Counting calories: Get back to weight-loss basics

Counting calories: Get back to weight-loss basics

Weight command in truth boils down to one thing — calories. See what steps you can take to win the calorie conflict .By Mayo Clinic Staff
Despite all the diet strategies out there, weight management distillery comes down to the calories you take in versus those you burn off.

Fad diets may promise you that avoiding carbs or eating a batch of grapefruit is the mystery to weight loss, but it truly comes down to eating fewer calories than your torso is using if you want to shed pounds .

Calories: Fuel for your body

Calories are the energy in food. Your body has a constant demand for energy and uses the calories from food to keep officiate. Energy from calories fuels your every action, from fidgeting to marathon function .
Carbohydrates, fats and proteins are the types of nutrients that contain calories and are the independent energy sources for your body. Regardless of where they come from, the calories you eat are either converted to physical energy or stored within your body as adipose tissue .
These stored calories will remain in your consistency as fatten unless you use them up, either by reducing calorie intake so that your soundbox must draw on reserves for energy, or by increasing physical activity so that you burn more calories .

Tipping the scale

Your weight is a balancing act, but the equality is bare : If you eat more calories than you burn, you gain system of weights. And if you eat fewer calories and burn more calories through physical activity, you lose system of weights .
In general, if you cut 500 to 1,000 calories a day from your typical diet, you ‘ll lose about 1 pound ( 0.5 kilogram ) a workweek .
It sounds elementary. however, it ‘s more complex because when you lose system of weights, you normally lose a combination of fat, lean tissue and water system. besides, because of changes that occur in the body as a leave of weight loss, you may need to decrease calories further to continue weight unit loss .

Cutting calories

Cutting calories requires change but does n’t have to be difficult. These changes can have a big impact on the act of calories you consume :

  • Skipping high-calorie, low-nutrition items
  • Swapping high-calorie foods for lower calorie options
  • Reducing portion sizes

Saving calories by cutting high-calorie, low-nutrition items

Skipping one or two high-calorie items is a good place to start when cutting calories. For exercise, you could skip your dawn caffe latte, sodium carbonate at lunch or that bowl of ice cream you constantly have after dinner .
Think about what you eat and drink each day and identify items you could cut out. If you think that skipping your indulgence will leave you with a crave, try a low-calorie substitution .

Healthier options
Instead of … Calories* Choose … Calories*
*Actual calories may vary by brand.
Flavored latte, 8 oz. (250 g) 134 Black coffee, 8 oz. (250 g) 0
Chocolate ice cream, 1 cup (135 g) 292 Strawberries, 1 cup (150 g) 48
Lemon-lime soda, 16 oz. (491 g) 201 Sparkling water, 16 oz. (491 g) 0

Swapping high-calorie foods for lower calorie options

simple substitutions can make a adult dispute when it comes to cutting calories. For exercise, you can save about 60 calories a glass by drinking nonfat milk alternatively of whole milk. rather of having a second slice of pizza, reach for some newly fruit. Snack on air-popped popcorn rather of chips .

Lower calorie options
Instead of … Calories* Choose … Calories*
*Actual calories may vary by brand.
Whole milk, 1 glass (244 g) 146 Skim milk, 1 glass (244 g) 83
Fast food pepperoni pizza, 2 slices 626 Fast food pepperoni pizza, 1 slice, plus grapes, 1 cup (150 g) 417
Ranch-flavored tortilla chips, snack bag (85 g) 400 Air-popped popcorn, 3 cups (24 g) 92

Reducing your portion sizes

The sizes of your portions affect how many calories you ‘re getting. twice the total of food means doubly the number of calories .
It ‘s common to underestimate how much you ‘re eating, specially if you ‘re dining out. Controlling your portions is a commodity direction to control calories .
Do n’t confuse a serve with a part. A part is the amount of food you put on your plate .

Portion sizes
Typical portion Calories* Standard serving Calories*
*Actual calories may vary by brand.
Orange juice, 8 oz. (248 g) 120 Orange juice, 4 oz. (124 g) 60
Buttermilk pancake, 6-inch diameter (77 g) 175 Buttermilk pancake, 4-inch diameter (38 g) 86
Whole-grain pasta, cooked, 2 cups (280 g) 414 Whole-grain pasta, cooked, 1/2 cup (70 g) 103

Try these tips to control part sizes and cut calories :

  • Start small. At the beginning of a meal, take slightly less than what you think you’ll eat. If you’re still hungry, eat more vegetables or fruit.
  • Eat from plates, not packages. Eating directly from a container gives you no sense of how much you’re eating. Seeing food on a plate or in a bowl keeps you aware of how much you’re eating. Consider using a smaller plate or bowl.
  • Check food labels. Be sure to check the Nutrition Facts panel for the serving size and number of calories per serving. You may find that the small bag of chips you eat with lunch every day, for example, is two servings, not one, which means twice the calories you thought.
  • Use a calorie counter. Check out reputable resources that offer tools to count calories, such as websites or smartphone applications.

Putting it all together

Replacing high-calorie foods with lower calorie alternatives and reducing your assign sizes can help you cut calories and improve weight unit control. For a successful — and sustainable — weight management plan, you besides need to increase your forcible activity. Combining regular bodily process and healthy eating will best help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight .

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