In This Article
In This Article
Counting your calorie intake can be a valuable help whether you’re aiming to lose some extra pounds or just trying to maintain your current weight.
Many studies show that tracking your calories is an effective tool for weight loss. Calorie counting helps you stick to a dietary plan, which increases your chances of losing weight.1,2,3
In this article, we'll guide you through the basics of calorie counting. This includes knowing your daily calorie limit, tracking your food intake, and other helpful tips to count your calorie intake effectively.
A calorie or dietary calorie is a unit of measurement for the energy a specific food can provide your body.
Calories can be derived from the following:
About 60 to 70 percent of the calories you consume are used for involuntary functions, such as breathing and heartbeat.4
The remaining calories give you the energy for other activities. It includes everything you do daily, from walking to working to sleeping.
A calorie is a unit of measurement for the energy the body can get from a specific food. The body uses calories to perform different functions, including voluntary and involuntary actions.
One of the simplest ways to lose weight is to reduce your calorie intake and increase your physical activities. This way, your body will burn more calories than it consumes.
This can lead to a calorie deficit, which also happens when you eat fewer calories than your body requires.
Generally, it’s safe to cut down 500 calories from your typical daily consumption to lose weight.5
The average daily calorie limit for weight loss is:
This caloric deficit may lead to a weight loss of about 0.5 to 1 pound a week. The results, however, still depend on your body and activity level.5
Some online calculators can help determine your daily calories. They can calculate it for you using your information, including:
However, regardless of the result you get, only consume 1,200 calories in a day unless under the supervision of your doctor.
When you eat too few calories, your body may experience deprivation of essential nutrients it needs to function properly.6
Factors such as gender, age, height, weight, and body composition help determine how many calories a person needs daily. To achieve a calorie deficit, it’s generally safe to cut down 500 calories from your regular calorie consumption.
Counting your calories can have several benefits, including the following.
Calorie counting helps you to make healthier food choices and control your portion sizes. By doing so, you become mindful of what you’re eating.
Calorie counting involves tracking the number of calories you consume and burn daily. Eating fewer calories can lead to a calorie deficit.
A calorie deficit forces your body to burn fat stores as fuel for energy.7 Over time, a consistent calorie deficit leads to weight loss.
Counting calories encourages meal planning. By planning your meals, you'll know which foods to choose to get the most out of your daily calorie limit.
Aside from weight loss, calorie counting promotes awareness and mindfulness in your eating habits. It also encourages you to plan your meals.
If you haven’t done calorie counting before, here are some tips on how to do it effectively.
Your age, sex, activity level, weight, and height help determine your daily calorie needs. Some people use online calculators to assess their caloric intake per day.
You can also seek help from a dietitian to help determine your daily calorie allowance.
Various apps can help you count your calories, including
Check food labels to see how many calories are in each serving, especially when eating packaged foods. This will help you avoid eating more calories than your daily calorie limit.
Measure your portions accurately with tools like measuring cups, spoons, or a food scale.
Using grams or ounces in measuring your food is a more precise way to track your calories than estimating the portion sizes of your food.
Planning your meals can help you determine exactly how many calories you’ll consume in a day.
It helps you stay on track with your weight loss goal by avoiding avoid impulsive food decisions, such as snacking on high-calorie-dense food.
Tip: Calorie counting works best when paired with the best weight-loss apps
Consistency is vital when it comes to counting calories. Tracking your calorie intake consistently can help you get an accurate picture of your overall calorie consumption.
Sustainable weight loss takes time, so be patient and consistent with your calorie counting. Continue building healthy habits and a good relationship with food.
Remember to count the little snacks and drinks you consume throughout the day.
Skipping meals may lead to overeating later in the day. Not only that, it can also hurt your metabolism, getting in the way of your weight loss journey.
Writing down what you eat can help you stay accountable and mindful of your eating habits.
The most common ways to count calories include using a calorie-counting app, keeping a food diary, and checking food labels. Consistency and patience are essential when counting calories for weight loss.
In addition to counting your calories, here are some other weight loss tips to help you reach your goals.