Wondering if counting calories can actually help you lose weight and keep it off for good? You’re not alone.
Many of us want to shed those extra pounds but are confused by all the diets and advice out there.
So, let’s get straight to the point: can tracking your calories lead to lasting weight loss? The answer is yes, but there’s a bit more to it. Here’s what the experts say.
Why Calories Matter
First off, what’s a calorie? Think of it as fuel for your body, just like gas for your car. Your body needs a certain number of calories to keep you breathing, your heart pumping, and to do everything else you do in a day, like walking and talking.
If you eat more calories than your body needs, the extra gets stored as fat. If you eat fewer calories than your body needs, you’ll burn off stored fat to get the energy you need, which leads to weight loss.
Calories matter because they directly impact your weight. The simple idea behind calorie counting is this: eat fewer calories than you burn and you’ll lose weight. Sounds simple enough, right? It’s backed by lots of research, too.
One major study published in the journal Obesity Reviews found that people who kept track of their calorie intake lost more weight than those who didn’t.
How to Count Calories the Right Way
Counting calories isn’t about starving yourself. It’s about knowing what you’re putting into your body and making smarter choices.
Nowadays, there are plenty of easy-to-use apps that help you log what you eat and tell you how many calories your food has. You can also look at food labels for calorie information.
The key is to set a daily calorie goal that’s right for you. Many experts recommend aiming for 1,500 to 2,000 calories per day for women and 2,000 to 2,500 for men for weight loss, but it can vary from person to person.
Your doctor or a dietitian can help you figure out your ideal number.
Now, it’s not just about the number of calories but also where they come from. A 100-calorie candy bar and a 100-calorie apple are not the same.
The apple is way better for you and will keep you full longer. This is something to keep in mind as you count calories.
Things to Keep in Mind
Counting calories isn’t for everyone, and it can become an obsession for some people. If you find yourself becoming too focused on numbers, it might be time to step back and think about a different approach to weight loss.
Also, calories are just one piece of the puzzle. Exercise is another big part. Working out helps you burn more calories, which can speed up your weight loss or let you eat a bit more without gaining weight.
Remember, quick fixes rarely lead to lasting results. So, if you decide to try calorie counting, think of it as a long-term tool to help you understand your eating habits and make healthier choices, rather than a quick shortcut to weight loss.
In a nutshell, counting calories can work if you do it thoughtfully and pair it with other healthy habits like regular exercise.
Always check with your doctor before making big changes to your diet or exercise routine. And keep in mind that the best diet is one you can stick to for the long haul.
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