Calorie Counting Tips and Tricks
First, Let’s Start with: What is a Calorie?
A calorie is a unit of energy that your chemistry professor would call a Kilo-Calorie. It’s the amount of energy to raise 1000 grams of water 1 degree Celsius.
In these scientific terms, it may have to do with raising the temp of water, but in nutritional terms, a calorie really means the amount of energy in a specific amount of food which could be in the form of a carbohydrate, a protein or fat.
Technically, the unit we call calories in nutrition is actually kilocalories, so a single calorie is technically 1/1000’th of the amount of kilo-calories on the food labels. So go tell your friends that the yogurt they’re eating contains 8,000 calories and I’m sure you’ll get a good laugh, but then you’ll have to explain it to them, too!
For convenience, food labels doesn’t state ‘kilocalories’ but instead they simply write ‘Calories’ with a capitalized “C” in front which represents ‘Kilocalories.’
Counting Calories for Weight Loss
The principle behind losing weight by counting Calories is pretty simple but that doesn’t make it easy. Just think Calorie intake versus Calorie output. If you eat more Calories than you burn during the same period of time, then your body has to find somewhere to store the excess calories unless it is going to send them out.
So what does your body do with extra Calories? You guessed it, your body will store these for later use. Some of teh storage forms include sugars for immediate use, proteins for use in the body functions, and the body also stores the excess as fat as we’re all well aware of. That’s how we put on pounds if we aren’t mindful of the Calories in-Calories out concept.
On the other hand, you drop the pounds you’ve added through excess Calories by burning the stored fat. You do this by burning more Calories during a period of time than you ate.
So losing weight really boils down to burning more Calories worth of exercise and activities in a day than you ate in Calories that day.
So to start you’ll need to know how many Calories you’re burning in a day. You can do this by visiting our weight loss calculators.
As you settle on a number for your daily Calorie needs, you’ll consider your age, sex, weight, height and also the amount and level of activity that you participate in. These factors all go into consideration in arriving at an accurate figure.
Of course you would also want your Body Mass Index (BMI) to be within 19 & 25 because that is the healthy zone for most people (excluding people like body builders or people with high amounts of muscle). Anything above that range puts you into the overweight category and anything below that could also suggest that you’re underweight.
Okay so that said, a single pound of fat on your body typically takes about 3,500 calories to burn off. So if you want to lose 10 pounds of body weight, you’ll consider burning a total of 35,000 Calories. But don’t worry, when you start looking at how many Calories you’re consuming, you’ll be happy to find that you’ll be able to cut this amount out of your diet.
So next then, how can you achieve this? Well that just depends on how quickly you wanna lose the pounds! As an example, if you cut back 350 Calories per day from what you were consuming previously, you’ll drop one pound of weight in 10 days. (350 X 10 = 3,500.)
…But if you wanna lose more than one pound of body fat in 10 days, then you could consider eating 700 Calories less per day i.e 700 X 10 = 7,000 Calories. This would take it down to 2 pounds in 10 days. And I know this may sound like it’s too slow for what you want, but you will really start seeing results from doing this on a consistent basis.
How do you Count Calories in Food?
Essentially, to successfully use Calorie restriction and “count Calories”, you’ll need to have a good idea of how many Calories are in your food that you’re eating on a regular basis as well as any food you consume at special occasions.
Here’s a basic outline:
Carbohydrate – 4 Calories/gram
Protein – 4 Calories/gram
Fat – 9 Calories/gram
But you really don’t need to look at this as much if you focus on the total Calories in your serving. A the same time you’ll begin to realize that some foods pack a lot more in Calories than others of course… i.e. sweets, junk foods, etc.
Fat holds twice as many Calories as carbohydrate and protein. So foods high in fat will add up quickly.
But there is theory and way of approaching weight loss that doesn’t buy into the fact that avoiding fat will get you the weight loss you want. But we won’t get into that. We’ll just focus on the fact that if you restrict your Calories through discipline, you’ll get the results.
Using your food labels and the internet or a handy app for your phone, you’ll be able to easily sum up how many Calories are in your food. Fiber gets a lot of attention because fiber content in food really doesn’t count towards Calories because it isn’t digested. On the contrary, it’s healthy for your digestive track and helps your overall health in that manner. But make sure you understand that you’ll be more regular if you start adding a bunch of fiber to your diet.
Here you can track your Calories through your stats section. Right alongside your body weight, you’ll instantly see the correlation between reducing Calories and your body weight going down as well. Add to that the element of weight loss competition at work and you’ll have the great ingredients for weight loss success.
As an example, if you wanted to go crazy and really start to understand Calories in your food that come from fat, protein, and carbohydrates. You could look at your nutrition label and see 20 grams fat, 10 grams protein and 30 grams carbohydrate. Just multiply each gram of fat by the number 9, each gram of protein by the number 4 and each gram of carbohydrate by the number 4. Then add them up to get the total Calorie content in your food.
So in that example, it would be approximately 180 + 40 + 120 totally 340 Calories for that food.
There are lots of online calorie counting apps and programs that remove the headache of counting your Calories. Most of these will easily handle Calories in Vs Calories out and will take into account your level of physical activity. Just faithfully do what Weight Loss Calorie App tells you to do and enjoy the results – a new lighter you.
Healthy products vs non healthy products
It looks healthy……but it’s not!
Joke’s on you, my friends!
Did you know there is a plethora of food out there that you have been tricked into thinking is healthy, but that is in fact NOT healthy? Rude, I know! How dare people go around convincing us that a fast food salad with extra dressing and a diet coke is a meal that’s going to help us lose weight! The nerve!
Time to set the record straight: Here’s some sneaky unhealthy food posing as healthy food. Don’t let their disguise fool you.
1. Yogurt with fruit
The fruit is only healthy if it’s fresh. Most yogurts with fruit in it have been sweetened and therefore contain twice the amount of sugar as plain yogurt. What start out as a good attempt quickly turns to a not-so-healthy snack option.
TRY THIS INSTEAD: Plain yogurt with fresh fruit added to it. If it’s too tart for you, try a natural sweetener like fruit that is naturally sweet or honey.
2. Fruit juice
Don’t be tricked by the gigantic apple on the carton and the huge banner that proclaims “100% Juice!” Even 100% juice most often contains sugars- usually fructose. Too much fructose leads to obesity and bad cholesterol. These juices also have added preservatives and thick sugar syrup to maintain the color and consistency of the juice.
TRY THIS INSTEAD: Use your own fruit to make your juice in a juicer or a blender. (You can even add things like spinach and you’ll never taste it blended in with all that fruit.) It won’t be as sweet, but so much healthier.
3. Diet Carbonated Drinks
I myself am a diet coke addict, so I hate to admit that there is not one healthy thing about diet soda. The best word to describe diet drinks is artificial. Everything is artificial in these sodas- that includes sweeteners, colors and flavors. All in an attempt to make the diet drink taste like the original.
TRY THIS INSTEAD: My dad used to say that if you’re trying to lose weight never to “drink your calories”. Sorry folks, but the best replacement here is good old fashioned water. Water is the best option because it quenches your thirst without adding on the pounds. If you want a little flavor add fruit to the water- a lemon or a lime. Get crazy with the fruit- I even like putting berries in my water!
4. Low fat dressing
Don’t be fooled by the “low fat” tag. In order to take out the fat in a product they have to throw in something to make up for it- more often than not sugar. They also add their fair share of the same “artificial” products that thrive in diet sodas- artificial colors, artificial flavorings, artificial sweeteners. Don’t let them trick you! (And while we’re on the subject of salad dressings- stay away from salads sold at fast food joints. They’re packed with preservatives and are no good for you. Stick to your own fresh salads.)
TRY THIS INSTEAD: A dressing that contains olive oils or vinegar is going to be a much healthier option. Or consider making your own dressing. There is a myriad of salad dressing recipes online and that way you can know exactly what you are putting into the dressing. These are often healthier, fresher- and not to mention cheaper- than store bought dressings.
5. Breakfast cereals and granola bars
While some cereal and granola is very healthy, much of it is packed full of sugars. Make sure you are paying attention to your cereal labels: It might make you sick when you realize how much sugar and salt is in it. And while it is true that granola has healthy grains and nuts, these are held together with sugary substances like corn syrup. Some granola bars even have chocolate chips, or marshmallows in them making them not much better than candy bars.
TRY THIS INSTEAD: Omelets are a great healthy breakfast food- eggs and vegetables galore! Cottage cheese is also a great option- good with nuts, fruit, or even tuna. (Did I just say tuna and cottage cheese together, oh my!) Or try a fresh fruit smoothie. (But be aware of what we talked about with fruit juice.)