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Underestimating Calorie Amounts Prevents Weight Loss

Weight Loss Sabotage: Underestimating Calorie Amounts

Now that it's January, I'm sure many people have losing weight on their minds. Whether you have five or 50 pounds to lose, underestimating calorie amounts could be the reason you're not seeing the numbers decrease on the scale. You'll think a veggie burger patty contains 60 calories, when it actually weighs in at 240! Unless a food is labeled, it's difficult to know how many calories you're consuming in one meal, especially if the dish is homemade or doesn't have the ingredients listed. Remember that you need to cut out or burn 3,500 calories a week (500 each day), in order to lose a pound a week, so any amount that you overestimate will prevent you from reaching your goal.

The best way to slim down is to keep a food journal and keep track of the calories you consume. That's easy when it comes to packaged foods, but if no nutritional info is available, check with a website such as Calorie King, Calorie Count, Nutrition Data, or The Daily Plate to get a sense of portion sizes and calories.

You'll also need to know how many total calories you should feast on per day, so if you're not sure, Fit's Calculator will give you an estimate. Just type in your height and weight, and depending on your activity level, it'll tell you how many calories you should consume in order to maintain your current weight. To lose weight, subtract 500 calories from that amount by exercising more or eating less. Just remember that women should never let their daily caloric intake drop below 1,200 calories. Once you're on track with accurately estimating calorie counts, you'll be on your way to a slimmer you.

Join The Conversation
danakscully64 danakscully64 7 years
I think the Veggie Burger was a bad example, I think a restaurant salad would have been better. The average veggie burger has about 100-120 calories, it's pretty easy to tell when you're not eating something the size of a boca burger or something full of cheese and grains. I think people underestimate their food intake more when they eat out. They get a grilled chicken salad and expect it to be about 400 calories when it's really 1,200. That's worse than a 100 calorie difference.
mek123 mek123 7 years
I heard last night that people underestimate the amount of calorie they eat by 500-1,000 per day!! Portion side is as important as what you eat.
natasha1970 natasha1970 7 years
I recently bought a Polar HRM. I burn between 450-500 calories doing 45 minutes of cardio (25 mins cross trainer/20 mins treadmill) and then I do a 30 minute session of light weights where I burn another 450 calories - all of this is according to the HRM. I also slept with it one night and I burn 120 calories per hour I use that as my starting point when calculating my daily output....I also have the Diet Detective book and I count every calorie per recipe that I make even for stuff far so BAD! I haven't been eating right since last week thanks to the season, but i made sure to exercise 3 days per week during the season just to make sure I didn't gain a pound!
runningesq runningesq 7 years
... along the same lines: people tend to overestimate calories burned by exercise. For me, running burns about 90 calories per mile, so a 5 mi run burns appx 450 calories. That's really not a lot compared to the calorie counts of many foods !
Spectra Spectra 7 years
This is so true. When I was actively doing WW, I would stop counting portion sizes of anything that was "0" Points, but that ended up biting me in the butt. I would put like, 1/2 cup of Cool Whip Lite on my fruit and not count the calories, even though 1 Tbsp of that stuff had 25 calories or I was eating 100-125 extra calories that I wasn't counting. Once I started accounting for everything, I was able to break through my plateau and keep losing the rest of the weight.
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