These Women Each Lost 75+ Pounds by Counting Calories — Here's How
It's easy to get overwhelmed when you're trying to lose weight. With so many popular diets that people talk about or share on social media — keto, intermittent fasting, Whole30, Atkins, vegan, Paleo — it's hard to decide exactly what to do to lose the weight.
In reality, weight loss can be as simple as calories in, calories out, or CICO. We spoke to several woman who lost 75 pounds or more using this simple principle. Through tracking apps, making room for their favorite treats, and cutting out liquid calories, they were able to zero in on how many calories they should eat a day to be successful in losing weight.
Scroll through to find out some of their best calorie-counting tips. It may inspire you to start a food journal and keep track of every bite.
Find Out How Many Calories You Need in a Day
Before you start counting calories, it's important to figure out how many calories you need to eat in a day. Cortland West, who lost over 80 pounds, used the Lose It! app to determine her daily caloric needs.
"When you first start using Lose It!, it will ask for your basic information (age, weight, height, etc.) and then it will calculate for you the amount of calories you will need to eat in a day to either maintain your weight or lose half a pound a week, one pound a week, one-and-a-half pounds a week, two pounds a week, etc., depending on what your goals are," she told POPSUGAR.
If you don't want to use a weight-loss app like Lose It!, you can also use this formula to determine what your total daily caloric intake should be.
Try Using the MyFitnessPal App . . .
One way to keep track on your weight-loss progress is with an app. After Jen Wagner hit a plateau during her weight-loss process, she started using MyFitnessPal to track her calories. She said this gave her the freedom to eat foods she had previously thought were off-limits, such as fruit. She went on to lose 85 pounds.
. . . Or the Lose It! App
If you don't like MyFitnessPal, you can also use Lose It! like Cortland did.
"Someone recommended the Lose It! app to me as a great way to easily count calories, so I downloaded it and began to plug in everything I would eat in a day," she told POPSUGAR. "I didn't realize just how much I was eating in a day until I began using Lose It! — I was shocked. I started paying attention to portion sizes."
Plan Your Calories For the Day
If you eat in a daily calorie target each day, you can make room for your favorite treats and high-calorie meals if you plan the rest of your day accordingly.
Jen will eat a lower-calorie snack and lunch so she can have Taco Bell for dinner. "Yeah, that Taco Bell might've been 800+ calories, but since my lunch was only 300 and my snack 150, I am STILL under my daily calorie goal," she said.
Track Everything: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Kim Dye, who lost 100 pounds, started by just walking and counting her calories on MyFitnessPal. "No radical diet or fitness plan, just tracking everything I ate — the good, the bad and ugly — staying within my calorie goal and walking five days a week," she told POPSUGAR. Once she started losing weight quickly, it motivated her to keep going.
Don't Drink Your Calories (Cortland)
Once you start tracking your food and seeing what you're eating and drinking every day, it's easy to see just how quickly those calories add up, especially if you are drinking sugar-sweetened beverages.
"The main things I cut out of my diet were regular soft drinks and sweet tea," Cortland told POPSUGAR. "Drinking calories adds up very fast and I didn't like wasting my calories on beverages."
Instead, opt for water (plain or fruit-infused), seltzer, unsweetened tea, or a no-calorie flavored sparkling water like La Croix.
Focus on Recommended Fat, Cholesterol, and Sugar Each Day
It's not just the quantity of calories you're eating, but also the quality that matters. Julia Ana, who went from a size 26 to a size 14, isn't as strict about her daily caloric intake, but pays attention to what she is eating.
"I try to focus on staying within the recommended amount of fat, cholesterol, and sugar each day," she told POPSUGAR. "It's eye-opening when you realize how much sugar you're eating every day. I go from 1,850 to 1,950 calories a day, depending on if I have a rest day or if I'm working out. I make sure to stay within that range, but if I go over a few calories, I know I'm OK."