How To Count Calories & Calorie Counting Tips and Concept
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On this page, I'm going to reveal the principles behind calorie counting and how their daily application can benefit you and your weight loss goals today, tomorrow and the next.
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With so many dieting plans to choose from, it can all get so confusing when we want to lose weight…
…but learning how to count calories will enable you to not only lose those undesirable pounds of weight but can actually make you lead a healthy life style.
The main reason for this is, having the knowledge and skill to count calories gives you quite a good amount of control over what you eat. This skill is useful both in the short term as well as the long term.
Getting it right means you will be able to avoid yo-yo dieting.
So, What Is a Calorie?
A calorie is a unit of energy quite simply.
In scientific terms, a calorie is how much energy that is needed to increase the temperature of 1gram of water by 1 degree celcius but, in nutritional terms, a calorie represents the amount of unit energy in a pre-defined unit of food. The food could be carbohydrate, protein or fat.
The calories in our food are actually kilocalories, as a calorie represents the smallest measurable unit.
For convenience however, the label on food packaging does not say ‘kilocalories’ but they simply use ‘Calories’ with a capital “C” to represent ‘Kilocalories’ and if you want to go metric as some countries have, then the term ‘Kilojoules’ is used instead.
Calorie Counting for Weight Loss
The principle for losing weight from calorie counting is easy. It’s all about calorie intake and calorie output. If you consume more calories than you burn, then your body will have to do something with the excess calories.
What does the body do with the excess? It stores it for use at a later date which in some way is bad news because the body stores the excess as fat. That’s how we pile on the pounds.
In contrast however, you shed the pounds by burning the stored fat when you burn more calories than you consume.
So to lose weight, all you need to do is burn more calories than you consume.
You will need to know how many calories you need a day first.
See how to calculate ‘how many calories do I need a day’ here.
Also see the 'How To Count Calories' Step-by-step process here on more calorie counting tips
In the calculation of your caloric needs, your age, sex, weight, height and level of activity are all taken into consideration to arrive at an ideal figure (no pun intended).
Naturally, you would want your Body Mass Index (BMI) to fall between 19 and 25 because that is the healthy BMI zone. Above that range means you are overweight and conversely, below that suggests you are underweight.
Now here is the deal. One pound of body fat has about 3,500 calories in it. To lose one pound of weight means you have to burn a total of 3,500 calories.
How you go about achieving this depends on how fast you want to lose the weight. If you choose to cut back on 100 calories a day, then you will lose one pound of weight in 35 days i.e 100 X 35 = 3,500.
…but if you want to lose one pound of body fat a week, then you need to eat 500 calories less per day i.e 500 X 7 = 3,500 calories.
How About Counting Calories in Food?
Basically, to have success with your calorie count, you need to know how much calories are in the food you eat.
Here is a basic guide:
Carbohydrate – 4 Calories per gram
Protein – 4 Calories per gram
Fat – 9 Calories per gram
Now you can see why avoiding as much fat as possible is a good thing because
it contains twice as much calories as carbohydrate and protein.
Having said that, there is another school of thought that strongly believes avoiding fat is not the solution to weight loss.
Barry Groves is certainly one individual who belongs to this school of thought. Barry struggled for years with weight issues until he finally cracked it. His conclusion was that, eating fat was not his enemy.
We encourage all valid opinions regarding weight loss and Barry's opinions on the matter are quite interesting and informative too! His thoughts and conclusions are in a lovely, easy, bedtime reading that will open up your mind and expand your horizon....some more.
I will encourage you all to pick up a copy of the book from Amazon to see things from another interesting perspective. Simply clicking on the link below will take you straight to the relevant Amazon page. Go, check it out!
Natural Health & Weight Loss - Book by Barry Groves. Available from Amazon.
Using the basic guide, you can sum up how much calories there are in the food you want to eat looking at the nutrition label as most foods are a combination of all three components i.e fat, protein and carbohydrate.
Fibre content really doesn’t count because it is not digestible anyway and has no real caloric value.
For instance, if the nutrition label tells you, there is 20 grams of fat, 10 grams of protein and 30 grams of carbohydrate, then you calculate by multiplying each gram of fat by 9, each gram of protein by 4 and each gram of carbohydrate by 4 and then summing them up to give you the total calorie content of your food.
So in the above example, it will be 180 + 40 + 120 = 340 Calories
Most times you will need a weighing scale to have an accurate weight of the food you want to prepare to get the caloric content right.
As you can tell, this can be a drawback for some people who really want to watch what they eat.
Don’t despair because modern technology does provide nice, intelligent weighing scales that make the process a breeze.
Newline Digital Nutrition Calculator Kitchen Food Diet Scale, Silver is one of such products. It will weigh and tell you the nutritional components of the food of your choice. You select the name of the food and it will calculate the fat, protein, fibre, carbohydrate, cholesterol and indeed the calorie content of the food based on the weight. It also has the capability to keep a record of your foods in its memory as well. Nice, isn’t it?
Apart from that product, there are a variety of online calorie counting software that eliminate all the headache of getting your calorie counting right. The software basically does all the calorie intake Vs output calculations for you taking into consideration your level of physical activity. You only implement what the software tells you to do and enjoy the results – a new healthier you.
USDA Database – a database of calorie content of all foods.
Calorie Counting Software – a software that eases all the pain of calorie counting and fitness as well.
Newline Digital Nutrition Calculator Kitchen Food Diet Scale, Silver - a compact, accurate, small, easy to use, digital nutritional calculator that you wished you had years ago. Want to know that calorie content of that basic cup of coffee with cream and sugar, you are about to have. This device tells you straight away....you will know the calories in your food....before it goes into your mouth. Nice addition to your weight loss arsenal.