Counting Calories is
One of the Best Ways to Lose Weight

I know that counting calories can be a pain in the butt, but keeping track of how much you're eating is one of the best ways to lose weight.

Most people have absolutely no clue about how much food they consume on a daily basis, but if you are serious about losing weight you should start keeping track of your calories.

The first diet book that I read was, "Enter the Zone by Barry Sears", and it changed my approach to food.

In the Zone Diet emphasis is placed on how many calories you eat each day as well as how much protein, fat, and carbohydrates you eat each day. I took a very literal approach to following the Zone Diet, and for over a year I measured all my food and counted all my calories.

The benefit was I gained lean muscle, loss body fat, had never-ending energy, and never got sick. I became a believer that eating healthy could make a huge difference in how you feel.

Count Calories Just to Learn

Now, I have to admit that I no longer measure my food or count every calorie that I eat, but I have a really good idea of how many calories are in most foods because I practiced reading labels and counting calories. Now, I can look at a plate and estimate how many calories are on the plate.

My suggestion for you is to practice counting your calories for 1 month, just so you have a better idea about what you're eating. Once you understand how much you're eating then it will be easier to make progress losing weight.

Quantity and Quality

If you've read my page on diet myths, then you know that I don't believe every calorie is created equally. The reason I say that calories in calories out is a myth is because different foods affect your hormones and metabolism differently.

1000 calories of candy triggers a different response in your body when compared with 1000 calories of vegetables.

I do believe that calorie control is important for weight loss, so the first thing you should focus on is the quantity of the food you're eating. However, the second thing that you should focus on is the quality of the food you're eating.

When possible eat your carbohydrate from fruits and veggies and whole grains. Get you protein from organic and lean meats, fish, and legumes, and try to eat natural unsaturated fats like olive oil, nuts, seeds, and fish.

Do you best to avoid processed calories, like in desserts, sugar laden drinks, fast foods, and packaged foods.

Both Quantity and Quality are important if you neglect one, you can sabotage your weight loss progress.

How Many Calories Should you Eat?

If you are only mildly active, you will most likely need about 10 times your body weight in calories each day.

So if you weigh 150 pounds, that's around 1500 calories a day. If you exercise moderately (3-4 days a week) you can add around 200-400 calories a day, and if you exercise vigorously (6 or more days a week), you can add 500-1000 calories a day to your total caloric intake. These are just guidelines based loosely on the RDA guidelines.

Generally speaking, most women who are moderately active will need between 1200-1800 calories a day, and most men who are moderately active will need 1600-2200 calories per day.

Again, your weight and activity level will affect your daily caloric needs.

Losing Weight By Counting Calories

The body does not operate in a purely mathematical way, but it is generally accepted that you have to burn an extra 3500 calories in order to lose 1 pound of fat.

If you are currently over-eating, decreasing your calories by 500 calories a day will create a deficit of 3500 after 1 week. Eating 250 calories less a day can create a deficit of 3500 calories after 2 weeks.

In my opinion trying to lose weight quickly is a recipe for weight gain, so don't try to reach your goals in 1 week. Think long term. Think healthy habits. Think healthy Lifestyle!


If you are trying to lose weight, I recommend that you start counting calories at least for 2-4 weeks. This will give you an idea about where you're at and give you an idea of how far you have to go. Then, look for ways to cut out some of the bad or excess calories.

You won't have to worry about counting calories forever, just long enough to understand what you're eating.

Yours in Health
Dr. Charles PT/PT

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