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Diet Tip: Count Your Calories

We all know to lose weight we need to eat fewer calories than we burn. It is simple math. However, getting into that calorie deficit is not always so simple.

While we might think we know how many calories we consume in a day, it is worthwhile to really track what you eat, calorie wise for an entire day. You might just be surprised (as I was that someone could consume 2000 calories in 4 minutes last night on "The Biggest Loser") by the total number of calories consumed, and that surprise could be educational. It is a nit picky activity writing down every single calorie, that is why I only suggest doing it for one day. I consider this activity intense food journaling, but what a great learning tool. Write what you eat as well as the calories consumed, and try to be as accurate as possible.

Read the nutritional labels of the foods you are eating and pay attention to portion sizes too. If the food is not packaged, here are a few sites to help you with the numbers:

  • Calorie King
  • Calorie Count
  • Nutrition Data
  • If you have a favorite online source for tracking calorie details, please share it in the comments section below. I for one am always interested in nutrition / calorie tracking sites.


Join The Conversation
ellamay ellamay 8 years
i tried doing this but i dunno why i stopped i'll take it up again and see what happens, wish me luck!
Spectra Spectra 9 years
I use FitDay, but I'm not really counting calories right now since I'm running so much. I find that if I get too anal about counting, I get too skinny.
tabloidprincess tabloidprincess 9 years
So happy for you that you lost 46 pounds!
Martini-Rossi Martini-Rossi 9 years I've been a member since Feb. and I lost ten lbs. Its the perfect website for those who are looking for some support in losing weight, toning, or simply calorie counting. Its simply, friendly, easy to use and free! I tired sparkpeople and got overwhlemed, its a GREAT site too but there were just too many things going on for me. Look me up my username is: Pierre315.
aabbatelli aabbatelli 9 years
Wow, i didn't know there were so many of these calorie counters out there! I can't wait to try one. Does anyone was a recommendation of which one is THE BEST?
suheilly13 suheilly13 9 years
My mom is on a diet and she has no idea why she is not loosing weight, until I pointed out that she eats a whole salad and thinks she is only consuming a serving of calories when the bag feeds 4. So she was consuming 600 at lunch. Now she is watching her portions and reading the calories and is loosing weight.
ina717 ina717 9 years
I LOVE! I've been doing it religiously since May this year, and lost 16 pounds :-) counting calories + exercise is the best way to go!
spacekadet spacekadet 9 years
I've tried spark people but I always stop adding my food after a week or so. What motivates you to keep it up?
aanyanka aanyanka 9 years is also my favourite calorie counter. Its free but if you pay $20 for the full version you have a lot more options.
squirrellypoo squirrellypoo 9 years
ditto on the sparkpeople! Last year I lost 46 pounds, 6 dress sizes, and 6 inches off my waist with them! (and I'm very happy to say that 9 months on, I'm still maintaining!) They really do advocate healthy eating habits and completely changing your life instead of some quick fix. It works, and it's free, too.
the-kid the-kid 9 years
Thanks to Fit and everyone who responded. I've defected from FitDay and am now in the throes of a wild affair with Spark People.
The-Italian-Jem The-Italian-Jem 9 years
I think that seeing the calorie intake right in front of you is definitely an aid in eating less, but I could NEVER be one of those women who pull out a notebook in front of other people right after eating. It just seems like compulsive behavior and rude to the others around. However, what anyone does in private is their own business.
tabloidprincess tabloidprincess 9 years
Thanks guys. On on the Biggest Loser Message Boards many people there use these sites too!
smarler smarler 9 years
I, too, use SparkPeople, because I can also track my exercise at the same time. And while it is tricky to get the hang of portion sizes, it's definitely worth it.
racheD racheD 9 years
torismyly is so right! is such a great site for tracking- it has the nutritional info for SO many foods, even generic grocery store items, and you can easily manipulate the serving size to fit what you actually consumed. You can also create meals of various foods and portion sizes that you might often have for breakfast or lunch. It's been great for me just to see what kind of variety I am (or am not) getting.
Ludwick_Fan Ludwick_Fan 9 years
I use Been using it on and off for years.
kellyanne kellyanne 9 years
I use as well. I track my not only my calories, but also my daily nutrients to see what I am getting and what is lacking in my diet, and I track my fitness as well. It's wonderful, and free. I highly recommend checking it out!
frappelattes frappelattes 9 years is amazing.
cravinsugar cravinsugar 9 years
tabloidprincess tabloidprincess 9 years
I don't know how to do this because I don't know portion sizes.
KimmieChronicles KimmieChronicles 9 years
I too am a advocate like Martha. I used to track everything on a spreadsheet, but sparkpeople is much easier, and more efficient in tracking what you eat. It also helps to keep you disciplined.
coffeelove coffeelove 9 years
I used for just a few months and lost several pounds. The only thing that is difficult is if you're eating out at restaurants for a lot of meals, it is difficult to keep track of everything you are eating. I found that calorie-counting kept me eating at home a lot, which is good for the pocketbook too I guess.
syako syako 9 years
Fit - I disagree about this being a tedious thing to do. In fact, doing it only for one day will not be that beneficial unless someone eats the exact same things every day. When I was trying to lose weight I carried around a little notebook and after each time I ate I wrote it down - it took about two minutes. So that totaled about 10 minutes a day. Also, if you use these online calculators like Fitday, it makes it even quicker and easier to keep up with (nothing to lug around in your purse). It's essential to losing weight to know calories in versus calories out, and what better way to know calories in than to have it written in black and white in front of you.
torismyly torismyly 9 years is another great free meal/calorie tracker!
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