To successfully shed some pounds, you need to use more energy than you consume. This means staying in a calorie deficit and moving more. But we all know it isn’t that easy!
Managing your food intake can be tricky and confusing, but we’re here to guide you through the basics. Here’s calorie counting 101.
What is a Calorie?
A calorie is a unit of measurement used to measure the amount of energy that people get from food and beverages. It can also refer to the energy spent on performing everyday activities like walking and even breathing. If you consume more food than you need, the excess calories get turned into fat. Consistently eating more than the food you burn results in weight gain.
How to Determine Your Calorie Needs
The number of calories you need every day depends on a variety of factors. These include your age, height, weight, sex, and how active your lifestyle is. Each person has a unique daily requirement. Although in general, the average woman requires 2,200 kcal a day. On the other hand, the average man needs to consume 2,700 kcal each day.
To lose weight, remember that the number of calories you burn should be higher than your intake. You may use this calculator to help you figure out how many calories you need to include in your diet. This counter uses the Mifflin-St Jeor equation, a trustworthy method of estimating one's caloric needs.
How to Measure Serving Size
Once you have figured out your estimated daily caloric needs, you must determine how much you are eating. To accurately count your calories, you must properly take note of food portions. Depending on your preference, you may use measuring cups or scales to measure portion size.
Comparison is another useful method to figure out serving size. For instance, a teaspoon of oil could be equivalent to a fingertip, while one serving of meat is roughly the size of a deck of cards.
How to Count Calories
Pay attention to the food label. It often contains vital information that will help you, like its nutritional value and the calorie content of each packet. It would also be best to take note of the suggested serving size indicated on the packaging.
You can use a calorie counting app or website to help you monitor your intake. The good news is a lot of these services are free. For instance, you can try the calorie checker of the UK's National Health Service. You can also check out MyFitnessPal's calorie counter on their website and mobile phone apps.
To figure out the total calories of a home-cooked meal, you must combine the caloric content of all the ingredients. You will need measuring tools, food labels, and a digital counter. Let's say you make an omelet for breakfast using the following ingredients: 6 eggs (420 kcal), 1 onion (55 kcal), 100 g of minced pork (162 kcal), and 3 cloves of garlic (6 kcal).
When you add up the caloric content of each one, you'll get a total of 643 kcal. If you eat a third of the omelet, you'll consume 214 kcal. If you pair it with a cup of brown rice (150 kcal), you'll eat a total of 364 kcal for that meal.
Mind Your Calorie Sources
The quality of your diet affects your overall health, so it's better to get your calories from healthy food instead of low-nutrition, high-calorie food. For instance, 200 kcal of wheat bread is a more nutritious alternative to 200 kcal of a glazed donut, even if they share the same amount of calories.
Minding your caloric intake coupled with healthy eating and regular physical activity will be effective in helping you trim down and stay in shape. Opting for healthier food options instead of high-calorie alternatives will help you maintain an ideal weight as well.
To make sure you’re on the right fitness and nutrition plan, we highly recommend that you consult with your doctor, fitness experts or registered nutritionists to guide you through your journey. Good luck!