One of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to tracking their calories is not starting with the diet they are currently on. Create a meal plan based on what you currently eat and not what you plan on doing in the future, don’t make any huge changes as of yet.
To start we are just trying to get a rough estimate of the amount of calories we are getting from our diet. Just calculate the amount of food you are going to need for the day. Don’t worry about making too many changes at this point except for the quality of food that you’re eating.
Like pasta? Go with a whole grain wheat or rice variety. Same thing goes for breads, ditch the white bread for 100% whole grains. The idea here is to get rid of all the highly processed foods from your diet, especially ones high in sugar and fat.
One of the biggest problems when it comes to calorie counting is underestimating how many calories we are consuming. This is especially problematic when we are on the go and don’t have a scale or measuring cups to accurately portion out a meal.
Sometimes we incorporate something like a frozen yogurt for example in to our diets because we believe that it is healthy, only to find out that it is loaded with added sugar. The main point is being able to identify and recognize these issues when they arise.
Keeping a food journal is another tool that can help you identify over eating, to be honest most people don’t remember everything they ate throughout the course of a day let alone a week or month.
If you notice that you are over eating yet still cannot satisfy your hunger, you are going to have to alter your diet slightly. Look to add more protein to your diet, carrying around beef jerky for a snack or supplementing a meal with a protein shake can help you defeat your hunger.
This set takes a little bit of trial and error but you should be able to determine this within a week or so. After recording your meals for a while you will notice a general baseline for your caloric needs. This shouldn’t be exact numbers but should fall in a range of 100-200 calories a day or so.
This is the amount of calories you need to function properly without the fatigue and hunger that comes along with it. Once you find this zone so to speak, you can start to cut calories from that number.
If you want to cut calories you are going to want to look for meals rich in fat which are high in calories and swap them out with foods more protein or carbohydrate based. This will still fill you up but will reduce your caloric intake.
As a general rule of thumb, when cutting calories you don’t want to reduce them by more than 25% of what you normally would consume. This means that if you normally eat 2,000 calories a day, don’t reduce it by more than 500 to lose weight.
Remember, cutting this many calories is equivalent to eliminating an entire meal from your diet, so adjust your activity levels to compensate. Don’t cut calories followed up by an intense gym session.
No one wants to measure out to precise amounts and calorie count for every single meal that they make. Make it easier on yourself by basing some of your meals around the same types of foods.
This way you can easily remember how to prepare each meal and how to properly portion it as well without having to dig through your journal or cookbook.
If you really don’t care about the variety in your food as far as taste is concerned, you could even get away with eating the same things every day. Meals like chicken, rice and broccoli are staples in the weightlifter’s diet for a reason.
Don’t worry about being too precise, when you are eating healthy you don’t have to deprive yourself. Don’t be afraid to treat yourself on occasion by adding a little fat or sugar to your meals to give them a little more flavor.