fee.
You may be wondering how exactly these sites work. Basically, they have a built in food database that already has the calorie count of most foods programmed into it.
Some were added by the program creators, others may have been added by normal users like you.
All you have to do is sign up for the site, go to the food tracking page, and enter the food you have eaten into the correct search bar. Be specific by entering the exact brand if you can.
Once you’ve done that, you can see entries in the food database that match your search, and you can select the closest match and add that your calorie count.
Track It Yourself (With Some Help!)
If you don’t have constant access to the internet, or prefer not to use these services, then another thing you can do is purchase a nutrition book that has a list of different foods and their calorie counts.
Use this book as a guide to keep a written food diary at home, where you manually count your calories by assigning the values provided in the purchased book for the corresponding foods to the food entries and adding up their total at the end of the day.
The great thing about this is that you can journal how you feel and track how eating different foods make you feel as far as concentration and energy, and even find food intolerances.
This way is more tedious, but for less tech-savvy people, this is enough to work.
There are also some digital kitchen scales available that will work out nutritional data for you. You’ll still need to enter a code based on the scale’s manual, but it’s far quicker than working it out yourself. These scales are very accurate and useful for people with specific health conditions, too.
How Do I Track Calories?
As you can imagine our house does a lot of checking of calories and Macronutrients like protein, carbohydrates, and fats in the foods that we eat.
We try to keep a pretty clean diet but of course our kids do like to have snacks so we have always portioned them out to them in a way that makes them know that they are a special food but at the same time they are able to decide what they would want.
As for calories themselves, we do not track calories at all but we really do make sure that we are not eating too much food. We use a lot of portion control when it comes to our meals, we know that we don’t need a huge plate of food to satisfy us and we do try to have a very varied diet with lots of fresh veggies (low in calories), and not as much starchy white carbs (always rice, potatoes, or pasta, just not a lot of them).
Tracking your calories is a wonderful way to tackle dieting, as it offers you a way to eat whatever you want in a balanced way, while teaching you portion control and nutritional estimation.
There’s no need to cut out any particular food out of your diet; just eat what you want but stay within the allocated number of calories for the day.