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Does Counting Calories Actually Work?

As a Nutrition Coach, I get asked these questions a lot:

1. "Does counting calories actually work?"

2. "How long should I count calories for?"

3. "Is counting calories something I have to do, in order to see progress?"

Counting calories is a powerful tool for everyone on any fitness journey. Whether that be for weight loss, weight gain, enhanced performance, or to simply maintain their desired weight. I love the saying “You don’t know what you don’t know… until you know”. Counting calories is a learning experience and helps educate yourself on nutrition. Knowing just how much you are eating every day and how it is impacting both your progress and how you feel is critical to understand.

The Little Things Add Up

Counting the main meals is the easy part. Let’s take a look at what happens when we log absolutely everything and get an understanding as to why we may not be seeing the progress we think we should. It’s the little things that add up, I promise. Here's some examples:

·Coffee creamer: 100-200 calories a day X 7 = 700-1400 extra calories a week

·1 alcoholic drink: 100-200 calories a day X 7 = 700-1400 extra calories a week

·Snacking between meals: 200-300 calories a day X 7 = 1400-2100 extra calories a week

·Cooking with extra oils & butter: 200-300 calories a day X 7 = 1400-2100 extra calories a week

·1 soda a day: 100-150 calories X 7 = 700-1,050 extra calories a week

Just these alone can add up to somewhere between 3,000-6,000 calories a week, destroying any caloric deficit you are trying to create. When trying to lose weight or trim up a little, these little decisions outweigh our main meals almost every day. However, if someone doesn't log these small variables each day, they could be blind to the true numbers and become frustrated with the lack of progress they are seeing.

Try It For A Month!

My suggestion is to log your food for 1 month. Include absolutely everything - from your coffee creamer to the butter you use to cook - and track your progress. Doing this will not only be an eye-opening experience, but it will also show you where you need to make changes to see the progress you desire. As a reminder: fill your plate with nutrient dense, colorful foods that are balanced in all the macronutrients, with a focus on protein.

If you need help counting calories, understanding and learning how food effects your energy, or achieving the results you are looking for, don’t hesitate to reach out!

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