Have you downloaded a calorie counting app and followed its guidelines to try and lose weight?
Do you know how many calories you should eat?
Do you know how much protein, carbohydrates, or fat you should eat?
Do you really know what you are eating every day or how much you are eating?
Motiv8ers, as a coach I have found that the questions above are really hard to answer. And guess what? It really turns folks off from even starting. Many don't know where to find the right information so they know for a fact that they are on the right track. They don't know the difference in how to eat for weight lost or for just making you feel awesome.
And I hear many of these excuses about why they can't even get started.
I don't have time to track my calories.
I just don't want to do the work putting in every little ingredient.
I don't like eating the same thing every day so I don't want to constantly be working on the app.
I don't want to get obsessive about counting.
It really stresses me out when I see exactly what I am eating every day and it makes me feel bad about myself.
Crew, I hear these excuses so much and I hear you. Adding anything new to your schedule or learning that what you are currently doing or eating isn't good for you is stressful and uncomfortable. But without that stress and discomfort you will never grow, lose the weight you want to lose, or feel as great as you want to feel.
So I decided to take on this challenge. I made the commitment that in the month of August I would count my calories every day. My hope for this blog is to hopefully change your mind a little about counting and help you take the first step and start. =) I am a week into this challenge and here is my experience so far.
Here we go!
What to Use to Track my Calories?
I had to find an easy way to track my calories that is fast, efficient and doesn't take up to much of my time. I did a little bit of research and the best tool I found was an app called MyNetDiary. Here is their website and you can download the app for free in the app store. I didn't use any of its nutrition guidelines. I only used it to track my foods. The first day I used the app it took a few minutes to learn how to use it but after that, I kid you not, I probably only spend about a minute tops each day on it making sure I eat enough. It takes no time at all to use. Once you put a food into the app it saves it for you so it is much easier the next time you log it into your diary.
How Do I Know What to Eat?
So there are two theories when it comes to tracking your calories. There is a theory called flexible dieting which comes down to this: as long as it fits your macros, which are protein, carbs, and fats, you can eat whatever you want. Lots of folks go this route because they don't want to give up the foods they love. I dislike this method because it gets too annoying and complicated to make sure I eat enough protein, carbs, and fats each day. And it takes up too much time and evolves a lot of food prep. I food prep but I do just the bare minimum in that category.
So what do I do, you ask? The theory I enjoy is to eat in abundance and as much as I want as long as it is real whole foods. Stay away from those processed foods. I use the calorie counting app to make sure I am hitting my caloric intake need each day and so I don't eat too little or too much.
But what is considered real whole foods?
Well, I took the Motiv8 28 Day Clean Eating Challenge shopping list and I said I was only going to eat from this list. I wasn't going to worry about my macros, just eat whatever I wanted from this list and make sure I hit my caloric needs for they day. Now remember, you need at least two protein sources a day and don't over do it on the fats but eat as much vegetables and fruits and a few servings of legumes and grains each day. Just make sure you are hitting your calorie needs. In the 28 day challenge list you will also see some serving size recommendations to help you along the way as well.
How to Hit Your Calorie Needs?
Last week, Coach Kaolin posted this easy-to-use format to get you started. Note: this might not be the calorie intake you end up with a month from now, but it is a good way to get you started. Do the calculations and use that calorie intake first. Then after two weeks, see how you are feeling. If you are losing weight and feel awesome then continue what you are doing! If you feel tired and sluggish all day then you might not be eating enough, so increase your calories. If you are gaining weight then you might need to cut back on your calories or maybe lower the amount of fats you are taking in.
CALCULATE YOUR CALORIE TARGET
Your goals will determine which calorie bracket you follow and how much food you will have each day. I have assumed with this calculation that you perform 30-45 minutes of moderately intense exercise at least 5 days a week. If your situation is different, please reach out to me!
Follow these steps to approximate calorie intake for healthy weight loss.
1. Estimate your caloric baseline
Your current weight (lbs) x 11 = _____ calories (your caloric baseline)
(If you do not work out and want to maintain weight, use this number to determine your calorie bracket.)
2. Estimate your caloric needs
Your caloric baseline + 450 (~calorie burn for 30-45 minutes of moderately intense exercise) = ______ calories needed to maintain
(If your goal is to maintain your weight, you will choose your calorie bracket based on this number.)
3. Estimate your calorie target
Your calorie needs - 750 (calorie deficit) = ______ calories (intake)
If your calorie target is less than 1200, round up to 1200. If it’s more than 2800, round down to 2800.
Use this number to get you started on a calorie deficit for weight loss. Just pay close attention to your energy levels. If you feel to tired then up your calories again for a few days.
Motiv8ers, do these calculations and let me know if you have any question, ok?
Motiv8ers, for more tips and tools to help you find just how many calories to take in watch this short cute video.
Lastly, my experience and benefits I have seen with just accomplishing one week so far with tracking my calories.
First, From just a week of tracking my calories I have seen an improvement in my mood and my energy has been more staple through out the day. No more feeling like a zombie once I get home from work. I have been much more productive and getting a lot more done.
Second, I found out that I wasn't eating enough during the day and I was having to force to many calories in at the end of the day making me feel uncomfortably full. So it has taught me just how much I should be eating at each meal so I can actually take in all of my calories I need to be taking in. It has taken out the guess work of how many serving I should actually be eating in each meal.
Third, it has taken away the stress of knowing whether or not I am eating enough to maintain my weight and recover from my workouts. Every day now I know exactly how much I should be eating and what to eat and that has taken a lot of stress off my mind. Have you ever heard of decision fatigue? That is a real thing. You should definitely look it up.
Motiv8ers as you can see there is huge benefits in tracking what you eat. And you don't have to do this forever. After about a month of tracking you will learn exactly what you need every day and you can come back to it just a few days each month just to make sure you are still a rock star. =)
Motiv8ers get started on this and let me know if you have questions.
Stay EPIC and Don't Forget to Be AWESOME!
Coach Ty Out!