Calorie counting can seem like such drudgery. When you eat or drink anything that has calories you’ve got to grab your phone or computer, look up the food, calculate how many servings you ate, and then write down how many calories the food has. That can seem like a total waste of time and energy. Before you totally give up on the idea of calorie counting, however, here are eight lessons you will learn if you give it a two-week trial.
1. The First Days Are the Hardest
Your initial few days may seem tedious, especially if you’ve never tried your hand at calorie counting. I get that it is a pain to figure out how many calories you ate for lunch, but after a few days, it gets easier.
After the first days, you will have common foods in your database and you won’t have to search for them. You will also start to develop a better sense of calorie awareness, which will serve you well in the future.
2. Information You Gain Is Worth the Effort
My mother used to tell me that there are some things in life that are worth the effort. Calorie counting is one of those things. Monitoring and counting calories will give you valuable information about your eating habits and food choices.
3. You Will Be Surprised
You will be surprised by some of the things you learn. If you are like me, you might be surprised at how many calories some of your favorite foods have. For example, I never looked at the calories in my favorite fast-food burger.
Probably a form of denial.
When I figured out it had over 600 calories, I knew I had to say goodbye to that burger in my diet.
4. Serving Sizes Affect Calories
You can’t just write down the calories in a food without indicating how much of it you had. You might be tempted to list your morning cereal as 150 calories without measuring how much you ate. If the serving size on the box indicates 1/2 cup and you had 1 cup, you just consumed 300 calories—not 150.
5. You Might Think Twice Before Indulging
One of the best things about doing a two-week calorie-counting trial is the awareness you develop. That awareness of how many calories are in different foods can prevent you from having a second or third helping of potatoes, saying “yes” to dessert, or adding cream to your coffee.
6. Swapping High-Calorie Foods Becomes Second Nature
There are so many healthy, low-calorie substitutions you can make in place of high-calorie foods. Once you have counted calories for a while, you will see for yourself what substitutions make sense for you. Here are some examples:
- Use Greek yogurt in place of sour cream.
- Eat fruit instead of ice cream or cake for dessert.
- Make your own sauces and dressings to save calories.
- Steam or roast your vegetables instead of frying them.
7. It’s Easier With Apps
You can count calories using resources on the internet and track them using a spreadsheet or manually write them in a journal. But honestly, it’s easier to find an app to help you out. Some of my favorites are:
8. It Works
The final lesson you will learn is probably the same one I did. Calorie counting does work. If you do it long enough and are 100 percent honest with yourself, you will see results on the scale.
There are a lot of diet variations out there, but at the end of the day, calories matter. So give calorie counting a two-week trial and see what you discover about yourself and how you eat.