Do calories matter?
Calories do matter. There is no getting away from that fact. If you repeatedly eat more calories than you burn off, you will put on weight. It’s the first law of thermodynamics.
But is obsessively focusing on the calorie content of everything you put in your mouth a healthy and sustainable way to achieve weight loss and improve your health? Possibly not, but there is definitely a place for it if you want to make changes happen.
Emerging evidence (summarised in recent NICE guidelines on managing overweight and obese adults) suggests a structured and holistic plan to change behaviour, and not just calorie intake, is the most effective way to achieve healthy, sustained weight loss. In this article we are going to ask you to try both, in parallel with each other.
Calories do count, but exercise and being more active, learning more about nutrition, and eating a balanced diet are also important.
At Be Strong we’re going to start to have a huge focus on learning about nutrition – which will mean becoming a calorie expert! The difference in our plan is we will track before we eat, not after?
What benefits will this bring to me?
If you start tracking, you can enjoy all the food you eat without feeling any guilt! You use the calorie information presented to you before eating and make better choices. Better food choices are rarely associated with guilt. The end result is you enjoy everything you eat! The final result is you achieve long term success.
Will this be easy to do?
No, it’s like any new behaviour, it will take time to get used to.
Is it important? Yes, in fact its essential if you want to head down a straight road to weight loss success.
How do we know? We have a close relationship with all the people who have been successful here and there is one common trait across all of them. They all tracked their calories!
Increase your nutritional awareness
For someone who never really thinks about food, counting calories can teach food awareness, which is the first step in making better food choices. Many calorie-counting haters are often surprised to discover just how many calories are in their favourite foods and drinks.
A piece of cake here, a biscuit there and a small snack in between: it’s sometimes hard to eat healthy on a busy schedule. At the end of the day, there’s usually not much time to reflect on all the food you ate throughout the day. But if you take the time to track it all, you’ll soon realise that you probably consume way more calories than you wanted to.
If you are serious about wanting to lose weight, food tracking should be the right choice for you. If you consistently keep track of everything before you eat or drink it, you might think twice next time before putting certain foods into your mouth! On his way out to work Rick always grabbed 3 pieces of fruit from the fruit-bowl, this was straight after breakfast and he ate them in the car. It was habit or routine, he wasn’t hungry, he had just eaten! Tracking before eating stopped this and saved 240 calories per day. It all adds up!
Let’s get going!
Start with a plan for how long you’ll do this and what you hope to get out of it. We recommend a minimum of one month until you get used to the types of foods that are best for you. During this period you will aim: –
- To get an overall picture of how many calories you’re taking in each day — and how many calories are in foods you eat all the time.
- To identify patterns in your eating that might help explain things like why you’re always tired, why you’re always hungry, or why you’re not losing weight.
- To help you cut down on some types of foods that contain lots of calories — if that’s something that you’re interested in doing. (4 x biscuits can equal 1,200 calories)
Look forward to doing this! Have a positive attitude: “I can’t wait to find out how many calories per week I’m drinking in alcohol or eating in bread and pizza!”
- Track before you eat and drink – not after!
- Use Google and a notebook to track your calories or use an app like MyFitnessPal!
- Use Elle’s recipe blog!
- Elle Withers has lost over 4 stones with Be Strong and she will be supporting you along the way with some amazing food choices! We’re very excited to have Elle on the team!
- Drink 750ml water 30 minutes before each meal