PART 1: THE IMPORTANCE OF TRACKING CALORIES
How many of you are relying on guessing portion amounts and their caloric value? Chances are your ‘guestimations’ are incorrect and the cause of little if no results in your fat loss efforts. I have had clients who swear to me that nothing is working, they just can't lose weight or they have plateaued. When I ask them how many calories they think they are eating in a day, many of them undervalue the amount they are consuming.
The way we work this out is usually very simple. I get them to write down a 3-5 day food journal. We then sit down together and work out the calories for each day based on what they have recorded. More often than not, they have under estimated the calories IN from meals and snacks and over estimated the calories OUT from daily activity.
To successfully lose body fat you need to be in a calorie deficit which means the calories you consume in a day (calories IN) are less than the amount of calories you burn as energy in a day (calories OUT).
A simple way to get better at this is to track your food intake. It doesn’t need to be forever, but when you are in the early stages of a fat loss phase or are new to following a structured meal plan, this can be a great way to learn how many calories are in each meal and how to make better food choices.
There are a number of apps and websites that make this easy for you – MyFitnessPal probably being one of the more popular. While it’s not 100% accurate, it will give you a basic understanding of how many calories are in foods such as the coffees you have in a day. Those couple of coffees that you consider not important enough to list as real food consumed can easily be 150+ calories each!
If you're someone that has experienced a recent plateau in your attempts to drop body fat then I would recommend tracking your meals to get a better understanding of the total amount of calories you're consuming in a day. It’s a great way to educate yourself and become more accountable when it comes to food choices.
Look out for part 2 of this blog series: Tips & Tools to help you track!
Yours in Health,