How Tracking Calories Could Help You Lose Weight

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If you’ve been consistent with your workouts but still struggle in losing weight, the culprit could be your diet. You may want to consider tracking your calories.

Like many moms, I struggled to lose my pregnancy weight.

I wasn’t eating junk and I was definitely sticking to my workout regimen (I was doing a combination of HIIT and strength training) but I wasn’t achieving the results that I wanted.

Seeing my frustration, my husband suggested looking into my food portions as I could be eating healthy but just eating more than I should.

At this point, I started tracking my caloric intake.

And if I wanted to lose weight, I should aim for a calorie deficit.

What is a calorie deficit and why does it matter in losing weight?

Calories are units of energy you get from what you eat and drink. A calorie deficit is achieved when you consume fewer calories than you burn (also known as calorie expenditure).

For example:
The total amount of calories you had for the whole day is 1200 calories. And let’s say, your estimated calorie expenditure is 1500.

You had achieved a calorie deficit because you used more than you consumed.

Calorie Deficit = Calorie Expenditure (aka calories you burned) > Calorie Consumed (aka calories you had through food and drinks)

Understanding and Estimating Your Calorie Expenditure

Calorie expenditure has the following components:

  • Resting energy expenditure
    This refers to the amount of energy your body uses for rest and functions to keep you alive (e.g. breathing).
  • Thermic effect of food
    This pertains to the calories your body uses for processing the food you consume.
  • Activity energy expenditure
    This refers to the energy your body uses for activities like sports and exercise.

How to calculate for your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE)?

In order to achieve a calorie deficit, you have to know two things:

(1) how many calories you burn/use (this also refers to TDEE)
(2) how many calories you consume

There are different ways to measure your TDEE.

You can use metabolic testing, activity monitors, or the most convenient and easily accessible of all – using an online TDEE calculator just like this.

How many calories do you need to lose weight?

This actually depends on several factors including your gender, age, weight, height, and activity level.

Healthline has a good online calculator that can help you determine how many calories you need to lose weight.

Tracking Your Caloric Intake

It’s very convenient these days to track how many calories we had for the entire day.

There are numerous apps to help us with this.

According to the app, this simple meal
has over 500 calories

I tried a few ones but my favorite is the LoseIt App.

I love this app because it’s super easy to use.

To log your meal, simply tap on the ‘+’ icon and choose the meal/food/drink from the list and the amount.

Can’t find the item in the list? You can scan the item’s barcode or enter manually the details. The app automatically saves this product so you don’t have to manually enter it every single time.

You also have the option to share this item detail (calories and nutrition facts) to the rest of the LoseIt community.

If you’re tracking your macros, you can check under ‘My Day’ to determine your carbs, fat, and protein intake.

There’s also a section in the app that allows you to save recipes. Simply enter the ingredients and the number of servings, and the app will generate the number of calories and nutrient information for certain serving sizes.

Paid vs Free
The app is free to download. However, you can upgrade to unlock other features like meal planning, joining member challenges, tracking water intake, etc.

How Tracking My Food Intake Helped Me Lose Weight

I used to just eyeball everything and so when I started using the app, I was surprised to see how much I am actually eating.

No wonder I am not losing weight!

This may be made from ‘healthy’ ingredients but eating them whole day won’t make you lose weight.

Diligently logging my meals and keeping them under the app’s recommendation and sticking to my workout routine has helped me get back to my pre-pregnancy weight of 103 lbs from 112 lbs.

Finally seeing progress!

Getting Started Tips

  1. Find out how many calories you need to maintain your weight and to lose weight. This is to help you establish a baseline.
  2. The most basic equipment you will need are measuring cups and spoons. If you can, it will also be nice to get yourself a food weighing scale.
  3. Try to stick to simple meals, which means meals that require fewer ingredients. This will make it easier for you when logging your food!

Once you get the hang of things, you may start to incorporate some physical activities into your routine.

Let me know if you have more questions about the app or food tracking! I’ll be more than happy to answer them 🙂

To a healthier, fitter you,
Joann

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