Counting calories for weight-loss without a doubt can be a tedious task, and can add extra work on top of other daily activities in our hectic lives, but like many things in life, extreme measures are needed for desperate situations!
Well, I'm not sure I would call Counting Calories an extreme measure. Rather it's something outside the normal routine, and possibly is a "necessary evil" for some of us to achieve effective weight loss -- you get the point. So when do you start counting calories? Let me list some scenarios and see if any of them fit you...
- If you keep telling yourself that your new year's resolution is "I will fit in my old clothes", but it hasn't happened since the late president Nixon resigned, then maybe Counting calories for weight-loss is a good idea!!
- You workout everyday for a reasonable time (45-60minutes) and still can't get rid of your love handles and your beer gut, then probably counting calories for weight-loss can help to solve the mystery!
- You exercise hard and smart, and you're gaining muscle size, but you can't see it. You can only feel it. In that case think about counting calories for weight-loss!
- You avoid the ultimate question, "honey, do I look fat", or start sneezing when your wife or significant other asks about her figure. In this situation, it's time to start counting calories for weight-loss...TODAY!
- Start counting calories for weight-loss ASAP if you enter the gym and they say "hey, BIG GUY", and you're not sure why, moreover you're not feeling so happy about it!!!
- If you won't go swimming in public without your T-shirt on, uhmm...then maybe you should know more about your food calories and how to control the damage through counting calories for weight-loss so you don't have to wear your T-shirt for swimming!!!
- Last but not least, you should learn from this moment on how to counting calories for weight-loss, if you just sold your clothes on E-bay and switched from regular pants to pants with an expandable or elastic waist band! Talk about extreme measures for desperate situations!!!
So do you fit into any of these scenarios? Do any of these sound similar to your experiences? Do you see yourself getting close to any of these situations?
Even though you're exercising hard and smart (45-60 minutes), on a consistent basis, getting enough sleep, are fairly active during your rest days (recreational activities), and you think you're eating healthy and getting enough calories, but you still have excess weight (body fat that is) to lose can't get rid of it, then you maybe you should start counting calories for weight-loss to identify where the problem is and correct it.
If you do, you may have just solved your greatest mystery!
Start Counting Calories for Weight-Loss and Observe
Energy Balance = Calories ingested - Calories burned
-When you eat more food than your body can burn, then you'll have Positive energy balance.
-And when your body is burning more calories than you're eating, then you have Negative energy balance.
-Finally, when your caloric intake equals your caloric expenditure, then you have a Maintenance energy balance (where you don't lose nor gain weight).
Therefore, if your goal is to lose weight, you need to eat less calories or workout more so you can achieve a negative energy balance.
Since the scope of this article is on counting food calories, and not altering your exercise routine, let's focus on counting calories to achieve effective weight loss.
If your objective is to lose weight, then you need to consume slightly less calories (about 10-15 % less calories) than your maintenance daily caloric intake.
And the same thing goes for individuals who want to gain weight (gaining muscle mass), you'll need to consume more calories (10-15 % more) than your maintenance daily caloric intake.
How do you know what your maintenance daily caloric intake is in the first place? I explain this in detail in Nutrition & Exercise but here is a formula to estimate your daily maintenance calories (DMC)...
Women: Your Weight in pounds (X) 15 calories/pound = Your DMC
Men: Your Weight in pounds (X) 16 calories/pound = Your DMC
So, let's assume you are a female who weighs 160 pounds, and calculating the daily maintenance calories, your DMC is 2400 calories. If you noticed, I didn't say calculate 10-15 % below your daily maintenance calories, which would be your negative energy balance, because the added resistance and aerobic training you are doing will put you in a negative energy balance automatically.
In this example, if you eat three meals a day then each meal should consist of 800 calories.
Get a calorie counter booklet to count your food calories for each meal to make sure you don't eat more than your maintenance caloric intake. Observe the effects of this added step for 10-15 days and see are you losing a reasonable amount of weight (about 1-1.5 pounds per week), not losing weight, or in the worst case, gaining weight. Then start to adjust accordingly.
Don't rely on your memory to keep track of what you ate this morning and for the last few days. Also, don't rely on Post-it Notes, or the back of an envelope (seriously!). Instead, get a small organizer or notebook, and record all your meals and count their calories, and then observe if you're on the right track or not.
You have the power and the tools to identify the problem that's keeping you from achieving your effective weight loss goals, and the opportunity to fix it so that you can reach your goals successfully!
I can't tell you how rewarding it is to put this little extra effort into counting calories. You'll begin to see yourself progressing toward your goal! Besides, do you really want to switch to those elastic waistband pants!