How to Count Calories to Lose Weight
What we eat matters for our weight and overall health. How many calories we eat makes a difference. You cannot live a sedentary life, eat massive amounts of food each day, and expect to lose weight. So how do you count calories to lose weight?
Calories In and Calories Out
The old formula developed over 100-years ago calculates your weight, height, and age to come up with how many calories your body needs every day. From that equation has come this weight loss advice:
To lose weight, you need to consume less calories than you burn each day.
There is some validity to this equation, but now we know that it is not correct.
Your weight (and how to release the excess weight) is not a math equation.
Counting calories results in a few problems:
- Math—enough said.
- Cannot use the equation for a family.
- Too much equipment is required for accurate tallying (ie: scales, measuring cups, measuring spoons, etc.)
Instead of counting calories, let’s discover how to eat healthy and lose weight.
Look at Your Plate
Our plates have gotten bigger over the years. The problem with this is that we fill our plate regardless of how big/small it is.
Larger plates lead to larger servings and eating more.
When I said we don’t need to count calories, that doesn’t mean how much we eat doesn’t matter. It means we don’t have to do math at dinner time. So, take a look at the size of your plates.
The average size dinner plate used to be 7 – 9 inches. Now the average size of our dinner plate is one foot!
Just dropping from a 12″ plate to a 10″ plate will help you eat 22% less! The size of your plate matters. This can backfire, though, if you choose a tiny plate. Then you will find yourself going back for seconds and eating more than when you had a big plate.
A smaller plate can also help the part of your brain that coordinates with your stomach to help you feel full. Yes, eating off of a smaller plate can help you feel full even though you are eating less.
How many vegetables do you eat every day? If you are like most people, you could double or even triple your daily veggie intake and see a huge difference in your weight.
Most vegetables are low in calories while remaining high in fiber and micronutrients. They contain the materials your body needs to run and thrive. Non-starchy veggies also help you feel full. Think of the last time you ate a big salad. It was so filling, right? And, if you paired it with adequate amounts of protein and healthy fats, that meal can keep you feeling full for a long time.
Fill your plate with colorful food first. Focus on the dark green leafy veggies. Then add other non-starchy greens, oranges, reds, and yellows. When you can, try to fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables. Sign up for my free Eat the Rainbow email series to get some great new ideas.
Calories Matter, but Stress Matters Even More
There’s one very important point I have not covered yet. While what you eat does matter, it is not the whole story. Your stress matters more.
When your body is stressed it is making adrenaline. When your body is making adrenaline, it believes you are dying. This means it changes the fuel your body thinks it is safe to use. You want your body to use the fat you have stored, right? When you are under stress, your body does not use this fat for energy. To lose weight, you must get out of the red zone of stress. You need to release the stress.
Do you have a ritual in your day to get into the green zone of calm? I recommend that my clients develop a ritual before every meal and sleep to calm their mind, body, and spirit. For weight loss and true health, this is a must. To read more about this vital component of your health and weight loss journey, continue on to this blog post: 14 Ways to Naturally Lower Your Stress Hormone.
Counting Calories and Losing Weight
Weight and eating cannot be just about math. Rather than counting, weighing, and measuring everything you eat, focus on more sustainable practices. Eat off of a smaller plate (7-9″.) Fill at least half your plate with non-starchy vegetables. And most of all, learn to reduce your stress—especially before meals. Weight loss is possible for you.
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Resources: VeryWell, Dr. Libby Weaver, Plate Info, and Unsplash