If you missed our post two weeks ago, we are digging into tracking your food. It can often be overwhelming and hard to figure out where to start. As I mentioned, I think food journaling is the perfect place to start for someone who is brand new to their food and really wants to get a feel for how food interacts with their body.
Moving from there, the next detailed step would be counting calories. Let’s dig into it.
Why Should You Track Calories?
At the end of the day body weight is determined by calories in, calories out. Yes, I know that sounds way too easy. Truth be told it is not really that easy because HEALTH really is a lot more than that.
Calories are here to tell you how much you eat vs. how much you are burning in energy each day. I often look at it as a step up from food journaling in terms of data. Not only are you tracking what you are eating, but you are starting to track how much you are eating.
It’s a great starting point for someone looking to lose weight and control their portion sizes.
Calories Sometimes Get A Bad Reputation
Calorie tracking is something that is often demonized for a variety of reasons.
- Many people rely on an app to give them a target number of calories to eat per day (that sometimes is too low and dangerous).
- It doesn’t necessarily help you eat healthier (just less).
- You don’t learn much about how your body reacts to food.
For what it’s worth, I agree that all of these are reasons to try something OTHER than tracking calories. However, I spent a better part of 6 years tracking calories and I have that tracking to credit as reasons I was able to overhaul what I ate.
Lessons were learned and while right now I have no intention of going back to tracking calories (I like more data), I do believe that despite its bad reputation calorie tracking is not bad if done correctly.
How Do I Calculate My Calorie Intake
This is your reminder that no adult can be healthy while eating 1200 calories a day. A toddler should be eating about 1200 calories a day. Many will tell you that 1200-1400 calories a day is the best way to lose weight, however it is not the HEALTHY or SUSTAINABLE way to lose weight.
Now that we’ve established that, there is also no one-size-fits-all way to say how many calories a day you should eat. [Sorry].
Many apps will help you calculate your calories based on your goals. Please know, these are to be taken with a grain of salt.
If the app suggests that a female goes below 1600 calories or a male goes below 1800 calories, chances are you need to re-evaluate your goals. It is healthier, and more sustainable to adjust from 2-3 pounds weight loss a week to 1 pound weight loss a week if it means properly feeding your body.
Another factor may be exercise. You want to make sure to account for that in your calorie intake. Do not hesitate to reach out to a health or nutrition coach if you have questions on how to figure out how much you should be eating.
Where Do I Track My Calories?
It really comes down to what you like and how detailed you want to get. Some apps will be loaded with food options, barcode scanners and extra data whereas other apps will be more straightforward and just give you your calories for the day.
I would suggest downloading a couple of them and finding one that works best for you.
Have you ever tracked your calories? What was your experience?