This is a guest post submitted by Varsha Aditya. If you’re interested in writing a guest post for Lifting Makes Me Happy, please submit your idea(s) here.
Even though many fad diets claim that you won’t have to count calories, calorie counting is actually a fundamental and unavoidable part of any sustainable weight loss program. It’s the single best thing you can do to really get to know your food and establish healthy eating habits to replace the bad habits you might have.
Common Mistakes in Calorie Counting
However, there are some mistakes people commonly make in counting calories:
1. Estimating restaurant food incorrectly
Even nutritional experts had great difficulty accurately estimating the calorie values of five different restaurant meals in one study. If they had trouble, you can imagine how inaccurate the average person would be in trying to guess the calorie count of their food. Also, studies have shown that it’s harder to estimate the calorie value in large meals than in small ones. Since restaurants tend to serve large portions, your “guesstimate” is likely to be a pitfall in your daily calorie count.
There are two solutions. One is to eat out much less. The other is to ask your waiter for the nutritional information and ingredient list. Restaurants are required to have all the ingredients and nutritional information on hand for people with food allergies. Take advantage of this and get an inside look at the food you’re ordering!
2. Acting like all calories are equal
Equality is a characteristic of all humans, but definitely NOT a characteristic of all calories. Calories can come from healthy nutrient-rich sources or from refined sugar and unhealthy fats. Remember that you have to meet all your nutritional requirements each day even if you’re eating fewer calories than usual. This means it’s important to make every calorie count, and leave out the “empty calories” that come from soda, candy, or junk food. If you thought you could get away with having a banana split for lunch and just not eating any dinner, think again!
3. Depending on your memory
The little voice of laziness in your head will try to convince you that you’ll remember everything you ate all day when you do your adding up at night, but this is a surefire way to underestimate your calorie count for the day. Keep a detailed food diary that you jot notes in all day long. Keep a running count of the calories in the margin so you can stay within your limits, and don’t forget to take notes on your activity level or exercise, and any digestive trouble. This will help you understand your body better in the long run.
4. Reading the Nutrition Facts label incorrectly
A candy bar with only 30 calories? If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Manufacturers often use sneaky tricks like calculating everything based on a tiny portion size of 20 grams. Multiply to find the real calorie count. If you hate doing the math, you should go for an online calorie counter like the one at CaloriesAndMore.com. This way, all you have to note down is the brand name of the food and how much you ate.
5. Leaving out liquids
Liquid calories are the sneakiest of all the calories you consume during the day because it’s so easy to forget that drinks have calories, too! Sodas, milk, juice, flavored water, alcoholic beverages, salad dressings, creamer and condiments all have calories that you need to count. Otherwise, you’ll be in for an unpleasant surprise when you step on the scale and you might not even realize where you went wrong. To see results with calorie counting, be meticulous in writing down all liquids you consume during the day.
Avoid these common pitfalls and you’ll soon see results in your weight loss program. Don’t forget that positive thinking and consistency are key to achieving your goals!
About the author: Varsha Aditya is a writer for the popular calorie counter website CaloriesAndMore.com which promotes healthy and sustainable weight loss without all the impossible rules of fad diets. Find more articles like this one here, and see how CaloriesAndMore.com’s huge database of foods and activities can make calorie counting a breeze.