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Calorie Counting for Beginners

When it comes to losing weight, different plans often yield varying results for individuals. Low-carbohydrate, low fat, high protein – all the plans are out there. What to all of these have in common though? They all put your body on a low-calorie diet. When it comes down to it, weight loss is a simple equation. Fewer calories taken in will equal greater weight loss over time. It doesn’t matter if it’s a gram of fat, carbohydrate, or protein – if you take in more calories than your body needs, you will gain weight.

Before getting into the science of dieting, understanding what a calorie actually is of the utmost importance. According to Google dictionary, a calorie is the energy needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius. To put it more simply, calories are the fuel that you put in your body to perform everyday tasks. Your body is burning off calories right now, no matter what it is that you’re doing. The number of calories you are burning depends upon your current weight, height, and gender. To find out an average of the number of calories you burn in a normal day, go here to input your information. Other more precise methods exist, but they are solely at your discretion. Often these tests are expensive, but if you prefer an exact count then an RMR – or resting metabolic rate (calories you burn without activity) test is the one for you.

Once you determine how many calories you can eat in a day without gaining any weight, you can begin calorie counting. To lose weight at a safe rate, medical experts recommend around a five hundred calorie deficit from your daily diet. A pound of fat is 3,500 calories. If you eliminate five hundred calories from your diet each day, over the course of a week you will lose one pound. It is your personal decision how many calories you wish to eliminate from your diet, you can also add in exercise if you don’t want to give up the foods you love. For instance, if you eliminate two hundred calories from your everyday diet and supplement it with three hundred calorie’s worth of exercise each day you will also lose weight at the rate of one pound a week. Both restricting your calories and exercising will obviously yield the quickest results, but experts recommend that women don’t go below 1,200 calories a day and that men don’t drop below 1,500.

Learning the calorie counts to foods can take some time, but it’ll become second nature. Required by the Food and Drug Administration, packaged foods now include their nutrition information along with their product. The information isn’t as confusing as you might think. For instance, let’s take a look at this Fiber One bar. In one bar, there is one hundred and forty calories. If you are aiming for a fourteen hundred calorie a day diet and eat this as a snack, you’ll have 1260 calories left to “spend” for the day.

But what about foods that don’t have nutrition labels on them? Apples, oranges, fruits, vegetables, et cetera. Without a food scale, there’s no proper way to determine exact calories. Scales are inexpensive, are often small and don’t take up too much space. If you choose to be without a scale, estimation becomes key.

For actual calorie counting, applications are available online and on many mobile devices. MyFitnessPal is a popular, easy to use application. You type in what you’ve just consumed and MyFitnessPal keeps track of it in its database. At the end of the day, when you’re done eating, you can submit your food log”and see how much weight you can lose in five weeks at the rate you are going. The program is free and easy to use. Other popular calorie counters are SparkPeople and CalorieCount. It’s a matter of personal preference which one you decide to stick to.

In summary, calorie counting and weight loss is a simple mathematical equation. Take in fewer calories than your body needs and you will lose weight. Experts recommend not going below 1,200 calories a day for women and 1,500 a day for men. Calorie counting is a matter of choice, and while some people don’t enjoy it you may find that there’s a counter in you after all.


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