Calorie Counting: Is It Necessary?

calorie counting

My Fitness Pal

Should you really worry about counting your calories? I’ve seen many fad diets claim that you won’t have to worry about calorie counting. The truth is, calorie counting is a fundamental and unavoidable part of any sustainable weight loss program (well, if you actually want results that is!). It’s the absolute best thing you can do to really get to know what you’re eating and establish healthy eating habits so you can replace the bad habits you might have. This is taking a “diet” to a lifestyle.

Common Calorie Counting Mistakes

As good as calorie counting is to do, there are some mistakes people commonly make when counting calories. Here are 5 common mistakes people make when calorie counting.

Calorie Counting Mistake #1 – Depending on Your Memory

I know this is one of the major areas where I personally fail. That little voice of laziness in my head tries to convince me that I’ll remember everything I ate all day when I’m doing my calorie counting and adding it up at night. But this is a guaranteed way to underestimate your calories for the day. The best thing to do is to keep a detailed food diary that you jot notes in all day long. I personally use the My Fitness Pal app on my phone. Keep a running tally of all the calories you consume throughout the day so you can stay within your daily limits. And don’t forget to take notes on your activity level and any digestive issues you may have. This will help you understand your body better in the long run.

calorie counting

Nutrition Facts

Calorie Counting Mistake #2 – Reading the Nutrition Facts Incorrectly

Are you familiar with the nutrition label on the food you have bought? If not then it’s time to get familiar with it. If you glance at the nutrition label and think you just read that your scoop of ice cream only contains 25 calories, you probably misread it. Look again! Other areas of the nutrition label to get familiar with is the amount of fat (and sources of fat), protein and carbs. This will make sure that you’re staying inline with your daily nutritional requirements. Calorie counting can seem tedious at first, but once you nail it, you’ll never look back!

Calorie Counting Mistake #3 – Estimating Restaurant Food Incorrectly

In one study, even nutritional experts had great difficulty accurately estimating the calorie values of five different restaurant meals. And these are the experts! If they are having trouble, can you imagine how inaccurate the average person would be when calorie counting? Another point, studies have shown that it’s more difficult to judge the number of calories in larger meals than in smaller ones. And since restaurants typically tend to serve larger portions, your “guesstimate” is more than likely going to be a pitfall in your daily calorie counting.

Calorie Counting Mistake #4 – Leaving Out the Liquids

Liquid calories are some of the hardest calories to count when you’re calorie counting. Milk, juice, soda, beer, creamer, condiments, they ALL have calories that are easy to miss. If you skip these calories it will be very frustrating when you get on that scale and don’t see any budging of the numbers. Write these calories down. As minuscule as they seem, they all add up!

Calorie Counting Mistake #5 – Acting Like All Calories are Equal

When calorie counting, realize that all calories are not created equally. Equality is a something that us as humans try to use to rationalize certain things. But equality in food is definitely NOT a characteristic for all calories. Calories come from healthy, nutrient-dense sources or from unhealthy, refined sugars and unhealthy fats. The key to proper nutrition is that you have to meet all your daily nutritional requirements even if you’re eating less calories than usual. This is why it is so important to make every calorie count! Leave out the “empty calories” that come from junk food, candy and soda. If you’re thinking that you can get away with having a banana split for lunch and just not eating any dinner, think again!

By avoiding these common calorie counting mistakes you will soon be on your way to hitting your weight loss goals! And remember, the number on the scale is only one indicator of success. Don’t forget to take your before and after photos and measurements to get the full picture of your success!

I truly hope this post will help you stay on track with your current nutrition plan and fitness goals. I know they have helped me a ton. Being able to eat clean and stay on track with your calories is tough but once you make the switch mentally to stay on top of it, nothing will be impossible for you!

If you need help staying on track with your nutrition plan and fitness goals or need the motivation to get back on track, sign up for your free Team Beachbody account so I can be your Free coach and then let’s connect on Facebook!

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