How to Count Calories to Lose Weight
Calorie counting is a great base for weight loss, giving people the specific guidance they need to stay on track. Unfortunately, many people are distracted by the numbers and end up spiraling out of control. Instead of strictly looking at the numbers, it’s important to look at where those calories come from. If you’re interested in a better way to diet, read on to learn how to count calories to lose weight the healthy way.
Living Off of Twinkies
Contrary to popular belief, you can have a diet of Twinkies and still lose weight if you count the calories—but does that sound healthy? One thing we focus on at Gloveworx is helping others learn how to count calories and measure their food the healthy way to lose weight. Measuring your food doesn’t mean just counting the calories. Instead, you have to look deeper to ensure that the components of the food are all there in healthy amounts. This system includes macronutrients, as well as the proportion of fat, protein, carbs, and calories in your food.
The Kind of Meals You Should Eat
The most important rule when dieting is to keep things basic. Each meal should have a base of protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats —also known as macronutrients. An example of an ideal dinner includes turkey breast (protein), brown rice (complex carbs), avocado slices (healthy fats), and bell peppers (vitamins and minerals). Although eating healthier will help you learn how to count calories to lose weight and instantly make a big difference to your weight and overall health, to get the results you really want, you need to include some weight lifting and exercises into your routine.
As you’re eating healthier, try not to look at just the calories. Look at the macronutrients to make sure you have nutrient-dense foods.
How to Count Calories to Lose Weight
Before you start, you need a good resource to help you count your nutrients. A food counting guidebook or online resources are most beneficial when counting.
Whenever you eat a meal, jot down the calories, protein, carbs, and fat in each food item. At the end of the day, you can add these up to see if you’ve reached your goal. Ideally, your goal should be focused on a ratio of carbs to protein to fat. A good ration to start with is 40/40/20— in other words, 40% of your intake should be carbs, 40% should be protein, and 20% should be fat.
For a standard 2,000 calorie diet, this breakdown means you should be consuming 800 calories of carbs, 800 calories of protein, and 400 calories of fat. Learn how to count calories to lose weight by converting carbs, protein, and fat into calories with this handy formula:
- 1 gram of protein = 4 calories
- 1 gram of carbs = 4 calories
- 1 gram of fat = 9 calories
This may seem a bit complex at first, but once you start writing everything down, you’ll be able to create daily meals based on your past notes.
Personalizing Your Diet
Since everyone is different, there’s no telling initially how the 40/40/20 ratio will make you feel. Some people are left hungry when following this ratio, so they should increase their protein intake and decrease their fat intake. If you find yourself having low energy all the time, try increasing your fats and reducing your carbs.
While these ratios are great guidelines to help you on your journey, they shouldn’t be an absolute. Play with the numbers a bit—learning how to count calories to lose weight—until you find the right ratio for you.
There are a lot of ways to lose weight. If you go with the philosophy of eating whatever you want and just count calories, you will lose weight. Unfortunately, you’ll lose weight and build muscle slower than a person who pays attention to macronutrients.
Ask a Gloveworx coach how to get started on a macronutrient diet and discover the difference it makes.