Say what? Is that really a diet? There are a lot of diet plans and weightloss guides out there that tell you that calories do not matter. This may seem very liberating! The danger is are you eating enough? If you’re not, you could possibly be ruining your long term fitness gains.
Diet on the Most Calories Possible
It’s pretty common that people hate to count their calories. Including the individuals who will do anything to get to their fitness goals. Goodbye to gluten, wine or whatever else! They will cut out any food necessary in their diet. Do you know anyone like this? However, when it comes to counting their daily calorie intake they simply don’t want do it. Of course, calorie counting can be a tedious and a bit boring. I get it. That’s why so many diet plans out there promote that you can lose weight without doing it. Can you? Of course, but there are quite a few reasons why such a random approach is not in your best interest. Tracking is where it’s at.
Our age, our genes and even daily lifestyle and activity are huge pieces to how many calories you need in a day. If you are following a general diet plan you run the risk of not eating sufficient food to fuel your body. If you don’t eat enough you can put serious wear and tear on your metabolism. This can lead to a whole host of health issues. In many instances, your body may attempt to hold onto the fat that is stored because it goes into starvation mode.
If you need 1600 calories, but are only getting about 1400 you are going to be starving. Like ALL the time. You can only keep it up for so long before you “go off” the reservation and pretty much eat everything in sight. This yo-yo effective will put you in a worse place than were you started. You may even end up gaining weight. The very thing opposite of what you truly wanted or needed. This is part of the reason that any diet gets as bad rap. A diet is pretty much the equivalent of deprivation in our minds.
Plus if you can eat 1600 calories why would you only eat 1400?
Small Cuts, Big Gain
The weight loss will stop sooner if you make really big cuts. There’s nowhere else to go after a certain point. However if you plateau you can cut down 50 more calories without feeling deprived. Severe calorie restriction can actually promote muscle loss. Slow decreases will promote the loss of fat.
Calorie Counting Benefits
I believe calorie counting can actually be very helpful if you use it in the right way. It’ll reveal little ways you can cut back without eliminating too much. Maybe you could use a little less hummus on your pita or less peanut butter on your apple. However, these are small changes our bodies can adjust to more easily. 50 calories is typically good to begin to start to work towards weight loss.
If you really want a treat or a glass of wine you can easily work that into your calories rather than living on lettuce and “saving up” the calories you need to allow that extra bit. Mentally you can choose what’s more important to you. The treat or more food in your meal. There’s less guess work and can create a balance in your choices.
A Diet Calculator
There are so many calculators online now that allow you to input your food on the most available device possible. Hello, when are we ever without our phones? I’m pretty much glued to mine.
My Fitness Pal is a good one to use because it’ll give you guidelines on what you should eat in a day. It’s not perfect so you do have to play around with the numbers to see what works for you. I also do not recommend inputting your workout or exercise. These estimates are often very skewed. It’s pretty much better to leave it out of the equation. For example, lifting weights will show very little calorie burn compared to a run or HIIT. However, we know there is a long term effect of using those weights. The calorie burn? Not as high as one would think.
Get to Your Goals
Do not pick a random number. If are looking to start a diet I would recommend trying calorie counting for a week. This will help you evaluate where you right now. You can then form an effective diet plan that works for you. The goal is to cut your calories very gradually because realistically you do not want to lose more than a half a pound to a pound in a week. That’s it? Yes, it can be frustrating. However, the reward will be that the gradual weight loss will be more long term. Crash diets and quick fixes are not a solution. Plus, you’ll just end up super cranky in the process and have dreams of donuts floating on your bedroom ceiling. Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to your fitness.
Calorie counting is not the only way. However, I think it is an efficient way to count your calories and take the guess work out of it all.
This is the scale (affiliate link) I own. It’s affordable and provides a reliable reading.
How About You?
- Do you ever track your calories?
- If so, what’s your method?