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I’ve come up with this cool way of keeping things very simple when it comes to counting calories, and it’s working well enough that I felt it as worth sharing. This likely isn’t anything revolutionary, and it has probably already been incorporated into one formal diet plan or another, but to me it’s new and very helpful for reducing the level of confusion.
It also makes sense to me because it can easily be customized to anyone’s dietary needs and goals.
The way I see it, 100 calories of any food is one portion. Since I need about 1,800 calories per day, that means I’m allowed 18 total portions of food per day to maintain my current weight. All foods are counted within my portion rules except for non starchy veggies. Those are free and I can eat as many of them as I want. That way, if I think my meal will not fill me up, I just add a ton of “free” veggies and I know I won’t end up battling with any cravings.
I have found that this method has made calorie counting extremely easy. Yes, I’ll still eat multiple portions of a certain food, but it makes it easier to count it toward my goal of 18 for the day.
At first, there was some learning involved, because I had to find out just how 100 calories looked for each type of food. Admittedly, there was some measuring and some weighing at the beginning. But honestly, I’ve only been doing this for a couple of months and I barely have to measure or weigh anything anymore to know how much of it make 100 calories. I’ve come to learn it all pretty quickly. I do eat a large variety of foods, but I also repeat a lot of ingredients in many recipes that I make.
The three things I found the most useful throughout that time were my kitchen scale, my measuring cups and a nutrition tracker I use called Sharefit. I don’t use the measuring cups or scale as much because I can eyeball most foods pretty closely. That said, I’m still tracking on Sharefit so I don’t lose count of my portions. It’s just a handy way to make sure I don’t derail my efforts until I stop being so distracted in my life that I can remember 18 things per day! It’s a wonder I remember to even take my vitamins and weight management diet tablets.
I also like the flexibility this strategy gives me. Because I have 18 portions that I can eat per day (not including all those veggies), I can spread them throughout the day however I want. If I know that I’ll be having a heavier dinner, I can eat a moderate breakfast and go light at lunchtime (loading up on veg).
If I haven’t had many portions by dinnertime, I have room for more, or I can eat my dinner and have a good snack later in the evening, too.
If you’re looking for a calorie counting technique, give mine a try. Make your portions as big or small as you want, as long as they’re all the same size and you can find them easy to count and distribute throughout your day.