Counting Calories to Lose Weight

counting calories to lose weight

Counting calories to lose weight: not too many of us look forward to doing that. Yet, how quickly we sometimes pad out when we don't know the "weight-gain" potential of the foods we eat. Because, alas, calories often Do count when too many of them are racing down the hatch.

Moreover, diets actually can sometime work, if they’re designed humanely and with some common sense and understanding of human behavior. So, how can you sort all that out for yourself? What are some ways to start counting calories that will work for you? A sneaky move I often use myself is to approach things by degrees, moving one step at a time.

 A Possible First Step

As a preliminary step, you might find out how many calories you'd need just to maintain your present weight. For example, if you were 45 years old and roughly 5’ 6” tall, weighing 150 pounds, you'd need roughly 1844 calories to hold your weight at that level. (Click on the link to find out your own daily calorie requirement: counting calories to lose weight.)

According to the Mayo Clinic, to lose a single pound, the average person will need to eliminate 3,500 calories, or 500 calories per day during the course of a week. So, if you hack 350 calories a day from your maintenance level and add enough daily activity to burn off another 150 calories (enter the half-hour walk!), you could probably drop a pound a week.

So, 4 pounds in your first month. Although that may not seem like much at first, such a "formula" might shave off 50 pounds or so in a single year. Not too shabby if you actually need to lose that many, but please don't overdo it.

 Another Step

What’s next? Maybe a calorie-counter, either online (click here) or in paperback or kindle: The CalorieKing Calorie, Fat & Carbohydrate Counter 2017.

Although a book might be more convenient and portable, the online version is free. Either way, the main thing is to use one or the other while you’re still learning some basic calorie values. Eventually, you’ll memorize enough of the food counts most important to you simply by looking them up a few times

 Good and Bad News

If you like vegetables pretty well, the good news will be that they’re not loaded with calories (unless they’re also loaded with butter). So, you can eat a LOT of veggies without doing much damage to your daily calorie ration. ( See a vegetable diet to lose weight and calories in vegetables.)

counting calories to lose weight

The not-so-good news? Some of your favorite foods may carry a pretty stiff caloric price. You know, the "usual suspects": pizza, cheeseburgers, doughnuts, tacos and burritos, mac and cheese, fettuccine Alfredo—even the wine. So, must you give up all of those great foods all the time?

Absolutely not. But for this to work, you’ll have to give up some of them, some of the time...which is where counting calories can give you a big hand. And, as you learn the calorie counts of your favorite foods, you’ll better know when you can “afford” one of those foods and when you cannot.

 Bottom Line?

When it comes to counting calories to lose weight, knowledge is power. And so is craftiness! So, in closing let me pass along a couple of tips:

Start eating on smaller plates. That way, even if you fill your plate (lot of veggies, right?), you’ll be eating less. (No seconds for now, though, okay?)

Instead of three large meals per day,
eat oftener but give yourself smallish portions. Because of a digestive “issue,” I’ve been doing that for a while myself. Boy, was I surprised to discover I’d lost ten pounds within a fairly short time—this, without giving up much of Anything. Well, I think I may have cut down a bit on pastas and bread, but not in any noticeable way. Perhaps such a pattern might work for you, as well...but only if you give it a fair shot.


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Please understand that the material at this site is NOT medical advice, as I am neither doctor nor nutritionist. What I am is merely someone who's lived successfully on a vegetarian diet for many decades...and I transitioned from omnivore to vegetarian gradually. Do check with your doctor, though, if you're considering big changes to your own diet. Also, be sure to find a dependable source of Vitamin B12.

Living Vegetarian the Easy Way
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