Take the fear out of counting calories.by Matt Freeman on 01/26/14
If you are anything like me, you have thought about trying every diet fad you have seen to lose those extra pounds and never once really sat down to understand what “calorie counting” truly is about. Calculations like “basal metabolic rate (BMR)” and “total daily energy expenditure (TDEE)”, strike fear and confusion within people who do not commonly associate with such terms.
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Let’s just break things down into the simplest ideas. Your body runs on calories. At your current bodyweight and activity level, you must eat a certain amount of calories to maintain your current weight. If you are finding yourself maintaining your weight consistently for months, then the first step to start losing weight is to reduce your calorie intake. By reducing your calorie intake, your body will no longer be getting the amount of calories it needs to maintain your current bodyweight and will begin to shed pounds until it reaches a weight that equals the amount of calories you are eating.
To lose 1 pound a week, you must eat 500 calories under your maintenance calories, for a week.
If you eat 2000 calories a day and are maintaining your current bodyweight, then by eating 1500 a day, you can lose 1 pound a week.
Now, all you have to do is:
1. Calculate your activity level and maintenance calories here: http://www.bmrcalculator.org/
· Fill out the form to calculate BMR, then scroll down and find the “calories burned per day” that fits your activity level.
2. Assess how many calories you are currently eating per day
· I highly suggest using www.myfitnesspal.com or the MyFitnessPal smartphone app. Count your calories on everything you eat for a full week if you can and compare that to the results above.
3. Adjust those calories to meet your weight loss/gain goals
· After adjusting your calories to stay “within the calories burned per day” range found above, subtract 500 every day to lose 1 pound a week.
4. Stay on track.
· Stay motivated and have fun. Counting calories may feel like a chore sometimes, but it allows you to never feel the guilt of eating if you know you are staying within your calorie limit.
If you decide to use My Fitness Pal. It will help you calculate your BMR and activity level and makes things easier. Especially when keeping track of your calories.