Getting Started with Weight Loss and Calorie Counting
Article by Lita Mar
When getting started with weight loss people are often fearful or resistant of the process of learning to count calories. These feelings most often arise because you don’t know how to count calories or because counting calories seems cumbersome or simply because people have a fear of discovering how many calories they are actually consuming.
Everyone knows that to lose fat, they need to eat less. Therefore, simply reducing the portion sizes you consume without actively “counting” calories will of course have a positive impact on your weight loss efforts. But ultimately, this will not be enough to get you to the body of your dreams. You will get your fastest results by making a systematic and quantifiable reduction in calorie consumption rather than through guess work.
While we know it is not possible to achieve 100% accuracy counting calories, it is important to narrow down your calorie consumption with as much precision as possible. For optimal results it is CRITICAL for you to familiarize yourself with the calorie contents of the foods you will be eating so that you will be able to execute the calorie recommendations.
Counting calories and learning how to eat your own foods in moderation doesn’t have to be a complicated process. There are many free online tools and websites available to help you learn how many calories are in your favorite foods and how to count them. These websites keep databases with nutritional information for whole foods and brand name foods you buy at the grocery store. Many even allow you to input your own recipes for nutritional analysis. These tools provide you an easy way to log your foods and they do all the calorie counting and nutritional analysis for you.
My favorite websites for this purpose are:
www.livestrong.com/myplate (this is what I use)
Most of these websites also offer free smartphone applications so that you can easily access and track your nutritional information even when you are away from home.
It is very important for you to develop a method of learning to eat the foods that YOU like for the rest of your life in appropriate quantities so that you will be able to maintain your new body after you are finished with your fat loss goals.
Here is how to start making your very OWN food plan using foods you enjoy….
1.) Make a short list of your current favorite daily food choices when you eat at home.
2.) Make a list of foods you think are “healthy” that you would be willing to tolerate eating regularly.
3.) Make a list of the higher calorie “treat foods” that you enjoy eating.
These lists don’t have to be very long or detailed. If you think about it, there are probably just a handful of things you eat regularly. For the average person each of the three lists should contain no more than 5 or 6 items.
You know your own habits better than anyone. And you know what you are likely to eat in a repeatable fashion. Remember, with the Venus Factor system, you have PERMISSION to be “imperfect”. So, don’t think of your lists in terms of “If I was a really PERFECT dieter, I would eat THIS.” Rather make lists of convenient foods you LIKE to eat that you know you would eat regularly.
Next, take your lists and go to your calorie counting tool and look up the calories for each food. Write down the serving size and calories next to each item you have listed. Now you have your own list of “go to” foods and you are armed with the knowledge about how calorie dense these items are. This will help you to make better and more well informed strategic decisions directing how you eat. Now you can start to mix and match your favorite food items to develop daily meal plans that will work for you and fit your lifestyle.
After you have completed your food calorie discovery work, decide what you think is a workable plan for your upcoming week’s meals and assemble any needed groceries. Don’t forget to purchase measuring tools such as measuring cups, spoons and an inexpensive digital food scale if you don’t already have them.
Each day, use your new online calorie counting tool to quickly input your meals and snacks. Be sure to log everything you eat. You probably won’t be perfect your first few tries. Don’t worry about that, just do your best. If you eat a little too much some days, you’ll have a good idea why and you can make the appropriate changes to your plans.
Soon you will be able to look back over your food log and see that you have developed your OWN style of low calorie eating and that you tend to make the same choices over and over again. After that, it becomes much easier and you won’t have to count calories with the same level of intensity. That is how you learn to figure out how much is appropriate to eat.