The Importance of Calorie Tracking

ImageOne of the reasons why I was so successful at my weight loss goal, and why I have been able to keep the weight off and become a cleaner eater, is because I track my calories. Now I KNOW this sounds tedious, annoying and plain old not fun. I admit I used to feel the same way about tracking calories. I used to look at it like an extreme, as if it was a way of obsessively “controlling” what I was eating. But the fact of the matter is, you simply can’t remember every single thing you eat, or know how many calories you’re putting into your body, without tracking them. And if you’re serious about wanting to lose weight, or even just monitor your sodium or sugar or fat intake, you HAVE to write down what you’re eating.

People always underestimate what they eat and OVERestimate how many calories they burn, which, in turn, results in unwanted extra pounds. Many people also don’t know how much a portion of a certain food actually is, and take in way more than their fair share. We also generally don’t know how bad (or how good!) we’re eating until all the facts are right there in front of us. And it can be a revelation! Trust me, this is the magic key to the lock you’ve been trying to open for all these years. All the years of fearing calorie counting, of relying on overexercising, or undereating, or estimating what you’re eating, will prove to you that your method isn’t working. It’s time to try something that is scientifically proven to work. (By the way, did you know that eating just 100 extra calories a day could make you gain 10 pounds a YEAR? It’s no wonder it’s so hard to lose weight when we don’t know how many calories we’ve been eating.)

A really common mistake that some people will make is trying to eat virtually nothing, and exercise until it hurts, and then complaining that they just CAN’T lose weight, that NOTHING they tried works. NEWS FLASH! You cannot lose weight, let alone be HEALTHY, by starving yourself. When you starve yourself, your body literally hangs onto every single piece of food it gets, and converts it to fat, which is stored. Your body is really smart. It is protecting you. So while you’re busy running on the treadmill and eating a carrot for supper, your body is in survival mode. Don’t be mad at your body for this, LOVE your body for this. It is trying to keep you alive by storing all your food as fat. We can use this valuble information to our advantage. Because we know how our bodies work, we can do exactly the opposite and achieve amazing results. So if this describes you, or anyone you know, you now know what to do… EAT!!!!!

The notion of a calorie has been the same since the begining of time. It is never going to change. There will never be a more effective and real way to lose weight, stay at the same weight, or gain weight, than staying within your calorie range. This is different for everyone, depending on age, height, weight, exercise level, gender, and desires. Here is a great website that can help you find approximately how many calories you should be consuming per day if you wish to lose, maintain, or gain: http://www.freedieting.com/tools/calorie_calculator.htm There are many others, google it for yourself, look up the information for yourself, it will seem that much more real and true.

Another benefit that calorie tracking will have is that when we write down everything we eat, we actually SEE what we eat. Many of us mindlessly eat, when we’re bored or stressed or tired, and tend to “forget” about it. Or we slather on the butter, or the cheese, or the ketchup, passing it off as nothing, when in fact, all these things really DO add up!

Let me give you an example. Two summers ago, in a frenzy, I decided to “give up” carbs. I know I know, bad Laura. Well, I honestly didn’t know any better and I didn’t know what to do anymore! I had been on and off Weight Watchers since high school, I was working out for two hours every day, and nothing was working. Like many others out there, I believed carbs to be the bad guys, and banned them. I was doing Insanity at the time, so I thought, ALRIGHT, I’m going to be super fit after these two months! And do you know what happened after two months!!?…. NOTHING. If anything, I GAINED weight. I thought because carbs were out, and I was burning over 600 calories a day (see? OVERESTIMATING!), I could eat double of everything else. Vegenaise, ketchup, sauces, dips, avocado, salsa, daiya slathered everywhere, TONS of tofu and a few glasses of wine a few nights a week was what my diet comprised of. I was a major junk food carb-free vegan. But I did cheat, and when I did, it was seldom a slice of bread, it was the WHOLE damn baguette.

When I decided to buy Turbo Fire, and read what Chalene had to say about tracking calories, as skeptical as I was, I knew she was right. And I knew it was time. So I downloaded the fitness application on my iPhone called “My Fitness Pal Calorie Tracker”. I plugged in my information, set up my account, and starting tracking every single thing I ate. And I have NEVER looked back. I saw the pounds falling off, I saw the results. As I saw results, as I worked hard and pushed myself, I realized I needed to eat healthier. I needed to eat cleaner. I can’t be doing all this hard work for nothing! Being fit isn’t just about counting calories and exercising. It is about feeding your body with good, clean, healthy fuel, training like an athlete and eating like an athlete! You can’t out train a bad diet, healthy eating and fitness go hand in hand.

I’m going to encourage all of you to download this application onto your iPhones or iPods or iPads. You can also track online at http://www.myfitnesspal.com/. You fill in some info about yourself and your goals, and VOILA. There is a list of foods already built into the app, so you can use it when you have no data (I used it in Italy!). While you’re on WIFI or have got data, there are more options, but you can still function very well without. Once you start adding in foods, it memorizes the foods you use frequently. You can add your friends on the app, encourage each other, copy each others meals. Whenever you exercise, you log in the activity you did as well, and it calculates it all up for you. It also shows you the nutritional breakdown of each individual food item, as well as a general breakdown of all your macronutrients during the day. You can see if you had enough iron, vitamin c, protein, calcium, etc. It’s really amazing and informative!

It is really a breeze and becomes second nature. TRUST ME!

Let’s recap:

– eating just 100 extra calories a day will result in a 10 pound yearly weight gain
– we underestimate calories eaten and overestimate calories burned
– under eating causes weight gain!
– you can’t starve yourself lean
– train like an athlete, eat like an athlete
– being fit is about eating clean, healthy, whole foods, not just about calories and exercise
– the QUALITY of the calorie is more important than the quantity
– whether you want to lose weight, gain weight, maintain your weight, you need to track your calories
– it becomes second nature, and it is important
– for lasting, life-long results… JUST DO IT! You won’t be sorry. Promise.

As always, thank you for reading! And don’t hesitate to contact me for anything 🙂

Peace, love and health,

xxLaura

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6 thoughts on “The Importance of Calorie Tracking

  1. On my fitness pal my daily calorie intake is 1490 but on the link you sent it says 2082 (to maintain my current weight). What do you think?
    xo great post

    1. On that website it takes into account exercise, so it assumes you have already worked out! In your case, you work out and add it in seperately, so you get approximately that many calories a day anyway. And the days you go over a bit, it all balances out! It’s a tricky equation, I’ve checked many sites and done a lot of research, and I find that site and MyFitnessPal work well together (but it took me a while to figure it out!) xx

  2. Hi! Nice post! I waa wondering what your account is on mfp? Mine is SarahSilkSugar. I love following new people on there and you ‘re very inspirational 🙂

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