Calorie counting can often be quite the chore – a rigid practice requiring control, dedication and precision. Having to track every meal, snack and drink can seem overwhelming and complex. It doesn’t have to be though. Simple tricks can make it an easy and rewarding habit, that will benefit your weight loss or fitness efforts in the long run.
Calorie counting is important because it ensures you know what you consume and how often you eat. It highlights patterns in your diet and helps you to build good habits. Calorie counting doesn’t mean you can’t have cheat snacks or meals, but it ensures you’re aware of the true calorie intake in each treat.
Calorie counting allows you to establish a baseline. From here, you can judge whether it corresponds to the amount of daily exercise and activity you do. This makes it easy to adjust your calorie plan accordingly. Calorie counting provides the consistent data to determine what’s best for your body and for your fitness plan.
Calorie counting doesn’t have to be the strenuous task it’s often made out as. Here are a few simple tricks to make it an easy, quick and even enjoyable activity:
Use an App This one’s a given. Apps are great as they’re so easily accessible (because who doesn’t have their phone on them all the time?) Apps like MyFitnessPal also keep a backlog of all your data. This means you can identify long-term patterns and trends. Many apps also multitask so you can track activities, calories and water intake all in the one place.
Eat Consistently This doesn’t mean you have to eat the same thing for every meal, every day. There’s no fun in that. But have a repertoire of proven meals and snacks. Most apps let you save meals, making it quick to record if the calories are already counted.
Meal Prep This is probably the best thing you can do when calorie counting. Prepare and freeze your meals in advance. Then you know exactly what you’re eating and how many calories it contains. Plus you can pre-fill your favourite recipes in your calorie-tracking app. Meal prep is also a great way to control portion sizes. You won’t be tempted to overeat, and again this makes calorie counting simple and easy.
Unfortunately, we don’t always have as much time as we like to buy food, prep the food, measure the food and then eat it. If you often turn to naughty options because you didn’t have the time to prep on a certain day, maybe have a look at healthy meals as a backup. I know I always expect to have time to meal prep, but more times than not, ill get distracted by work and before I know it I’ve completely lost my day to prepare. By having a few spare healthy frozen meals I can fall back on I don’t need to turn to naughty food.
Calorie counting doesn’t need to be a strict and rigid exercise. It’s all about being more familiar with the patterns in your diet. This helps you build effective and sustainable dietary habits that will maximise your fitness efforts.
So head to your local grocer, buy your healthy, whole foods, and try giving it a go. It can take some getting used to, but once you’ve done it a week or so it becomes effortless but super effective!