We briefly discussed calorie counting on Mondays ‘Coffee with J&J’ however I feel like I need to add a bit more information to that post.
I want to explain in more detail:
· What is calorie counting
· Its benefits
· Its drawbacks
· Whether you should do it or not
· What other options is there?
So let’s look at what calorie counting is, and make it a little bit clearer! Calorie counting is measuring every item of food & drink that you consume over the day & making a record of those figures & inputting them into software or an app which calculates your calorie, carbohydrate, protein & fat intake. Some apps also calculate your micro-nutrients (vitamins & minerals) too which I will mention later. Sounds like a lot of work right?
In fact, if you have an app (we use myfitnesspal) it actually becomes very easy. The App stores frequent foods & you can even create meals on the app so you don’t have to add multiple ingredients for e.g. you made a Bolognese. As long as you used the same amount of ingredients e.g. 125g of minced meat per person, then you can simply just tap your phone screen and be done with it. This isn’t the only form of counting calories either. If you, like many do not wish to add every item of food into an app, then you can follow a specific meal plan which will contain meals personally tailored to your calorie requirement! (This is included in our Fitness&Nutrition membership). That way, you just follow the ingredients & cook to your desire, not having to make any calculations at all.
You may still not be sold. So let’s talk about the benefits. Hopefully you watched some if not all of our #CalorieInspections (they are available to watch on our Facebook). What we found is that so often, people are either over consuming calories through sweets & drinks, or under-eating calories preventing them from losing weight. It was also very common that peoples calorie intakes fluctuated drastically over the course of 3 days. When we talk about losing weight, we know that we have to eat just below our TDEE. If you have no control over your calorie intake then it is very difficult to ensure that you are eating just below
… Hence calorie counting or following a meal plan. It enables you to eat freely but also ensures you do not over consume calories. This makes your goal become achievable at a much faster rate! Another benefit of tracking your calories is that you will not under eat. Under-eating is so common when we think we are eating healthy, but in fact it is very unhealthy if we do not provide our bodies with enough calories for energy & nutrients for our body’s processes. Counting calories or following a meal plan prevents this. Finally, before you fall asleep reading this… another positive outcome is that you can allow yourselves treats more regularly. As you know you have for e.g. 2000ckcals for the
day, and you’ve only consumed 1500kcals throughout the day, you have that remaining 500kcals spare. So yes, you can have a little treat, providing it’s within those calories. Note that doing this all day everyday will likely lead to deficiencies in important nutrients!
Okay so there must be some more drawbacks…
Yes, the time it takes to weigh your individual food items & type into an app and it is most people’s concern. But as a believer in counting calories, I like to say that most people can
spend 20 minutes scrolling Facebook on the phone in the evening, so why not spend that time doing something that’s going to help them achieve a personal goal. We can always find time, it’s just a matter of prioritising it. I understand it’s more difficult if you have a family to cook for, but it is possible with a little extra effort. Also planning meals ahead e.g. breakfast & lunch for the next 2 days will save a lot of time and hassle! Failing to prepare = preparing to fail. Starting by counting 1 or 2 meals a day is a great way to get into it & before you know it you’ll be measuring everything you eat. It becomes a fun habit... and that’s because it works!
People will try every diet under the sun, from eating no carbohydrates & feeling like a zombie, to drinking 5 apple smoothies a day instead of meals… but when you ask them to measure their portions it’s too much work! I believe if your goals are set, they are specific & achievable (and are either weight loss or gain) then tracking calories should be part of your regime. Like we said on Facebook Live, after a while of measuring you start to learn what certain foods contain in terms of calories and nutrients, and it becomes much easier to make a better choice with or without measuring.
We recommend that everyone counts calories for just a few days, to gain an insight on their nutritional intakes, that way if they discontinue to track, they can be more aware that they should try to eat more or less depending on the outcome. Finally, if this read wasn’t enough to sell you into recording your calories. Then we have just release our very first, own Recipe Pack, with you in mind! We have produced an e-book available to download now, with 25 nutritious meals & are so excited for people to try! All calories & macro-nutrients are counted for you, so you can start to get an idea of what you’re eating by simply following the recipes inside! The Pack is available in the store on our website! Thanks again for reading,