Calories play a large role in any weight loss plan. You need to create a calorie deficit to lose weight, but monitoring your eating behaviors and making smart choices about where you get your calories is also important.
A calorie is a unit of energy. You need 1 kilocalorie (or kcal) to raise 1 kilogram of water 1 degree Celsius. All types of food provide calories, and everyone needs calories to survive. After all, your body uses energy to breathe and pump blood.
The calories you recognize from food packaging are kilocalories. Sugars, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats all provide you with calories when you eat. Pay close attention to your source of calories and the number of calories you consume as your eating patterns play a large role in your weight loss journey.
If you want to lose weight, you want a calorie deficit. A calorie deficit refers to eating fewer calories in a day than your body burns. You can find ways to create a calorie deficit by eating fewer calories than you currently eat and exercising more. Doing a combination of these two activities generally is the best way to achieve weight loss in a healthy way.
Think of a calorie deficit in this way: If you burn 2,100 calories in a day (through exercise and the calories that your body burns to survive) and eat 1,800 calories per day, you’ve created a calorie deficit. You’ll lose weight if you keep up this pattern over time. A calorie counter app can help you determine how many calories you should eat in a day to create that deficit.
Losing weight doesn’t come down to a calorie deficit only. You need to get your calories from the right proportion of macronutrients, or fat, protein, and carbohydrates. For example, getting all your calories from carbohydrate-dense pastries will only leave you hungry and lacking in essential nutrients. Counting calories for weight loss should therefore also include counting the amount of calories you get from each food source.
Using a calorie counter to track your daily calorie intake keeps you accountable. When you monitor behavior related to calorie counting, you’ll learn what works best for your lifestyle, and you can modify how you respond in a mindful way. Once you determine how many calories you need to eat each day and the right macronutrient ratio for you, counting calories will keep you on track.
As you grow more mindful of your food choices, you’ll learn what meal portion sizes work for you. The calorie counter also helps you eat what you want to eat — within reason, of course. You’ll feel empowered to give yourself an occasional treat while following your weight loss goals.
When you want to lose weight, calorie counting matters. Learn how to create balanced, nutrient-rich meals so that you can improve your overall health.
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