Calorie counting is a great and easy way to reach your weight loss goals. The foundation is built on monitoring your caloric intake and expenditure. Most doctors recommend eating a minimum of 1,200 calories each day, because your body's metabolism will begin to slow down to compensate for the loss in energy. Follow these guidelines to see positive results the next time you step on the scale.
1. Make a Calorie Budget
Look at counting calories as being similar to a financial budget. You will have an allotment of calories that you can spend when eating. If you eat too much early on in the day, you will have to cut back on your evening intake, or you can exercise to make up the difference. If you know that you want to splurge on dessert tonight with your friends, eat less earlier in the day. When you have a calorie budget, you don't have to deny yourself the foods that you really want. You just have to balance it so that you stay within your limit.
2. Keep a Food Journal
When you are counting calories, a food journal is essential for your success. Write down everything that you put in your mouth, including the serving size and calories consumed. You may also want to keep track of your exercise and calories burned. Your food journal will help you analyze your diet so that you can adjust it to fit your needs.
3. Read Labels
Labels are going to be the best source for information on the calories you are consuming. They will also specify the serving sizes. Remember that even low calorie foods may have higher amounts of fat. To be successful on any diet, you must not consume too much of either calories or fat.
After you read the label to determine what constitutes a serving, you need to measure out the amount. Most people try to "eyeball" their servings, which results in portions that are much larger than they should be. For quick and easy snacks to go, measure your servings ahead of time and store them in separate baggies or containers. Then they will be ready to eat when you need them.
5. Fill up on Fiber
If you are reaching your calorie limit each day but are still feeling hungry, make some changes. Get more bang for your buck by eating foods that are higher in fiber. Fibrous foods fill you up and help you feel satisfied longer. Instead of spending 150 calories on a serving of cookies, you could eat one or two pieces of fruit. The cookies will satisfy you for the moment, but then you will experience a sudden drop in blood sugar which will leave you tired and looking for more fuel. Fruit, on the other hand, will give you the energy and keep you from reaching from another snack an hour later. You could also eat a handful of nuts or some yogurt, both of which will satisfy your hunger without adding up to big calories.