Calorie counting is one type of diet that has worked for many people, including myself. The basics of this weight loss plan are to eat a specific number of calories that will be less than the number of calories that you burn in your daily life. By eating fewer calories than you burn, generally you will lose weight. The trick is to correctly calculate your basal metabolic rate, the amount of activity you do during the day and the amount of calories you are consuming in a day.
This weight loss plan is perfect for the holidays because it is so flexible. Calorie counting is about moderation, not deprivation. You can eat whatever you want so long as the calories are within your daily allowance. Do not eat below 1200 calories unless you are on a medically supervised plan. This is the lower limits of what is healthy. If you dip below this amount, you may end up lowering your metabolic rate and actually gaining weight in the long run. Make sure to eat right nutritionally as well.
The best way to get started is with a wake up call. Calculate the calories you burn using an online calculator. Then, either keep a daily log on your phone, on paper, on the computer or with a website designed to help count calories. The first day you keep a log, eat as you normally do. In order to get the most accurate tally of your calories, use a measuring cup or other method to determine the amount of food you are eating. I found the size of a serving of cereal to be surprising. It was a lot smaller than the amount I had been eating. This step can be eye opening.
There are some tricks to calorie counting. First, make sure your serving sizes are on point. Serving sizes make a huge difference. I bought a food scale to help me make sure that I was at least close. You can use measuring cups, estimation or even a postage scale. Second, learn to love fruit and vegetables. Fruit and vegetables not only fills you up, but also provides nutrients and are generally very low in calories. Third, always check menus before going out to eat. Even at fast food restaurants, there are almost always low calorie fares or little substitutions that can make dishes lower in calories. For example, if you are getting a Caesar salad, get light dressing or dressing on the side and only use half. If you are getting pancakes, get sugar free syrup. While not the ideal foods to eat, those are both great ways to trim some calories.
The best thing about calorie counting, and the thing that made it the right diet choice for me, was that I didn’t have to give up any foods in order to lose weight. I learned to substitute and to eat certain foods less often, but I never felt the pressure to completely give up my favorite foods. Food cravings and self control are tough to deal with but once you are on the diet, you can eat the food you crave in smaller amounts.
Counting calories is a science and you may need some time for trial and error. You will not lose a massive amount of weight in a week and it will require a lifestyle change in the end. Take it one day at a time, and rejoice in the little victories. Even if weight loss is slow, this is a road to a healthier life.