How do you feel when you read or hear the word “DIET?” I shrink a little inside and start to feel anxious.
In my fitness facebook group, we’ve been talking about calories this week. People often ask me how many calories they should eat if they are trying to lose weight. Personally, I don’t even count calories. I have in the past, but I find with my perfectionist personality, it actually hurts me more than it helps.
I definitely think it’s beneficial to keep a food journal of some sort for a while. It helps you understand how much all those little extra bites here and there really add up. If you are a pencil and paper kind of person, you can download my free fitness journal which includes daily and weekly meal trackers.
But back to the how many calories question — personally, I like food. I want to eat as much as I can and still lose weight. So what’s that magic number?
How many calories should YOU be eating?
There’s a really great article written by Coach Calorie about this topic. You can read it here. In essence, you start out by eating 10-12 times your body weight every day. If you’re extremely overweight, use the lower number. Be patient and eat this way for two weeks while you watch the scale. If it’s going down, continue to eat this way until your weight loss stalls for two weeks. At that point, you can decrease your total intake by 100-200 calories a day. It doesn’t take much to start losing again. One of the top reasons diets fail is because people don’t eat enough calories. When you do this, you force your body to slow down its metabolism which makes weight loss feel impossible.
It’s important to remember that 80% of weight loss comes from what you eat and only 20% from exercise. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to exercise, but I have changed my mindset. I used to get discouraged when I would exercise my heart out and still not see any changes. Now, I continue to exercise, even if I’m not seeing weight loss results, because I know it makes me healthy on the inside and changes are happening that I can’t see.
As far as eating goes, I don’t think you have to eat less. You just need to eat clean. If you are eating mostly clean foods, you can eat a LOT of food and it still doesn’t add up to many calories. I’ve lost 25 pounds in the last couple months and it’s all from clean eating. In case you’re not familiar with the term clean eating, here’s a post I wrote about the basics: What is Clean Eating Anyway?
Aim for eating clean 80% of the time and don’t worry so much about your calorie count and I think you’ll see results.
I’d love to hear your experience with counting calories. Do you love it or hate it? Have you found a method that makes it easier? I love to hear what is working for you. Leave a comment below.
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