I created the video above to STRONGLY encourage you to track your nutrition intake even for a few days. If you have not gone through this exercise before, it’s an eye opener!
If you are still not convinced you should “count calories”, which I take to mean track your nutrition intake, check out this article that’s a must read: 7 Reasons To Keep A Food Journal. If you are looking to identify a target calorie intake to help you lose fat, check out this article: How Many Calories Should You Eat To Lose Weight?.
There are 3 primary ways to help you count calories easily so you can glean insights into what you eat, when you eat, and how you eat to help improve your eating habits:
How To Count Calories Method #1) Mobile Application
If you have a smart phone you should definitely use a mobile application, which makes counting calories a breeze. Not only can you count calories, but you can also learn the macronutrient breakdown (protein, carbs, and fat) of each food, meal, and day as a whole without doing any calculations.
So how does a mobile application make counting calories so easy besides the effortless calculations? There are a few reasons:
- You always have your smartphone on you
- You can access the nutrition info on a large database of foods instantly
- You can save your favorite foods and meals so you don’t have to input them over and over again (this is a big deal). You can also add custom foods if they don’t have the food you want in their database.
My top choice is the Lose It! application on the iphone. For more information about mobile apps and counting calories, check out my article: Best Free Online Calorie Tracker App.
How To Count Calories Method #2) Food Journal
If you don’t own a smart phone, or simply would rather count calories by hand, you can write down the foods you eat and portion sizes in a journal and then later figure out the calories and macronutrient breakdown for each food. Finally, you will add up the calories for each meal and for the day as a whole.
This may sound like a lot of work, but it’s 100% worth your time.
To make this process easier for you, I created a food journal template that includes several tips to help you count calories easier and glean greater insights into your eating habits.
Here’s the link to the Free Printable Food Diary Template.
How To Count Calories Method #3) Create A Spreadsheet
Are you stuck at 12% body fat?
Do you want to see changes every week in your body, and possibly even every few days?
Well you can do what fitness models and bodybuilders do to prepare for competitions. Instead of eating and tracking randomly, the foods and meals you eat can be predetermined by putting them in a spreadsheet. You eat according to the spreadsheet, or spreadsheets (if you have more than one) so you know EXACTLY what you are putting into your body. You take the guesswork out of counting calories for ultimate precision.
Is this boring? Yes.
Is this sustainable? No.
If you can stick with it, there is absolutely no debating eating with laser like precision is very, very effective. If you asked me to get as ripped as I could in 3 weeks, the first thing I would do is create a spreadsheet and stick to it religiously. The exercise is an afterthought. You also get a feel for your hunger patterns and what foods and meals help you feel great and satiated.
For more on creating a spreadsheet and the types of variables to consider, check out: How To Get Ripped & Cut: Definitive Guide.
Again, if you haven’t kept a food journal before to count your calories and learn more about your nutrition habits, it may be the single most important thing you can do to improve your health and well being.