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  • Jack Wilson

Do I Need to Count Calories? Is It Healthy?

How much weight you lose and gain depends on your calorie intake minus the amount of calories your burn in a day. Intaking calories is far easier than we would like, and many choose to up their daily calorie burn by adding regular workouts to their day.

Ultimately, however, if you consistently consume more calories per day than you burn, then you will gain weight; it’s simple math. Thus, cutting down you calorie intake, even on a small scale, can help you achieve your weight loss goals. While counting calories is not required for losing weight, it is highly recommended for at least a few weeks, or until you can figure out how and what to consume to maintain a specific caloric intake on a daily basis. MyFitnessPal is both an online tool and phone application you can download that works as a food journal and is a great way to learn about your eating habits. It can also help prevent the mindless eating, of which we have all been guilty. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that while calories do matter, they aren’t the only things that matter. The quality of your calorie matters! Your body knows the difference between calories from amino acid rich protein or a candy bar. MyFitnessPal, or any of the many apps out their, will also help you track your daily intake of protein, sugar, carbohydrates, fats, cholesterol, and so on. It is important to note, that it is crucial that you eat enough calories, especially if you are consistently working out. Cutting back too much on your caloric intake can have a reverse effect on your body and fitness goals. Your body slips into a “starvation” or “conservation” mode … and this may actually cause you to gain weight.

So should you or shouldn’t you count your calories when trying to lose weight? And is it safe? Counting calories is a great place to start if you’re just beginning on your weight loss journey. We recommend keeping track of your caloric intake, in addition to the fats, sugars, and proteins as well. This will help you figure out what your normal eating habits are and how they could be hindering your ability to lose weight. When you track your food throughout the day and keep a record of the calories you consume, you gain a sense of accountability for what you are eating. It also helps you to see exactly where those extra and empty calories are coming from and what small changes in your diet you can make to eliminate them.

Depending on your weight, height, age, gender, weight goals, activity level, if you’re trying to lose weight, your caloric intake should be 1,200 calories a day or higher – anything below this level is ineffective and harmful to your body. A great site to help you determine your appropriate daily calorie amount is CalorieKing, which will give you a caloric range to maintain or lose weight. Or, for a more personalized and specific assessment, we highly suggest coming in to Chuze Fitness and speaking to one of our fitness trainers who, with your weight loss goals in mind, can help you determine the correct caloric intake for you. With a new caloric intake, through a balanced diet that you maintain on a daily basis, and of course regular exercise, you will lose weight, and in a healthy and safe manner. This usually means about 1-2 pounds a week.

We aren’t suggesting that you get crazy with a calorie counter, nor are we saying that you should always consume items that have little to no calories in them; many a time foods that are low in caloric value are processed, contain higher levels of sugars or sodium, are missing essential nutrients, are loaded with chemicals, and probably won’t keep you full for very long. The point here being: don’t be fooled by ‘low-cal’ or ‘0 calorie’ labels. Rather, we want you to gain an awareness of your diet, because truthfully, no matter how much you work out, without a balanced diet and a reduced caloric intake, you won’t succeed in any type of weight loss plan.

So get out there and find yourself an affordable gym membership (Chuze is a great pick!), download a calorie counting application or create some type of food journal, and take control of your health and well-being.