Calories always seem to be a ’hot’ topic and I thought I’d give you my views on them and calorie counting. It turned out to be quite a long post so I’ve divided it in to a 2 parter.
To begin with I thought I’d address why it might be a good idea to count calories and how to go about it.
A calorie is a unit of energy and usually we talk about calories regarding food.
Calories are not BAD like a lot of people seem to believe, we all need them.
Calories are essential for human health;
But everyone requires different amounts of energy (calories) per day depending on age, size, gender and activity levels.
I think its a good idea for everyone to have some idea of how many calories they need every day.
There are plenty of calculators for this online like this one, or just google it, tap in your numbers and voila!
I also think it’s a good idea to have a somewhat idea of how many calories we eat every day. A food diary is en excellent tool to help us understand roughly how many we eat.
I’m not saying you should keep a food diary forever, but just for a couple of weeks to get the idea. I’ve kept a food diary on and off for many years and by now I really don’t need to, I can pretty quickly work out in my head how many calories I’ve eaten.
It’s also a great tool to keep us in check, once you see how you’ve eaten you also see where you can cut back on the unnecessary calories. Keeping a food diary is a bit time-consuming of course but I think it’s worth it, like I said, its not forever, but I think it is important to know our own diet AND how many calories are actually in the food we eat. Most people have no idea how many calories are in different foods and there fore it’s hard to make the right (or better) choices.
There are plenty of apps for this, like my fitness pal, or you can go the old fashioned way and write it down on paper, or buy a nice food journal. Just be honest with what you’ve eaten, no one needs to look at it but you. At the same time its easy to see wether you get your 5/day in or not (preferably more). And trust me, you will ask yourself if you really need that second helping of apple crumble when you know you will have to write it down. It can still hold you accountable to make better choices, even if no one sees the food journal but you.
Start by just writing down what it is that you’re eating. You will need to write down as soon as you’ve finished eating. If you leave it to the end of the day to write down a whole days worth I can guarantee you will have forgotten exactly what’s entered your mouth that day.
Once you’ve got the hang of that you can start to look at what’s in the food in terms of calories, and add that to your food journal.
Again, having to look up every food item is a bit time consuming at first, but you’ll soon get the hang of it. You might also be surprised by the number of calories you consume on a daily basis! It might be a lot less than you should, or a lot more. Just be honest with your tracking, like I said no one needs to know but you. But it’s easier to adjust up and down once you have it down on paper (or on your app)
If you want any more help with how to get started with a food journal or any other questions I’m happy to help.
And look out for part 2…