13 November 2015

5 Ways to Take the Hard Work Out of Counting Calories...


Sitting on my butt drinking tea, eating cake and feeding baby all day is definitely starting to take it's toll...mostly on my bum. Ugh. That means that I'm going to have to do something about it fairly soon otherwise people are going to start asking when the next baby is due, whilst I brush the crumbs off my mouth and mumble "I had it three months ago" in shame. 

I've loved having a break from worrying about my weight and making up excuses as to why I can't exercise, but today's guest post has given me a little kick up the backside to start thinking about counting my calories to help shift some of my baby cushioning before I put on more weight than I did throughout my entire pregnancy. I blame Mum and her yummy homemade gluten free lemon drizzle cake. Ugh. Pass me a carrot (cake?)...

So you’ve decided to take the plunge and finally lose those extra pounds. When it comes to weight-loss, the basic principle is calories-in, calories-out. Counting how many calories you consume on a daily basis can be a bit of a pain at first, but don’t worry – there are ways to make it work. Here are five ways to make calorie counting easier:


1. Start a food journal


If you have never counted calories before, you should be aware that it’s a little harder than it looks. If you imagine the average meal, you might be counting more than four or five individual components – all of which need to be accurately measured. As you might have guessed, doing this all this from memory isn’t the most reliable way to count calories. One of the best ways to ensure that your calorie counting is as accurate as possible is to start a food journal.

Your food journal doesn’t necessarily have to be created using a pen and paper, as most mobile phones now have a facility to record notes. So, every time you cook, make a list of the ingredients and quantities you use before you eat. Every time you eat out, ask the service staff for the calorie content of what you’re eating – a lot of restaurants offer this information as a matter of course these days. 

Remember, it’s no good adding your calories up at the end of the day, as you may have already over-eaten. Instead, keep a running total throughout the day, so you always know how many you have left. 



2. Use a digital calorie counter

If you struggle to find the time for meal planning and calorie counting, there are technological solutions available to you. For instance, the Fitbug workout tracker – a small, portable device, it goes wherever you go. As well as tracking your physical activity and sleeping patterns, this discreet tracker feeds information to a user-friendly dashboard – on which you can track the calories you burn and consume. Counting calories this way allows you to manage exercise and diet in the same place. 


3. Use calorie books and charts


There will sometimes be very complicated foods (or foods that don’t have nutritional information printed on a label) that you eat on a regular basis. Instead of scouring several sources for calorie data, buy yourself a book or chart of calorie contents. These books can be picked up from major book retailers and from leading weight loss companies. Usually listed by category in alphabetical order, the major foods you will eat on a regular basis can be found in a matter of seconds. 


4. Use meal plans


One major problem a lot of people face when embarking on a calorie controlled diet is the issue of over-eating early in the day. If you consume 90 percent of your calories before dinner, your evening meal options are going to be very limited indeed. However, by planning every meal the day before, you can be certain that your daily calorie allowance will keep you reasonably satisfied throughout the day. Meal plans also allow you to budget and avoid unexpected food bills at supermarket checkouts. 



5. Use online calorie counters

When you have access to the Internet, you can call up the calorific content of thousands of different foods in seconds. Simply enter the food you’re looking for on an online calorie counter – many of which are free – and the information you need will be on the screen almost instantly. However, it’s important to check that the online calorie counter uses information from a reputable source, such as the USDA or the Department of Health. 

Counting calories isn’t difficult, but it can be time-consuming, and it requires you to take an organised approach. With a few tools and some forward planning, you can control your calories and lose the weight once and for all.

How do you manage your diet? Do you use any of the featured tips? 

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