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Can Calorie Counting Help You Lose Weight?
When you meet a dietician for a diet plan and share your weight loss goal and timeline, she will give you a calorie breakup with a chart. It is common to use for tangible dieting benefits. You can easily count calories and achieve your health goals. With calorie counting, you know where you are heading regarding your health. We widely use it for weight loss and gain.
However, with all benefits said, it lost its importance when dieticians took a fresh approach to help you manage your weight and health. They taught us more about nutrition, health, the whole-diet method, and its importance.
Unarguably, if you want to lose weight and lose it fast, you need to burn, and while doing so, you will calculate calories. The thumb rule is to burn more than you take in.
How do you measure how much you have taken vis-à-vis how much you have burnt?
Tracking Apps & Smartwatches
One handy way is to leverage tracking apps and smartwatches. You can use other wearables to measure and monitor calories in and out. It is back in vogue, even among youngsters who hardly started the health journey but are aware of all this.
Calories We Understand
It is the unit of energy, similar to gm, ounce, pound, kg, ml, mm, cm, etc. We often express food energy in one kcal equivalent to “1000 cal.” Food contains a certain amount of energy measured in calories. When we burn calories during workouts, exercises, or routine work, we consume the energy stored in the food.
One calorie of energy can increase the temperature of 1ml water by 10C. We express energy in kilocals, or “kcal,” which translates into 1000 cal.
Average Recommended Calorie Intake
Doctors recommend 2500 kcal per day for men and 2000 kcal for women. A variety of factors govern how many calories we need per day.
Factors include −
How active are you?
Are you fighting an infection or a wound?
Underlying health conditions
Ongoing treatment and medications
The calorie requirement can change over a period and varies day to day, so the average calorie requirement is a temporary guideline.
Counting Calories for Weight Loss
You count calories when you want to lose weight. Another critical term used in weight loss is called a calorie deficit. You can use your average calorie requirement with the help of online tools as a yardstick to identify your daily or monthly calorie requirement. Then, to create a calorie deficit for weight loss, you decide how many calories are less than the estimated calories you will intake.
When you create a calorie deficit, the body sense that you have taken less than the required calories. The body responds by using the stored body fat energy when possible to compensate for the calorie loss. It will help you burn excess fat and lose weight. But it is a dangerous game, like playing with fire, if you do not do it under the guidance of a qualified dietician or a specialist.
Count 600 kcal Per Day for the Deficit
As a general rule (not without consulting a dietician), weight loss programs create a deficit of 600 kcal from a diet change, lifestyle, and exercise to reduce weight. But be consistent in achieving your weight loss goals. If you find it difficult to sustain a 600 kcal deficit every day, leaving you hungry all day, or cannot balance your meals, choose a smaller deficit in calories you are comfortable with. You will lose weight, but slowly.
You might get tempted to lose weight fast, flaunt your figure among friends, and drastically cut eating. There are short-term, very low-calorie diets, but do not practice such drastic calorie deficit without help from a dietician, or else it can have severe health repercussions. These short-term diets are painful to sustain for a long and may create a nutrient deficit in you, causing health issues. Always go on a balanced diet.
Method to Count Calories
Counting calories does not work for every health aspirant, but it might work for you. Counting calories for weight loss is a straightforward approach, which means you can eat anything, and no food is off-limits.
However, it requires strict self-monitoring to help you lose weight faster and stick to your diet plan. You can note everything you eat and drink and the calories next to it to calculate your daily calorie intake.
It is ok if the calorie figures are not precise, just come as close to the exact as possible. Some apps count calories based on your food inputs and quantity. Most food and beverages mention the calories on the label, but check if it is a per serving of 100 gms or different.
Counting Calories helps Achieve Dietary Goals
You will define your goal based on calorie count intake and what you want to achieve daily. Based on your target calory intake, the diet plan may include eating five days a day, intermittent fasting days in a month, stopping sugar intake or adding it to your tea and beverages, avoiding sweetened beverages, or ordering from restaurants, instead cooking at home, avoiding binge eating or drinking, and keep track of calories you have taken.
Dieting does not mean starving or not eating your favorite food. It means to control and moderation. Include food from all major food groups. Plan your meals a week ahead and stick to them. Be realistic about what you can eat and what is available, and avoid being overambitious. Eating mindfully and staying physically active (exercising daily for 30 minutes or more) is the key to good health.
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